How Children Fail
How Children Fail is a non-fiction book by John Holt, published in 1964 and republished in 1982 in a revised edition. It has sold over a million copies. In this book he cites personal teaching and research experiences that led him to the belief that traditional schooling does more harm than good to a child’s ability and desire to truly learn.
Children believe that they must please the teacher, the adults, at all costs. They learn how to manipulate teachers to gain clues about what the teacher really wants. Through the teacher’s body language, facial expressions and other clues, they learn what might be the right answer. They mumble, straddle the answer, get the teacher to answer their own question, and take wild guesses while waiting to see what happens- all in order to increase the chances for a right answer.
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