School Is Bad For Children John Holt

Is School Bad for Children? John Holt

Education has always been an intense topic of discussion among many cultures and different groups of people. For many years it was believed that without formal structured education, academic success couldn’t be achieved. Today that idea has been challenged and proved invalid by homeschooling, online classes and alternative learning of all sorts. In the article,”School is Bad for Children,” American author and educator John Holt talks about the failures and flaws within our traditional schooling system.

In “School is Bad for Children”, Holt states that a child enters school with more willingness to learn and desire to figure things out for themselves than they will ever be at school. He says that children learn the most important thing they will ever need to know before they even go to school which is “the mystery of language”. That when you first go to school you want to be there and want to learn.

Why Is School Bad?

The author states that children do not learn own their own anymore, that their learning is done passively for them. Holt says that learning is separate from living and in other ways, he learns that he is abandoned and disloyal. Whatever you like or thinks important, its not. The only thing that matters is what the system wants and think is important. So the students learns not to ask questions and given no chances, he soon acknowleges the adults sterio-type of him. Children realize when at school, to be wrong or unsure is not adequate.

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The school only desires the correct answers and the student has to accomplish ways to “pry the answers out of the teacher.” Holt states that children are taught not to learn from each other, to ignore other students and to focus only on the teacher. Another controversial part of this essay by Holt is that he states that children learn from school how to shut their brains off, and that eventually leads them to drug use. Then Holt gets so bold as to suggest to abolish mandatory school attendance because that would cause the children not to be forced to go to school but to want to go to school. Furthermore, he offers many strategies to fix the school problem, including: remove children from schools and bring them out to the real world, take them to meet adults besides their parents and teaches, let children work together, and let children grade themselves. His final suggestion is to abolish curriculum altogether.

Why Is School Bad

In a nutshell, Holt argues boldly that the way our current educational system works is not best for children or their learning process. In the article Holt points out the specific flaws in modern education. He also offers alternative ideas for educating our youth. Through examples John Holt expresses the idea that children are much better learners without any formal teaching, before they ever set foot in a classroom. John Holt makes the statement, almost every child on the first day he sets foot in school is smarter, more curious, less afraid of what he doesn’t know, better at figuring things out, more confidant, resourceful, persistent, and independent than he or she will ever be again in school. Holt explains that without any formal education, by experimenting all alone, the child has done a task far more complicated and abstract than anything he will be taught. The child discovers and learns to use language independently. Holt goes further to argue that traditional schools’ impersonal and dull approach teaches the child that his or her experience, hopes, fears likes dislikes and opinions count for nothing. School tells our children that he only way they are capable of learning is by being properly taught from a teacher, and that without formal instruction; he doesn’t have the ability to figure things out and find answers on his own. The child learns not to ask questions, the author says, because only right answers are sought and… Continue Reading

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School Is Bad For Children John Holt. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

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