I discovered "How Children Learn" when my own children were already on their way to their teens. I wish I'd had it when they were born, or soon after. John Holt opens our eyes to the absolutely astonishing efficiency with which pre-school children learn so many things. And he does it without any of the language of "educationese," the gobbledygook that so often clutters books about educational issues and makes them opaque and unpleasant tasks to read. Everything he says is immediate, concrete, and down to earth, drawn from specific observations of particular children, working effectively to learn whatever interests them. This is a book that I regularly now give as a gift to my friends when they become parents for the first time. I know of no other that will fill THEM with wonder over the ensuing five years or so, as their children learn to come to grips with the world.
If you are ever tempted with a sneaking suspicion that what the Conservative Right in general (and Michael Gove in particular) are saying about education is frankly ridiculous nonsense, this book is for you. Whenever educational theory of any kind is mentioned the Secretary of State for Education very publicly puts his fingers in his ears and goes "Yadda Yadda Yadda." He is such an example of adult behaviour.
This book is the work of John Holt who, unlike the wiseacres, has actually worked with real children and noted the way they learn. This pedagogy is at odds with the top-downwards Gradgrind curriculum favoured by the Conservative backwoodsmen and it is well worth a look.
I am delighted that this classic is now available in Kindle format
I love John Holt's books. This one I think I read about 10 times. It's full of love for children and intellectual curiosity. It contains very stimulating thought about learning, about curiosity, and about what really happens to children in school. If nothing else, it gave me unsightful perspective to my own early years in school.
Great book! A perfect balance between a deep intellectual thinking and a practical view on how children learn. Although the title may suggest a "how-to book", it is more profound than that, going into the core reasons for why we do what we do since our infancy.
I learned so much from this small book. It was easy to read and kept you interested. I know it will not only help me with my children, but will help me with teaching myself. Great book that no one should go with out reading.