In Living Beyond the Box, educator, researcher and teacher Dr. Nelson L. Noggle explores the impact of a behaviorist approach to parenting and teaching on the learning experience of both children and adults.
The concept of “the box” of the title initially refers to children and youth being boxed in “by all the things they are told to do and all the methods used to get them to do those things.” Later, “the box” refers to the institutions that shape our lives, such as work, marriage or church. Noggle posits that these boxes are not inherently negative. “Bad” boxes are abusive, used too frequently, or lack teaching and guidance, whereas “healthy” boxes are supportive and motivated by protection instead of control. Finding “healthy” boxes frees a person from feeling victimized and helpless.
Noggle presents his material in a clear, accessible way, offering case examples of how “the box” manifests itself throughout life. He points to the failures of BF Skinner and behaviorism in creating sustainable motivation for learning and describes the benefits of a balanced, nurturing approach—one that evolves as a child grows—to parenting and teaching. Maintaining a light-hearted tone throughout, Noggle often highlights the humorous side of the obstacles people face.
The author has presented his material to numerous teachers, counselors and others. Unfortunately, Living Beyond The Box reads like a presentation, with Power Point images and slides directly inserted into the text. The book would benefit from a re-imagined design, as well as a more thorough copyedit to correct punctuation errors.
Although at times simplistic, this book promotes the intrinsic value of knowledge and provides a valuable tool for parents and professionals to realign their perspectives on the learning process.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.