Alfie Kohn is an American author and lecturer in the areas of education, parenting, and human behavior. He is a proponent of progressive education and has offered critiques of many traditional aspects of parenting, managing, and American society more generally, drawing in each case from social science research. He lectures widely at universities and to school faculties, parent groups, and corporations. In addition to speaking at staff development seminars and keynoting national education conferences on a regular basis, he conducts workshops for teachers and administrators on various topics.

In this interview, Alfie and I discuss how standardized tests and grading systems are not actually about assessing a student’s learning but instead are designed to measure how well students can answer questions on the test. He says that, this system is not only flawed, but it also creates divisions among students and teaches them to be competitive and opposed to each other. He believes that assessment should be geared towards measuring what students are naturally capable of rather than focusing on objective measures. To learn more about intrinsic motivation in learning and how it can be fostered in a hybrid learning environment, listeners can visit his website at!

Key Highlights:

[00:01 – 06:19] – Opening segment

Dr. Rusha introduces us to Alfie Kohn!

His insights are valuable in understanding why some children are struggling

[06:20 – 12:22] – The Negative Effects of Standardized Tests

Negative effects of standardized tests on students

The intrinsic joy of learning is more important than objective metrics in education

Focusing more on student engagement and creativity instead of just test scores

Using effective assessment methods by allowing kids to do performances that demonstrate what they know and can do

Parents are worried about how to make up for lost ground with their children

[12:23 – 21:27] – The Focus On Excellence Over Quality

Differences between academic and non-academic issues

There is a major course correction in how we educate kids

The unfairness in the college admissions process

Focus on excellence over quality

[21:28 – 26:20] – Closing Segment

Alfie believes that it’s time to rescue the essence of excellence, listeners are invited to visit!

Connect with Alfie Kohn at his:

Website: Alfie Kohn

Twitter: Alfie Kohn

Amazon: Alfie Kohn


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Tweetable Quotes:

Alfie Kohn – “if kids were helped to design an experiment, to figure out how to isolate a variable and know what’s causing these tendencies to grow more rather than just memorizing, you don’t forget that, you don’t lose it, and that doesn’t slip away when you’re out of school for a summer.”

Alfie Kohn – “You can’t bypass or do an end run around interest in learning and force feed kids, knowledge or skills. You have to encourage them and support them in their interest in learning. When that happens, when kids are really excited about what they’re doing with proper support, they tend to do it well.”

Dr. Rusha Modi – “Everyone may not get there, but at least in theory, all of us could. That I feel is really the avenue forward.”

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