RE: DSM: Re: Subtle Coercion?

Joe Jackson (
Mon, 8 Jan 2001 15:56:28 -0500

OK, but could we just set my "axiom" aside for a moment. It apparently
doesn't seem to work for everyone, and in any case it's just a *tool* for
staff members at the schools.

I want to just point out to you that the idea that attempting to persuade
children to pursue something they're not interested in *damages* them is a
fundamental premise of the model, and I know the premise is true because I
see and live what happens when you don't do it every single day.

I am lucky, I don't have to sit out there on an abstract listserve trying to
imagine if I think the model does what it says based on philosophical
criteria of by my experiences with conventionally-schooled children. I can
see having real problems with it if I had not read the piles of vignettes
from SV Press, met with dozens of SM staff and grads, and seen our school in
action for several years and seen the amazing and extraordinary changes my
very own children are going through.

While I don't expect every one to be able to get to a school to observe
first-hand, I think the Legacy of Trust and Free At Last books do a
wonderful job of making you feel like you've spent some time in the school.
When I read Free At Last was when I first started "getting it".

I hope we can get over the seemingly obnoxious nature of the
"you-don't-get-it" concept, but when we're sitting here debating that we
"should be able to" say things to kids in school for philosophical reasons,
we're getting *real* far away from understanding what happens to a child
when you don't say those things. "Getting" the model *solely* through
abstract philosophical analogies are especially fruitless, since 99.999% of
us only have experience with conventionally-schooled children, and since
99.999% of us are conventionally-schooled and can't begin to imagine how
different life is like for Sudbury students.


> But that's why I don't agree with you. If I value reading for
> some reason
> she has been unable to think of and if I fail to express this to her I am
> lax and dishonest in that I have withheld a heartfelt opinion from my
> friend. If I try to force her to read that's another thing, but
> giving her
> my honest assessment, that I think she's missing out and might
> like to give
> it a try is not what I consider a violation of her will, student or
> otherwise. She doesn't have to read just because I said so. Her freedom
> lies in being able to turn it down. This was the orginal point.
> >From: "Joe Jackson" <>
> > > I would like to hear more about your view of this as an inappropriate
> > > staff - student interaction. It sounds perfectly reasonable to
> > > me.
> >
> >I think it would be solidly in the gray area if she had not used the
> >phrase,
> >"she has little interest in reading." If a student says that
> it's a Prima
> >Facie statement of the student's volition.
> >
> >-JJ
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
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