John Holt

Oct 20, 2015

Escape from Childhood

The Needs and Rights of Children

HoltGWS LLC 2013

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We treat children differently than we treat adults. For example, if we would like children to do something, we use directives with them, rather than asking them. When we do ask them to do something, we expect them to do it, even if they are busy or uninterested. In fact, we would be surprised, annoyed, or angry if they refused. Although something said to a child might be phrased as a question, it is rarely a choice. Perhaps this is not a problem as long as adults have the best interests of children in mind. But what if they do not? Are we treating children fairly? Do they have any advocates without conflicting interests? In Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children (CreateSpace, 2013), John Holt compares the plight of children to other oppressed groups and outlines ways for adults to show greater respect to children in their lives as well as his rationale for extending basic rights afforded to adults to any child who would like to invoke them.
Pat Farenga, the president of Holt Associates, recently republished the text for the first time in 25 years, and he joins New Books in Education for the interview. You can find more information about his work with Holt Associates on its website. To share your thoughts on the podcast, you can connect with him on Twitter at@patfarenga. You can reach the host on Twitter at@tsmattea.

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Trevor Mattea

Trevor Mattea is an educational consultant and speaker. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, parent involvement, project-based learning, and technology integration. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at @tsmattea.
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