Teaching and Learning

Sep 14, 2017 in Education

In an influential essay “How Teachers Make Children Hate Reading”, John Holt highlights some the major challenges in the teaching practice that have made children hate reading and writing. John Holt argues that teachers destroy the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn among children (55). John Holt does not support the traditional teaching procedures used by teachers in most schools. For instance, John Holt argues that a teacher who publicly mocks and derides a child for not reading in a proper manner in the classroom induces a feeling of fear of reading in the child. This fear of reading would accumulate in the child up to a certain level at which the child completely hates reading. John Holt further asserts that the traditional learning environment, created by teachers in most schools, often suppress the interests or zeal and zest of children to learn and write. John Holt provides evidences to support his assumptions and allegations; for example, he says that children who are persistently insulted and ridiculed by their teachers often think and believe that they are incapable of reading and writing properly (58).

The selected essay is important to my research question because it provides a guideline on how teachers can make children hate reading and writing which are important aspects of learning. The essay also reviews the impacts of conducts of teachers on the attitude of children towards reading and writing.

Thesis Statement

The main purpose of this research is to determine whether or not the conduct of teachers can make children hate learning, which includes reading and writing. Thus, the thesis statement or research question for this paper is: Does the conduct of teachers affect learning among children? In order to answers this question, past research studies would be reviewed and analyzed.

Response Section

Previous research studies, conducted by psychologists and educationists, have indicated that the behaviors and actions of teachers have great impacts on the learning ability of the children. For example, a research study by Schiering, Bogner and Holmberg revealed that children who experience humiliations by their teachers at school reportedly feared going to school as a way to avoid the teacher and the humiliations (174). Teachers who maltreat their students also make them feel enslaved. This results into the development of negative attitudes towards the teacher, school as well as learning. Moreover, an increased teacher’s supervision over the children also ignites feelings of lack of personal freedom at school. As a consequence, children tend to view teachers as dictators, autocrats and commanders who cannot allow them do what they want, like and capable of doing, but rather force them to do what the teacher wants. This makes children hate the studies thus keeping them from learning how to read and write properly.

According to Alcina, teachers also impose tasks and facts to be learned upon the children (81). Teachers often use predetermined traditional teaching approaches which involve giving the children the task to learn the skills and ideas on their own. This makes children feel burdened and fraught. As a consequence, the ability to learn among children becomes suppressed. This also reduces creativity and innovativeness among children because they are forced to follow a strict and fixed approach to learning things and are not allowed to think and discover new things on their own. This leads to the reduce of learning motivation among children.

Unfavorable conducts of teachers such as scolding, humiliation, intimidation and discrimination of children usually lead to the development of personal tensions, pressure and fear among children. For example, a teacher who regularly rebukes a slow-learning child often disheartens him. The child would not be motivated or inspired to learn because he views himself as incapable based on the remarks of the teacher. Alcina also asserts that children who are frequently insulted by their teachers reportedly perform poorly and have grievous negative attitudes towards learning (93). Negative remarks made by teachers towards learners especially slow-learning or weak children also make them shy off and feel intimidated. This makes the children hate the teacher as well as the subject, hence reduce their ability to master taught concepts. This confirms that the way a teacher handles or deals with a child greatly impacts the learning process. Negative conducts among teachers towards the children would discourage them from learning effectively. This is because children will associate mistakes with the humiliation from the teacher which will discourage them from learning because of fear of making mistakes that leads to awful repercussions.


To conclude, I would assert that the impact of the conduct of a senior authoritative person on the learning abilities of an individual is not only demonstrated in learning among children in schools but also at the workplaces among employees. For example, workers who receive intimidating comments regularly during performance appraisals often perform poorly in the organization because of lack of motivating to learn new things.

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