Re: Karen's Question: What did you think of SVS?

reedyk@stolaf.edu
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 18:56:57 -0600 (CST)

Swift Rain writes:

> with millions of students in traditional education, there are how many
> hundreds in SVS model education?
> despite many years of success, this model (or any other model) does not
> seem to be making any serious inroads into traditional schooling.
>
I disagree with this statement. As a student studying philosophy of
alternative education I have come across a number of schools that have
adopted models that are similar to that of SVS or Summerhill (a school
in England which is noted as the first progressive student-centered schools).

Let me tell you of some models that are making an impact in many
public schools -- it is hard to change a system that is so embedded in
an ideology that is different than the one that exists. The work of
James P. Comer and Sigler from Yale has had a significant impact on
schools in the inner-city and other areas (I believe there are now
150+) that have adopted there model which focuses on the development
of each student through a curriculum based on discovery. His book
_School Power_ gives a layout of his model and the implementation
process that occurred in the two schools they started with in New
Haven.

George H. Wood wrote a book entitled _Schools that Work_ whereupon he
describes a number of public school programs that focus on freedom and
development of the students. The programs are interesting, although
not as "radical" as SVS -- It is a start though -- through these
programs we can start making the next set of changes that can lead to
more changes.

There are other schools -- the work of Sylvia Ashton Warner comes to
mind. Although she did a bulk of her work in New Zealand, her ideas
of key vocabulary and organic learning are seen in many different
programs across the country, both private and public.

There are many traditional schools that are attempting to make a
change -- when parents, teachers, students and administration works
together theential for such change exists.

> i'm not arguing that there is anything wrong with SVS at all -- i am
> completely in favor of every aspect of the concept.
>
> it just seems to me that if anything, education is becoming *more*
> controlling at the present day. the response of a populace, educated to
> believe that traditional schooling is the best and only way to teach, to
> the failures of the system is to assume that we're not doing a good
> enough job at what we're doing, not that we need to do something else.
>
> i have studied history enough to understand that tightening of control
> precipitates revolution,.. but i do not appreciate being the victim of
> the process.
>
> ...apologies to the list members for using your mailboxes to clarify my
> ideological positions... i will restrain from devolving to the level of
> argument.. :)
>
> --
> SwiftRain <swifty@elision.com>
> the Order of Divine Love: http://www.elision.com/odl/
>