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Peller, L. (1957). A Class for Disturbed Children: By Leonard Kornberg. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1955. 157 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 26:123-125.

(1957). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 26:123-125

A Class for Disturbed Children: By Leonard Kornberg. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1955. 157 pp.

Review by:
Lili Peller

Mr. Kornberg reports on his work as a teacher in the school that is a part of the Hawthorne residential treatment center, administered by the Jewish Board of Guardians. The greater part of the book is an account of his work with a group of boys of ages thirteen to sixteen. Kornberg provides many excellent ideas for teachers of severely emotionally disturbed children. Some of his suggestions are not only original, they are outright courageous as he cuts across the conventional division between traditional and progressive education. He is aware that his boys, although quite unable to take the pressure of an average school, nevertheless want the normality of school. 'The ironic thing (and bewildering problem) was that they were as suspicious of something that differed from school, as they were repelled by school.'

Mr. Kornberg found various ways to solve this dilemma, principally by organizing the classroom in a very definite and even rigid way and daily meticulously resetting the original design. '… I was always aware of my action and goal as conveying respect and care for them. This constant, unreproachful cleaning-up, I believe, was more proof of my interest in them, and more definition of purpose of this room, than many words and exhortations.' As each boy entered the classroom, he found materials for his work and daily personal instructions waiting for him at his seat. But there also was a radio frequently playing popular music. Mr. Kornberg realizes that a quiet room may serve 'as a stimulus to impulsive behavior, almost as if my boys needed loudness and excitement to conceal from themselves their inner disturbances'.

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