Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Won't Learn From You & Five Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job

Won't Learn From You by Herbert Kohl


As I began to read I Won’t Learn From You, By Herbert Kohl two things really struck me. The first thing that struck me was how Wilfredo was refusing to teach his grandchildren English because he was afraid that they were going to lose their origins. I’m not here to argue on behalf of his beliefs and tell you I think what he is doing is completely wrong because I do agree with him to an extent, however there are exceptions. I believe that there are many ways that English can be taught in a way that doesn't diminish or dispose of their native language. I am living proof that this can be done. Growing up my parents really encouraged me to learn the English language but they also encouraged me to strengthen my Spanish abilities so that in the future it can be used as an advantage. The next thing that struck me was Barry the first grader who didn't pass the first grade because the teacher thought he was “behind” but in reality Barry was known as the cool kind in school and his refusal to learn didn't have anything to do with his lack of intelligence, it was his social status he didn't want to give up. “I offered him the possibility of entering into a Teaching/learning relationship with me without forcing him to give up his status” (Herbert 3). This teacher targeted a student that other teacher thought had no chance of succeeding and costume made a way that enabled him to not only learning but also a way to keep his status in school. From my own personal experience as a child I was a very slow learner. Teachers never really took the time to help but they instead left me to struggle alone. I believe that if they actually took the time and challenged my weaknesses I think I wouldn't have gone all those years lost and helpless. I believe that every teacher should challenge/help those who struggle and not assume that every child is the same.

 Points to Share: Teachers should know that every child has different learning abilities. They should then makes ways to best accommodate each student so that the children are learning to the best of their abilities. Assuming that every child learns at the same rate will only affect those children who have trouble learning because it sets them behind.

Five Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job By Alfie Khon


Throughout my experience with younger children I never really realized how many times I have congratulated a child with the phrase “good job” until I read this article. Now going back and evaluating myself as a tutor I can see what Khon is saying about “praising” children. Khon’s argument is that it is important to acknowledge children and their accomplishments however to make a child feel like they are being admired is something so much more than the encouragement and support they need in order to be successful. I agree with Khon but to an extent I believe that eliminating “good job” from our vocabulary is not the way to go. Children love to hear those words and find them very encouraging but what we should also do is find other ways we can boost their self-esteem. His solution to the problem is to “say nothing”, “say what you saw”, and “Talk less, ask more”. I have a problem with saying nothing because I find that to be a tad bit rude and I believe that it could even discourage a child because they might get the wrong impression and think you’re not proud of their accomplishment; a simple evaluation is better than saying nothing at all but it doesn’t help to point out their accomplishments either.  He also suggests that we ask questions because it helps to “nourish the child’s interest”. I agree with what he is saying here; asking questions does nourish their minds and it also encourages them to ask more questions. I believe that what we say and how we say it does have an impact on children. My final opinion that we should say “good job” once in a while but not overuse the word so that it loses its meaning and becomes something children just want to hear.

Points to Share: There's nothing wrong with giving high five's and saying good job. However we should limit the amount of times we use it in your classroom because it can lead to issues like the ones brought up in this article.


  1. Nelsy,

    I think it’s great that you were able to connect to this piece on a personal level. Going through what you did with those teachers and having the tools from these pieces we've read will allow you to become the teacher to rights the wrongs done to you. You will be the teacher that recognizes why the student is acting out. Instead of placing them in a category, you will be able to excel.

  2. Hi Nelsy,
    I really liked how you were able to relate the reading to your own life. I also agree with you that teachers have to be able to accommodate children individually instead of just grouping them together. It is important to figure out how each individual child learns and how we as teachers can be there to give them the help that they need.