BOOK: Punished By Rewards – Alfie Kohn

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    Abram de Bruyn

    We decided to read Punished By Rewards as our first shared reading.

    This is where Nancy will write her requests for this reading, or provocative/discussion prompt question.

    Then those who have the time or inclination to read or engage with the text will write their replies here based on that.  Comments (and or questions) will cascade from those responses to the text.



    Hey ALFs!! Specifically book club ALFs, @abram @charlotte @dinospumoni @drew

    Punished by Rewards is broken up into 3 parts. Let’s read and discuss part by part since this is a longer book.

    Part One is called “The Case Against Rewards” pages 3-116

    I’ll pose some questions here that may help spark responses, but please ask your own questions of the group  as well as post your reflections/thoughts about the content. Please ALWAYS add page numbers when referring to a part of the text. At the end of the book club, @abram or myself will synthesize the discussion into one doc that will serve as a cliff’s notes for the book that others can read.


    1) How have you experienced behaviorism in your life? (i.e., how have you seen it used/how have you used it, etc.) Do you think using behaviorism is always negative? Elaborate.

    2) Have you seen praise fail? If so, describe.

    3) Any new realizations you had about praise while reading? Please share page numbers and thoughts.

    4) As you read, can you identify Agile Roots that align with Kohn’s words? If so, please identify the root and page number and write how you see a link.

    Please post responses to Part One by October 26th!!! Thanks! I also propose a Google Hangout for Book Club members on Oct 26th. Time: TBA

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  NancyT.


    @abram @charlotte @dinospumoni @Nina I declare complete and utter failure on the follow through this. I am finding that I’m just too busy to digest such a dense read right now. @charlotte has expressed the same sentiment. Given that there hasn’t been any posts here, are you all feeling the same way? Perhaps this is a read to take in over a long break – maybe even the winter break.

    @charlotte and I discussed trying to do a lighter and easier to digest read as a “change up.” Suggestions of books I have read that I feel are easy reads are: Drive by Dan Pink, Mindset by Carol Dweck, Guerrilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn, and anything by Blake Boles. Summerhill too but @abram already read that one.

    Another option that looks like a fun read is “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk” – This is the book @leigh did a workshop on this summer. It has cartoons and looks like a fun read, as well as a helpful one. I think of it now because I had a kind of a crummy day today around my frustration for clean up. Maybe there is a section for “How To Talk So Everyone Will Clean Up Their Messes & Listen So They Will Still Clean Up Their Messes” One can only wish…



    Abram de Bruyn

    @nancy I found it difficult to get my hands on a copy of this book during the first two/three weeks of holding this intention.  I understand the problem of it being just too difficult a read or being too dense to read and respond to with all of the other projects I’m engaged with.  So yes, failure in that sense on my end too.  I know I’m not the only person that failed in this way (@drew).

    Reflecting on this, briefly, I think we should look at some of the wins from trying a book club in this way.


    • I loved the way that you set clear questions to respond to.  This was an advantage of one person actually having read the book prior to choosing it.  Someone holding coherence for the questions/challenges of the reading helps to focus our attention.
    • The book that was chosen was decided on by someone who had the time and energy (at the time) for holding coherence
    • Everyone (in theory) was holding space to engage with the same material.

    I’m definitely into reading ALL of those books at one point or another, as I get them into my hands.  I’ve been reading Finite and Infinite Games like a bible for quite a while.  There is just so much I want to read and engage with.

    Suggestion on moving forward:

    I think that I like the idea of more digestible ‘readings’ as opposed to entire books.  This is for academic and research purposes, perhaps we could take samples of larger books that people find particularly juicy, and create challenges/questions for what we are reading? (This of course is yet another project to sink time into)

    While reading particularly engaging material on education, do this work as it comes to you.  Think of what challenges you and what questions you would have for the text or your peers.  Provide samples of the reading in a post, along with the questions or reflections you wish to engage with.

    So perhaps we should be focusing this group in the direction of READINGS instead of whole books.  



    I really like the idea of doing readings, perhaps we could start with short PDFs or even blog posts and work our way up to whole books?



    Twinkles @nancy and @abram.

    One idea I am just having is to suggest readings that we feel are a part of our “juice” in this movement.

    I would also like to explore and share readings that touch on subjects that come up in our school, like choosing to use minecraft and pokemon and the awesome these tools can create. Or read @abby’s dr.who marathon post to see an awesome example of this at work. Sourcesthat support our philosophy through evidence and example available in our minds and reflections on our website could be really helpful for communications with parent, and interested people. Also we can share example forum discussions about such topics for the tools we share with new ALC’s.

    Maybe we can each take a look at the ALF resource list and pick our faves from that.


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