Melissa Bradford (email@example.com)
Tue, 5 Dec 2000 17:04:10 -0600
At Sudbury schools students have all kinds of models: other students, the
staff, their parents, others they know outside of school. Some use
"language that develops beauty" and some use rather different language!
Students learn from all these people, not just the ones who use the
"language of the heart".
Your descriptions of lizard intellect and creative intellect, etc., are
interesting, but it seems as though you are taking a belief system you have
chosen for yourself, and trying to see everything else through that lens,
and that lens alone, or that you are trying to force that belief system to
match up perfectly with the Sudbury model, but it doesn't fit.
I don't see your vision of a school as being an evolution from a Sudbury
school. I don't see your vision of a school as even being compatible with
Sudbury schools, because, if I understand you correctly, anyone at your
envisioned school must agree with the beliefs or vision you have espoused.
Sudbury schools don't work that way. People have a wide variety of beliefs
about how the school should be run, what staff should do, what language
should be used, how people should treat each other, etc. And that is
perfectly OK. That is actually the point. Sudschools use a democratic
model to hash out differences and come to some sort of agreement through
discussion at school meeting. The incredible part is the journey itself.
But there is no expectation that people think a certain way, such as that
they must speak with "language of the heart". Sudschools are completely
grounded in the notion that school meeting members can think and act in any
way they wish, as long as they do not break any rules, or infringe on
others' rights. Even if they think "speaking with the language of the
heart" is an abomination, and that people should only use "lizard
intellect", their beliefs are respected. In your school, would you have
some kind of litmus test for enrollment and hiring of staff to determine
whether potential students and staff use lizard intellect or creative
intellect? And what happens in your evolved school when the evolved people
there have a disagreement on what constitutes "language of the heart" or
"lizard intellect"? (Sarcasm *not* meant here.)
You state, "Without guidance, the children are misguided." What is your
evidence for this? Do you know a bunch of Sudbury graduates walking around,
miguided about life, using only their "lizard intellects? I'm not sure what
you mean by this. And why do you assume that the students are "without
guidance"? Why do you assume no one uses the "language of the heart" there?
I'd say lots of "guidance" takes place at Sudbury schools, just not guidance
under coercion, not guidance when it's not asked for (well, except for the
"stop running!" type of guidance). That is a big difference. I'd also
venture to say that lots of "language of the heart" goes on there, too.
I guess I would argue that what you say is lacking at Sudschools in fact
does take place, but that other things take place too, and that there is no
way to guarantee or control that process. It seems like you want a model
where A + B = C and that these perfectly evolved human beings will result.
But the only way to do that would be to use coercion, which would then
actually crush the very thing you are trying to create. At Sudbury schools,
it is the process, the evolution, the wrestling with problems, that takes
place in the institution that gives the students an opportunity to learn and
grow. However, the students always have a choice about what they might take
away from that experience, and there is no guarantee that it will be what
you, Robert, think it should be. But that is a risk that must be taken if
one wants the opportunity to have the freedom a Sudschool provides. I would
argue that life is that way anyway. There are no guaranteed outcomes, only
opportunities. It makes sense to me that a school should be structured that
way too, instead of pretending that it can guarantee certain outcomes.
Finally, I would like to say that reading about Sudbury schools and actually
experiencing a Sudbury school on a day-to-day basis is quite a different
thing. I don't think one can analyze the model and "make improvements on
it" without having experienced it for oh, at least several years. LVS has
been open for 3 and a half years, and when it first opened, I thought I had
a great understanding of the model. Well, I did, on paper, but putting it
into practice is quite a different thing. I have learned an unbelievable
amount, and gained a much different understanding of the model, now that I
have experienced it for several years. And I still don't have a thorough
understanding. My fondest dream would be to go to Sudbury Valley and just
observe for about 2 years. I'm not suggesting that there is no room for
improvement, or that there is no better model, I don't know if there is or
isn't. But SVS has been evolving for 32 years - it's not exactly a stagnant
organization, and it doesn't seem to have come to the point of needing to do
something about its lizard intellect problem. How do you explain that?
I don't mean to be offensive, here, but it seems that you have a bunch of
idealized beliefs that I can't imagine being able to put into practice
institutionally. Not that they don't contain some very wonderful ideas in
them, but they seem rather rigid and limiting. But that could be because
I'm just thinking with my lizard brain....I've been known to do that on more
than one occasion!
Liberty Valley School
PS - On your JC question: At Liberty Valley School, 100% of the students
and staff take part in the JC process at some point every year. (Actually,
they would probably say I am putting it mildly.)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:10:03 EST