Re: Responsible People
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 01:36:31 -0500

In a message dated 96-12-02 01:14:48 EST, you write:

<< I did not mean that the teachers were in control at Sudbury though I bet
if the students tried to take over(they are in the majority aren't
they?) they would find out who was in control right quick! But the
students are in a school(Sudbury does call itself a school doesn't it?)
and schools provide teachers to help students(willing self directed
learners in this case) learn or someone is getting ripped off. >>

This is an interesting definition of "school", but not one that Highland,
SVS, or others would necessarily adopt. In fact, you seem to have fallen
into the rhetorical trap of setting up your own definitions so that you can
then knock them (or someone) down.

Schools are there, in my mind, to provide places for people to learn in
groups (though they may choose to be by themselves much of the time, the
group is always there as a possible source of interaction). Most schools
seem to exist for people to teach in, rather than for people to learn in and
therein lies a major difference between "our" schools and 99.99% of the rest
of the world, unfortunately.

The fact that our schools don't have folks asking for their money back as a
rule and that they do seem to turn out some pretty neat graduates says to me
that they are accomplishing their mission of being places of learning and
growing. The amount of direct, "standard" teaching is usually pretty small.
One example of many that I recall from my days at Highland in the '80's was
a second grader who arrived as a non-reader. He may have spent 30-45 minutes
(not hours) in formal reading instruction the whole year. When the year
ended he was reading at grade level. Did we "teach" him? I think not. Did
he learn? Indeed!