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Teachers Go Back

Innovative Ideas about Education Featured in Two New Broadcasts


Imagine going through school without being graded, doing homework or taking standardized tests. Two prominent national experts believe in different ways to help children learn. Their innovative ideas are featured in two new ThinkBright TV productions, developed in partnership with Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).

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Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. His criticisms of the use of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, as well as his most recent work focusing on homework.


The author of eleven books and scores of articles, Kohn lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations. He has been featured on hundreds of TV and radio programs, including the "Today" show and two appearances on "Oprah". Mr Kohn has been profiled in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, while his work has been described and debated in many other leading publications. Time magazine described Alfie Kohn as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades and test scores." 

About the program:

Conversations in Learning: Homework and Grading with Alfie Kohn is a two part program in which Kohn presents his criticisms and views on our current educational practices in Grades and Test Scores in Part I, and the Homework Myth in Part II. Kohn's presentation on Grades includes discussion of the research which, he claims, does not support most schools' strategies. Specifically, Alfie Kohn discusses the impact of grades in terms of motivation, rewards and attempted control of our children.



He also provides short and long term solutions for parents and teachers including a discussion on the alternatives to giving grades. The second part of Kohn's program focuses on his latest work, the Homework Myth, as he examines the disadvantages, the research and the questionable justifications for homework assignments.  Kohn further describes the “shoddiness” of the research supporting homework while pointing out its misalignment with human learning in regards to practice and reinforcement.

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Dr. William Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist who is best known as the author of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy he created in 1965 and that is now taught all over the world.  He is the author of over twenty books, has been recognized with awards both nationally and internationally, and although semi-retired, can be reached through the William Glasser Institute in Chatsworth CA ,


Dr, Glasser's creation of Choice Theory helps us to understand human behavior as purposeful with relationships as the key.  He offers Choice Theory as a replacement for external control and has dedicated his life to teaching and supporting this idea with schools, mental health agencies and individuals.  His therapeutic work has expanded to schools which use his choice theory practices and continue to work as Glasser Quality Schools.




About the program: 

Conversations in Learning: Dr William Glasser on Quality Schools presents the ideas behind Choice Theory and Reality Therapy for use in schools and throughout peoples' lives. Dr. Glasser speaks about the importance of establishing positive relationships amongst all connected with a school: students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members, which helps create what he calls a “Glasser Quality School ”. 

He emphasizes significance of making a school a joyful place as opposed to one epitomized by “schooling”, testing and grading.  Dr. Glasser also presents the Basic Needs as an ingredient to teach students of any grade level so they can learn the essence of Choice Theory and have their needs met without infringing on others.  Also examined are what Dr. Glasser has called the “Deadly” and “Caring” Habits, those behaviors that we engage in which either hurt or help relationships, both personally and professionally.

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DVDs of both programs, with accompanying study guides are available from: “Conversations in Learning,” c/o Orleans Niagara BOCES , 4124 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn , NY 14132.  Send check or money order payable to “Orleans Niagara BOCES” for $89.95 (includes tax and shipping). Call 1-800-836-7510 ext. 3760 for more information.

Oishei Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting