John Holt

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John Caldwell Holt (April 14, 1923September 14, 1985) was an American writer and educationalist.

Sourced[edit]

  • The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do
    • How Children Fail (1964)
  • The idea of painless, non-threatening coercion is an illusion. Fear is the inseparable companion of coercion, and its inescapable consequence. If you think it your duty to make children do what you want, whether they will or not, then it follows inexorably that you must make them afraid of what will happen to them if they don’t do what you want.
    • How Children Fail (1964)
  • All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.
    • How Children Learn (1967)
  • The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don't know.
    • How Children Learn (1967)
  • No one is more truly helpless, more completely a victim, than he who can neither choose nor change nor escape his protectors.
    • Escape from Childhood (1974)
  • The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.
    • Growing Without Schooling magazine, no. 40 (1984)
  • It is not just power, but impotence, that corrupts people. It gives them the mind and soul of slaves. It makes them indifferent, lazy, cynical, irresponsible, and, above all, stupid.
    • Escape from Childhood (1974)

Unsourced[edit]

  • It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.
  • Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and fans, driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.

External links[edit]

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