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Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community,

Title 2:
10th Anniversary Edition
Alfie Kohn
6" x 9"
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Price: $23.95
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Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community by behavior expert Alfie Kohn was first published in 1996. A provocative, groundbreaking book at the time, today it is regarded as an education classic. Ten years after its initial publication, Kohn updated and revised the book, building upon his original argument: Rather than approaching behavior management from a framework of thinking "How can we make children do what we want?", a notion which underlies strategies like punishment and reward, educators should focus instead on the questions "What do children require in order to flourish?" and "How can we provide those things?"

In the book, Kohn, an outspoken yet highly respected voice in the field of education reform, challenges the conventional wisdom that it is a teacher's job to control his or her classroom by tightly regulating students through teaching them rules and imposing structure; otherwise, chaos will ensue. Kohn argues this fundamentally negative view of the innate character of children underlies they way in which educators generally approach discipline and classroom management. He urges readers not to accept as fact these common, negative beliefs about children's motives and innate impulses and instead consider the implications of a positive theory of human nature.

Citing early childhood research that supports a more positive view of children's nature and motivation, Kohn adopts the premise that "humans are as capable of generosity and empathy as they are of looking out for Number One, as inclined (all things being equal) to help as to hurt." He proceeds to demonstrate the ways in which conventional discipline is not only ineffective, but often counter-productive. He challenges educators to rethink the approach of punishing bad behavior and rewarding good behavior. Rather than believing children's behavior is an expression of selfishness or aggression, he urges them to think about behavior in the context of universal human needs: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

Kohn makes a compelling and provocative case for challenging the conventional wisdom that informs discipline in most schools today. He also recommends positive ways educators can help shape behavior:

  • Give students the benefit of the doubt: assume whenever possible that actions had a positive motive
  • Provide guidance instead of punishment
  • Model and explain behavior responsible, virtuous behavior
  • Show children you care

Kohn also explores things teachers can do construct a place where students feel trusted and respected and empowered. He emphasizes the importance of creating a sense of community both in the classroom and throughout the school, and urges schools to work as a communities to problem solve and make collaborative decisions. 

Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community is a thought-provoking, must-read classic that is as relevant and important today as when it was first published. 

An ASCD Publication


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National Professional Resources (NPR, Inc.) has been a leader in the field of education publishing since 1968. Founded and operated by educators with a deep commitment to the success of all learners, our mission is to provide teachers, administrators, and other school staff with quality tools and resources that will better enable them to help every student achieve success. To this end, we publish books, quick-reference laminated guides, and produce videos by leading voices in the field of education. We also carry thousands of the most in-demand educational resources from other leading publishers and producers, including material for parents and students.

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