Allan Saugstad (email@example.com)
Wed, 06 Dec 2000 19:27:56 -0800
Thank you so much for your words. They are inspiring to me. It's amazing to me
how insidious the idea is that we need to teach kids things; it just seems to
creep into our mindsets, regardless of how iinsightful we may be; it is indeed
difficult to just let go and let others just be themselves.
Thank you once again!!
> Dear Robert,
> "It seems to me that anything that can be taught to another is
> relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant influence on
> behavior. I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly
> influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning. Such
> self-discovered learning, truth that has been personally appropriated and
> assimilated in experience, cannot be directly communicated to another. As
> soon as the individual tries to communicate such experience directly, often
> with a quite natural enthusiasm, it becomes teaching, and its results are
> inconsequential. It was with some relief recently to discover that Soren
> Kierkegaard had found this too, in his own experience, and had stated it very
> clearly a century ago.
> As a consequence of the above, I realize that I have lost interest in
> being a teacher. When I try to teach, as I do sometimes, I am appalled by the
> results, which seem a little more than inconsequential, because sometimes the
> teaching appears to succeed. When this happens I find that the results are
> damaging. It seems to cause the individual to distrust his own experience,
> and to stifle significant learning. Hence I have come to feel that the
> outcomes of teaching are either unimportant or hurtful. When I look back at
> the result of my past teaching, the real results seem the same - either
> damage was done, or nothing significant occurred." Carl Rogers, April 1952.
> Eighteen years before Sudbury Valley opens, Carl Rogers has already developed
> client-centered therapy and simply crushes the notion of teaching. He also
> notes that Kierkegaard arrived at the same place a hundred years earlier. And
> thirty years of Sudbury Valley certainly agrees. The only useful learning is
> "self-discovered, personally appropriated and assimilated". Teaching is
> impossible and if tried, damaging.
> So, Sudbury Valley avoids teaching children and thus avoids futile or
> damaging results. And when we all agree to stop teaching and preaching about
> all the wonderful goodness of Sudbury Valley we will avoid much futility and
> damage also. Teaching and preaching is reaching for results. It is invasive.
> The results of Sudbury Valley are owned by the children. They are uniquely
> and individually and completely owned by the children. They are not ours to
> comment on.
> Sudbury Valley offers a deep and profound regard for the child and then
> stops. The children are not "improvers". Each is profoundly capable. They
> shall make of this regard what they wish.
> Bill Richardson
> Note: If we can give up the notions of teaching, preaching, results, and
> accountability, then I think building Sudbury Valleys will be easier. Looked
> at this way, maybe Sudbury Valley is just a nice place that year in and year
> out offers a deep and profound respect to the child.
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