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How children fail (A Dell book) Paperback – 1 Jan 1973


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Paperback, 1 Jan 1973
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Product details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Pub. Co (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007F9QJY
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,347,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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87 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Sep 2000
Format: Paperback
John Holt explains, though examples and case studies, his insights into how children's experience of education differes radically from the experience which teachers expect or imagine. He explains how some children can go through school without apparently learning anything, and how children conform to a system which values the appearance of success (getting the 'right' answer) rather than true understanding. In doing so they use all their intelligence to avoid the appearance of failure, rather than in the pursuit of learning. This is a disturbing book for anyone who thinks they understand children or know how to teach, and is vital reading for any school teacher.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Merry R on 15 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
John Holt is well respected among the home educating/homeschooling world which given that he was a maths teacher, is impressive!!!!
This is not a negative book about childrens failure, it is a positive book about the failure of organised classroom maths and how children inevitably flounder in it. Its a manual of the techniques they acquire to cope rather than learn and as such is immensely useful. Its a description of what is not learned when someone is "taught" but at the same time it is a case study based advocate of the positive power of discovery based learning
His thoughts can be applied to any subject but as a person who floundered at maths throughout school, it gave me a masive understanding into how not to repeat those mistakes with my own home educated children.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rerevisionist on 17 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
First published 1964 from notes made in what in England are called primary schools round about 1960. Four categories: Strategy (tricks children use to get answers), Fear and Failure, Real Learning, How Schools Fail.

Let me give extracts to give the feel of this book:-
'The teacher ... told these children that a verb is a word of action - which is not always true. ... She said '.. a verb has to have action; can you give me a sentence, using "dream", that has action?' The child thought a bit, and said, 'I had a dream about the Trojan War.' Now it's pretty hard to get more action than that. But the teacher told him he was wrong, and he sat silent, with an utterly baffled and frightened expression on his face. ...'

'When Nancy and Sheila worked the balance beam last year, they were often close to the truth, but they could never hang on to it because they could never express their ideas in a form they could test... Once one of them said, 'Things weigh more further out.' This was a big step; but they couldn't think of a way to check or refine this insight..'

'.. I had what seemed .. a bright idea. I thought if I could get her to think about what she had written, she would see that some of her answers were more reasonable than others, and thus ... an error-noticing, nonsense-eliminating device might take root ... I ... asked her ... to compare her answers, check with a tick those she felt sure wre right, with an X those she felt sure were wrong ... A moment later I got one of the most unpleasant surprises of my teaching career. She handed me her ... paper, with 7 x 1 = marked right, and *all other answers* marked wrong. This poor child had been defeated and destroyed by school. Years of drill, practice, explanation, and testing ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss Julie L Young on 7 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It was a set book for PGCE and the first book I read about education. I found it an easy read and I've read it a few times now. Would heartily recommend.
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