THE DISCIPLINE OF HOPE: Learning from a Lifetime of Teaching by Herbert Kohl

THE DISCIPLINE OF HOPE: Learning from a Lifetime of Teaching

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Creed mixed with memoir by a veteran educator. The hottest issues in education now--school choice and voucher plans--are offshoots of acorns cultivated, if not planted, by this author 30 years ago. Kohl (Should We Burn Babar?, 1995, etc.) has long been a controversial figure in the debate over so-called open classrooms and community-based teaching. In this new book, which reflects on his teaching experiences from the early 1960s to the present, Kohl champions, as always, the students who taught him as much as he taught them, whether in kindergarten, sixth grade, high school, or college. He begins with his earliest assignments in New York City public schools, where black and Latino children predominated, and with his unusually committed service to their parents and communities. He also lays out his struggle with ""the business of school reform"" and emphasizes that reform remains ""a business, more so in the 1990s than ever before."" Kohl meanwhile mourns the growing stigmatization of children with learning disabilities and celebrates the founding of the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, which brings writers into New York City schools as mentors. After New York, he went on to teach in Berkeley, Calif., both at the college level and privately, seemingly always excited by his students and appalled by a teaching establishment more concerned with its own vested interests than with the lives of children. Then returning to New York as a kind of master teacher, Kohl notes yet again--but doesn't expound on--what an extraordinarily talented and well-trained teacher it takes to find and nurture the best in every student. No contrary critical voice intervenes to offset his unfortunate tone of patting himself on the back. Nevertheless, this is a book that will recharge a teacher's batteries.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster