In his book titled 'The Under-Achieving School', Author John Holt says that most of are bad places for children to live and learn in since there is subtle cruelty in them. 'But most of the harm that is done to children in schools that they can't and don't resist, because they don't know what is being to them or who is doing it, or because, if they do know, they think it being done by kindly people for their own good.'
THE BOOK by Holt describes the agony of children in schools and classrooms and calls for the school managers and classroom instructors to reassess their practices and make it more children friendly. The book has discussed in detail the issues of modern education like terror of tests and exams; cut-throat competition, rat race for marks economy; reading inadequacies and the chalk-and-talk method.
The book is divided into fourteen essays with catchy titles as: True Learning; A Little Learning; Schools are Bad Places for Kids; The Forth R: The Rat Race; Teachers Talk Too Much; Blackboard Bungle; children in Prison; etc. The book both criticizes the current school system as well as proposes the reforms and good practices. As Holt put it, “What true education requires of us instead is the faith and courage – faith that children want to make a sense of out of life and will work hard for it, courage to let them do it without continually poking prying, prodding, and meddling. Is this so difficult?”
The soft-bound Indian edition of the book has been published by Eklavya, a Bhopal-based NGO, with from Holt Associates, Boston. The book must be read by educational planners, managers, head-teachers and classroom instructors to draw lessons from this analytical book and initiate reforms across board.