John holt education theory John Holt was born on April 14, 1923 in New York, New York to Henry and Elizabeth Holt. He was an American educator and writer. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46.
john holt education theory
John Holt is considered the father of unschooling and the person who coined the term. In his early writings, he seemed to hold out hope that the school system could be fixed, but he later became more convinced that parents were better off taking their children out of schools. According to Holt, as educators we like to say that we send children to school to teach them to think, but what we do, all too often, is to teach them to think badly, to give up a natural and powerful way of thinking in favor of a method that does not work well for them and that we rarely use ourselves. Based on more than ten years of teaching experience, six of them spent in private schools, Holt argued that fear and boredom in the school setting discouraged children from taking chances and this prevented them from experiencing real learning. This entire educational process, Holt contended, maximizes compliance and � good� work habits and thus prevented curiosity, creativity, self-esteem, and other traits traditionally associated with genuine intellect.
Holt did not begin to write until he had had many of years of experience teaching young children, and his most persistent theme is that the system ignores what it knows, or should know about how children learn. Holt�s ideas on improving the educational system can be seen in several books and when he was the publisher of a magazine called Growing Without Schooling; Holt Associates Inc. His list of books are:
Holt, J. (1982) . How Children Fail (Rev.ed.). New York: Delacorte.
Holt, J. (1983) . How Children Learn (Rev.ed.). New York: Pitman.
Holt, J. (1969) . The Underachieving School. New York: Pitman.
Holt, J. (1970) . What Do I Do Monday ?. New York: Dutton.
Holt, J. (1972) . Freedom and Beyond. New York: Dutton.
Holt, J. (1974) . Escape From Childhood. New York: Dutton.
Holt, J. (1976) . Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better. New York: Dutton.
Holt, J. (1978) . Never Too Late: A Musical Autobiography . New York: Delacorte.
Holt, J. (1981) . Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education. New York: Delacorte.
Holt’s views became more radical in the early 1970s. His optimism that schools could be improved through a variety of reforms changed to pessimism in 1970 when he met and studied the writings of the philosopher and social critic Ivan Illich, who held that the concept of mass education was inherently self-defeating. Holt also became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and refused to pay taxes. He turned down an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in 1970, arguing that colleges were “among the chief enslaving institutions” in the United States. Holt’s Freedom and Beyond (1972) showcased his increasing doubts that any schools could challenge the racism and classism that he associated with modern life. Echoing Illich, Holt argued that children need to be liberated from schools altogether. In Escape from Childhood (1974) he argued that children should be granted 11 basic rights, including the right to sue and be sued, to choose their own guardians, and to learn as they wished.
John Holt, in full John Caldwell Holt, (born April 14, 1923, New York, New York, U.S.—died September 14, 1985, Boston, Massachusetts), American critic of public education who became one of the most-prominent advocates for homeschooling in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He smiled, “A boxer once told me you never practice getting up from the mat.”
His friends smile at this view of himself. When he visits friends he often will talk from Friday to Sunday, spilling out ideas, describing his dreams, discussing books and concerts. His friends will be worn from the effort to keep pace, while he leaves invigorated. He takes his deepest quiet from music. “One of the best things I like about my cello is that it is worthless,” he says, but once after playing a duet with a five-year-old girl, he emerged from the bathroom of his host, yellow toothbrush protruding from his mouth, to exclaim. “We need more fun in music. More giggles. Did you notice how her bow hand relaxed when she giggled.”
That’s a big question. The great advantage is intimacy, control of your time, flexibility of schedule, and the ability to respond to the needs of the child, and to the inclinations. If the child is feeling kind of tired or out of sorts, or a little bit sick, or kind of droopy in spirits, okay, we take it easy, and things go along very calmly and easily. When the child is full of energy and rambunctious, then we tackle big projects, we try tough stuff, we look at hard books. And I think schools could do much more than they do in this kind of flexibility, but in fact they don’t. I want to make it clear that I don’t see homeschooling as some kind of answer to badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were. The proper relationship of the schools to home is the relationship of the library to home, or the skating rink to home. It is a supplementary resource.
As for friends – you’re not going to lock your kids in the house. I think the socializing aspects of school are ten times as likely to be harmful as helpful. The human virtues – kindness, patience, generosity, etc. are learned by children in intimate relationships, maybe groups of two or three. By and large, human beings tend to behave worse in large groups, like you find in school. There they learn something quite different – popularity, conformity, bullying, teasing, things like that. They can make friends after school hours, during vacations, at the library, in church.
Casey Patrick Cochran, Ph.D.
Division of Educational Studies
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
John Holt and The Emergence of a Radical Ideology for Home Schools