Herbert kohl

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Herbert kohl

  1. 1. Herbert Kohl<br />The Man, the Myth, the Legend<br />
  2. 2. Early Life and Schooling<br />Born in New York<br />Attended Macombs Junior High School and the Bronx High School of Science<br />Graduated in 1954<br />Harvard 1954-1958, studying philosophy and math<br />Graduated with AB <br />1959, University College, Oxford<br />1960, Columbia University<br />1962, received MA in teaching from Teacher’s College, Columbia. <br />Began Teaching 6th grade in a New York City Elementary school in Harlem<br />
  3. 3. Early Publications<br />Tended to center on advocating for the education of poor and disabled students.<br />The Age of Complexity (1964)<br />Teaching the Unteachable (1967)<br />The Language and Education of the Deaf (1967)<br />
  4. 4. 36 Children<br />Written in 1967<br />About the stories of the Black children in his 6th grade classes<br />Addressed the issue of social justice and minority students—he was drawn into national debates about school reform<br />
  5. 5. Examples of The School System<br /> A contest. The class savoured it, I accepted. Question, response, question. I walked towards my inquisitor, studying his mischievous eyes, possessed and possessing smile. I moved to congratulate him; my hand went happily towards his shoulder. I dared because I was afraid.<br /> His hands shot up to protect his dark face, eyes contracted in fear, body coiled ready to bolt for the door and out, down the stairs into the streets.<br /> ‘But why should I hit you?’<br /> They’re afraid too!<br />
  6. 6. The books arrived the next morning before class. There were twenty-five arithmetic books from one publisher and twelve from another, but in the entire school there was no complete set of sixth-grade arithmetic books. A few minutes spent checking the first day’s arithmetic assignment showed me that it wouldn’t have mattered if a full set had existed, since half the class had barely mastered multiplication, and only one child, Grace, who had turned in a perfect paper, was actually ready for sixth-grade arithmetic. It was as though, encouraged to believe that the children couldn’t do arithmetic by judging from the school’s poor results in teaching it, the administration decided not to waste money on arithmetic books, thereby creating a vicious circle that made it even more impossible for the children to learn.<br />
  7. 7. The children in my class asked me to do something about the problem, to change things, speak to the principal. I could only laugh sadly and confess my impotence. The system, I had to tell them, it was the system of which I was an insignificant and powerless part that had to be changed. My choice was to remain within the system and work with the children, or leave and try to change it from without. I stayed, though now am convinced that that system, which masquerades as educational but in Harlem produces no education except in bitterness, rejection and failure, can only be changed from without.<br />
  8. 8. The reason so many kids come back to visit is not because of what I taught — they forget that — but because at one time they were safe here, protected from the indifference and cruelty of the system.<br /> ‘Mr Kohl, this English teacher, she’s dumb. I mean she won’t answer any questions like you did. She took Robert’s book away because we’re not allowed to write in class. She threw it in the basket without even looking at it.’<br /> ‘What’d you do?’ Tell him, Robert.<br /> ‘I walked out, but I got the book first. I knew there was going to be trouble when she told us to write about ourselves the first day. She wrote across my paper, Too much violence and fighting, and failed me.’<br />
  9. 9. If the children failed it was my failure as a teacher for not teaching well enough or not knowing the right things to teach. I refused to fall into the trap many ghetto teachers make for themselves: if a child fails it’s his fault; no need to adjust what’s taught; just blame the environment, the family, the administration. Such rigidity only increases the children’s failures and the teacher’s convictions of the child’s inability to succeed, leads to frustration and ultimately to covert prejudice and hostility.<br />
  10. 10. Open Classroom<br />There is the same obsession with power and discipline everywhere; for most American children there is essentially one public school system in the United States and it is authoritarian and oppressive. Students everywhere are deprived of the right to make choices concerning their own destinies. My experiences in a Harlem elementary school were not special, and I think the discoveries I made about myself and, my students apply to most schools.<br />The entire staff of the school was obsessed by “control,” and beneath the rhetoric of faculty meetings was the clear implication that students were a reckless, unpredictable, immoral, and dangerous enemy.<br />Still I gradually found ways of teaching that were not based on compulsion but on participation; not on grades or tests or curriculum, but on pursuing what interested the children<br />
  11. 11. Preconceptions<br />All of this is inimical to an open classroom, where the role of the teacher is not to control his pupils but rather to enable them to make choices and pursue what interests them. In, an open classroom a pupil functions according to his sense of himself rather than what he is expected to be.<br />
  12. 12. Ten minutes!<br />One way to begin a change is to devote ten minutes a day to doing something different<br />For ten minutes cease to be a teacher and be an adult with young people, a resource available if needed, and possibly a friend, but not a director, a judge, or an executioner. <br />Think about what is happening during those ten minutes and learn to be led by the students. If certain things are particularly interesting to one group, find out about those things, learn as much as you can, and, seeing their interest, present them with ways of getting more deeply into what they care about.<br />
  13. 13. Community Involvement<br />The whole community ought to be the school, and the classroom a home base for the teachers and kids, a place where they can talk and rest and learn together, but not the sole place of learning. The classroom ought to be a communal center, a comfortable environment in which plans can be made and experiences assessed. However one can open up the classroom as much by moving out of it as by changing the life within it.<br />
  14. 14. Open Classroom Conclusion<br />It is almost certain that open classrooms will not develop within our school systems without the teachers and pupils experiencing fear, depression, and panic. There will always be the fear that one is wrong in letting people choose their own lives instead of legislating their roles in society.<br />
  15. 15. Our schools are crazy. They do not serve the interests of adults, and they do not serve the interests of young people. They teach “objective” knowledge and its corollary, obedience to authority. They teach avoidance of conflict and obeisance to tradition in the guise of history. They teach equality and democracy while castrating students and controlling teachers. Most of all they teach people to be silent about what they think and feel, and worst of all, they teach people to pretend that they are saying what they think and feel. To try to break away from stupid schooling is no easy matter for teacher or student. It ‘is a lonely and long fight to escape from believing that one needs to do what people say one should do and that one ought to be the person one is expected to be. Yet to make such an escape is a step toward beginning again and becoming the teachers we never knew we could be.<br />
  16. 16. Neo Progressivism<br />Moving away from the trad-<br />itional, authoritarian schooling <br />Moving away from the banking model into a student teacher relationship where the student is a partner in the education process instead of being viewed as a vessel to be filled indiscriminately <br />Teacher-student relationships<br />Individualized teaching<br />

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