Re: DSM: Genes and environment (was: About TCS)

Bruce Smith (
Sun, 4 Mar 2001 09:30:39 -0700

>I very much agree with you, but would add one thing. While I don't believe
>in "The Exposure Principle", I do believe in "The Environment Factor".

Call it what you will, "The Environment Factor" sound to me like a
Wizard-of-Oz "Exposure Principle" (pay no attention to the educator behind
the curtain!). My point is this: to the extent that adults manipulate
students' environment, with the intention of providing certain experiences
and withholding others, to that extent the adults are engaged in the kind
of exposure that I criticized in my previous post. Students are hardly so
dull as not to figure out who put out those initial supplies, and they'll
sniff out a not-so-hidden agenda in a heartbeat. At least with direct
attempts to expose kids, you avoid those mind games.

Of course no one could imagine a school starting with nothing but walls,
ceiling and yard. Of course the founders of every school put considerable
thought into what the original supplies should be. Again I would refer you
to my previous post: it's the randomness of those supplies, and not a
conscious intent to guide and direct, that counts.

Also, I recall the story about the playset that SVS bought early on,
thinking all kids want playsets, only to see it promptly neglected (see
_Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept_, p. 115).


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