Robert Swanson (email@example.com)
Wed, 06 Dec 2000 22:56:18 -0800
Immediately, I deeply understood the value of the Sudbury method. This deep
sense appreciating freedom I remember from my childhood. I was surprised and
delighted to read of Sudbury. And since then I have been jealous. And
finally, I have been skeptical as something seems missing from my
integration of understanding of the Sudbury method and results.
Discuss-sudbury-model seems the appropriate venue to hash this out.
I have been revamping my understanding and beliefs (that ingrained junk)
concerning education. There is some struggle here. I thank God for Joseph
Pearce who gave me a new paradigm in which to revamp my understanding.
Certainly the point is not to pound data into our youth. We are supposed to
have enough heart to provide youth with a beautiful world and to model the
tool "humanity" by which to live a beautiful life. This aspect "humanity" is
not inborn and has to be modeled. What is inborn in children is the ability
to take the concept humanity just about anywhere. If we do not model the
purpose of humanity as increasing beauty then children will have only the
most vague sense that this was supposed to be our purpose as the tool
"human". We all have this vague sense. This VAGUE awareness is what we are
modeling as what is supposed to be. Subtly, we are teaching that vagueness
is survival as humans.
Sudbury is about the beauty that naturally wants to awaken in children who
are not oppressed. The other side of this is that without guidance the
children are misguided. The same as we teach (really, model) the language of
words so must we model the language that develops beauty. This is literally,
scientifically, the language of the heart. And it has to be modeled, it
cannot be taught by intellect. With this heart language being modeled the
full set of tools that are humanity become available. (Currently we use
lizard-intellect and lizard-emotions-self. Openhearted humanity would use
creative-intellect and creative-emotions-others as expanding possibility.)
Lizard-intellect wants its limited idea supported in fear for its lonesome
life. In this light it is understandable that we would not want to clue
children into the fact that their real lives are about powerful possibility
and change. Can an intellect respect children... no, but we can pretend to
by explicitly telling them how we are insufficient models and then allowing
them to be creative.
(P.S., If I had kids would I have time for all this... no. But I hope I
would gather them around the computer screen to discuss these ideas and ask
their help in forming responses. And, yes, I have been asking kids their
opinions to help me form mine.)
on 12/6/00 7:05 PM, Sugmapl@aol.com at Sugmapl@aol.com wrote:
> 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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