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Teaching the Unteachable

In response to:

Children Writing: The Story of an Experiment from the November 17, 1966 issue

To the Editors:

…What particularly impressed me in Herbert Kohl’s “Teaching the Unteachable,” [NYR, Nov. 17] was his ability to communicate with the children—something that is often talked about but clearly occurs rather rarely in the kind of school that he describes, and perhaps in all schools. It takes time and it’s a sweaty job and it’s perhaps a forgotten art and a forgotten interest in an age of machines, schedules, and “curriculum materials.” When children are reached and feel an active and energetic listener across the room, they talk and talk—I suppose with what we call eloquence. Probably the saddest thing about the piece is that it will surprise and move your readers—and stir them to wonder about what kind of children speak and feel the way Mr. Kohl’s children do….

Robert Coles, MD

Harvard University

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