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ERIC Number: EJ818297
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
Why Self-Discipline Is Overrated: The (Troubling) Theory and Practice of Control from within
Kohn, Alfie
Phi Delta Kappan, v90 n3 p168-176 Nov 2008
Traditional and progressive educators alike have endorsed the benefits of self-discipline, the idea being for students to override their unconstructive impulses, resist temptation, and do what needs to be done. But author Alfie Kohn suggests that the concept of self-discipline is actually problematic in three ways: It reflects a simplistic understanding of human psychology because some self-disciplined people are actually controlled from within in an unhealthy way. It's based on a dark view of human nature and a deeply conservative world view. Finally, by equipping each student with a built-in supervisor we are less likely to question the value of whatever they've been told to do; a focus on self-discipline impedes social change.
Phi Delta Kappa International. 408 North Union Street, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-1789. Tel: 800-766-1156; Fax: 812-339-0018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A