Instead of Education

Instead of Education

Holt’s book is outdated but still rings true.

I’ve been making my way through John Holt’s books about education and respecting children lately, and I wondered by I couldn’t find a copy of his book Instead of Education. Surely it would be at one local library, at least?

I requested an interlibrary loan of the book and discovered why quickly. The book itself was ancient, bound in hardback and appearing quite aged, and rightfully so—and its material was a bit obsolete. Don’t misinterpret this as Holt’s message being obsolete; it could not be more relevant today as it was in the 1970s, if not more so.

The information, however, is very outdated. Holt speaks of communities needing more resources for learning, from libraries to community centers to presses to print newsletters. How could he have predicted every Tom, Dick, and Harry publishing his own free blog by 2012?

Now I get why most people don’t cite this book. It was very much needed when it was published—it just isn’t today. I would suggest starting with How Children Learn or How Children Fail and skipping this one—not because it’s not important, but because much (not all, of course!) of what Holt advocates in the 1970s has come to life today.