Other Voices

The Hand

How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture

Frank R. Wilson



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The Hand is one of the most incredible books I've read in years. What a beautiful, thorough study of that feature of our bodies which, in absolute fact, makes us truly human. Wilson so completely and so beautifully demonstrates the relationship between the way we use our hands and the way we come to see our world and are enabled to see our world that the argument that there is little difference between a virtual experience and a real, hands-on experience ought to evaporate once and for all. The implications for education are both clear and vast - as are the implications for how we choose to live our lives and guide our children in other ways. Please read this wonderful book - when this information becomes commonplace, children's lives will be so much more as they truly need to be, and the world will sing for joy.

Punished by Rewards

The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

Alfie Kohn



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Alfie Kohn draws from hundred's of studies to demonstrate that, while incentives seem to work in the short run, in the long run they lead students and others to produce work inferior to that produced without such enticements. The more artificial inducements are used, the more people, especially children, lose interest in what we're bribing them to do. Kohn presents rewards and punishment as two sides of the same coin and devotes the final chapters to a practical set of strategies for parents, teachers, and managers that move beyond the use of carrots or sticks.

Dumbing Us Down

The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

John Taylor Gatto



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This book first appeared as a landmark statement about the realities of much of the schooling most children in our society receive - and about the very nature of the society we have ourselves created. John Taylor Gatto taught in Manhattan's public schools for 26 years and tendered his resignation with his speech accepting New York State's "Teacher of the Year" award. His experience allowed him to discover how children learn, not only academic subjects, but about the world itself. All too often, it allowed him to observe how children do not learn, how the premises of standard education block precisely the stated goals of our schools. This is an extremely significant book, well worth reading, thinking about, and acting upon.

Cultural Literacy

What Every American Needs to Know

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.



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Rudolf Steiner faced two primary problems when he set about defining the curriculum of the Waldorf School. One problem was that the people who were well-educated had almost no practical knowledge of anything; the other was that the people who worked in the trades had no real cultural literacy. His curriculum answered both needs in the context of 1919 Germany. E. D. Hirsch's book addresses the latter need from the perspective of late-20th Century America. As such, it is a treasure house of the cultural underpinnings of civilization and a gold mine of ideas for keeping civilization civilized.

The Child and the Machine

How Computers Put Our Children's Education at Risk

Alison Armstrong and Charles Casement



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Alison Armstrong began simply as a parent wanting to know more about the decision to increase the use of technology in her children's schools. What she learned was not at all what she expected to find and led her to team up with Charles Casement to produce The Child and the Machine. Instead of discovering well-designed studies that supported what the educational technology enthusiasts were saying, namely, that computer use enhanced the outcomes of education, the sobering facts of hundreds of school visits, studies and expert interviews led inescapably to the conclusion that our uncritical rush to use computers in schools has been one of the most expensive and most counterproductive "revolutions" in education history. Very highly recommended!

The Future of Childhood

Alliance for Childhood Articles for the Brussels Conference October 2000

Edited by Christopher Clouder, Sally Jenkinson and Martin Large



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Children create our future with their gifts and talents, yet what does childhood mean for us today? Is childhood vanishing under the impact of poverty, commercialism, stress, social breakdown and hot housing? The experience of childhood is influenced by changing cultural patterns and trends. How can we then ensure that all children are given a good foundation for their future life.

The Alliance for Childhood is a forum where individuals and organizations can work together out of respect for childhood, in a world wide effort to improve children's lives. The Alliance convened this Brussels Conference to explore the following questions:

  • What is childhood to today's children?
  • What rights do children have?
  • How are parents, professionals and policy makers shaping children's lives?
  • How are commercialism and the media affecting children?
  • What is the impact of hunger, violence, discrimination and abuse?
  • What guidelines will help form a better environment for childhood?

This lively collection of articles by Conference presenters offers stimulating insight for dialogue about how we can give due respect to children. Contains useful references, contacts and resources for networking.