Re: Responsible People
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 22:39:53 -0500

Refuse to teach? No, I do not. Not one individual, staff or student, at SVS
refuses to help people who want to learn something that they happen to know,
near as I can make out. What it doesn't always look like to anyone else is
"teaching". And I consider that my most important teaching -- for better or
for worse -- is by modeling.

It is "teaching" as giving information to people, willy-nilly, whether or not
they want it, that I was of course referring to. And I hardly ever do it
unless I feel there is a really good reason (like safety). And it doesn't
usually work even then, as your stories about your parents, Dale, illustrate.

So it is important to Andy Smallman's school that teachers extoll teaching
That is one difference between PSCS and SVS -- neither school claims to be
very similar to the other.

I am surprised at reading -- from someone who clearly has no way of
visualizing the way things actually work at SVS -- that kids should ask for a
refund if they are not "taught" what they want to know; that adults would
seize control "back" if kids seized control. What in the heck does that
latter mean? What can it mean? What has it to do with our school? I am
also surprised at repeated insinuations that children in a "free" school
never learn anything that takes discipline or repetition? Are our students
assumed to be something a little different from the rest of the human race?
And surprised at reading that we are not brave enough not to call
ourselves a "school". Utter nonsense.

Alan says, "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"

I don't quite agree. Sudbury-model schools are in fact mainly there for kids
to be part of a society on an every day, all day long basis, a society that
they are part of defining on an ongoing basis. This is the environment in
which they choose to conduct their lives, which means that they can learn
however they want to -- who could stop them? -- and they gain incredible
richness in exposure, environment, knowledge; and also very full control of
their own lives, by being in a large group. A control that is not possible
for a child that is homeschooled anywhere that I have ever seen.