I was disappointed with the title. I thought that I would magically find the answer as to why kids don't like school. I found some meaningful messages in the book; some of the tenets I have believed in for years, yet my adminstration doesn't find them "old-fashioned."
Willingham's assertion the we understand new thing in the context of things we already know really hit home for me. I understand some of the basics of computers, but this class challenged me when I faced new tools to use. I feel that a teacher needs to find the highest level of all students' knowledge and understanding and begin from there. Too many times I assume all students have what I consider background knowledge only to find out that some students are sadly disadvantaged. More needs to be put in the students' working memory so that building can begin.
I totally agree with Willingham that students need the opportunity to practice their skills to build more working memory. Homework is still a valuable tool to implement, no matter how many activities students/parent sign up to do after school. Continued practice is a must! Once a practice is automatic the student can move on. I think sometimes curriculum demands that we move too fast and students don't get the material into their working memory.
Willingham's principle that children differ in intelligence, but intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work is encouraging. Each child comes to the classroom with different backgrounds, but it is possible for each child to catch up if needed.
I felt Willingham had some valuable information, and I'm glad I read his book. I still don't know if I could answer the question why don't students like school?