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Alfie Kohn: choice research (Vicki)


Date: Tue May 11 2004 - 15:39:37 PDT

This is an important choice article which you would do well to read in its
intirety; the Phi Delta Kappan should be available at your college library; I
doubt that this article is online.


“… the importance of choice is often weighed against the fact that children
need some structure or limits for their behavior, if not for their learning.
Once again, this point may be accurate but does not justify much of what
educators actually do. ‘The critical question,’ as Thomas Gordon has put it, ‘is
not whether limits and rules are needed… but rather who sets them: the adults
alone or the adults and kids – together.’ Before depriving children of choice,
then, an educator is obliged to demonstrate not that they need some kind of
structure but that there is some reason to exclude them from helping to shape
that structure. The crucial difference between structures and limits, on the one
hand, and control and coercion, on the other, has generally gone unrecognized.

Alfie Kohn, “Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide,” Phi
Delta Kappan, September, 1993