discuss-sudbury-model Getting involved from Australia

Jonathan Dallwitz (jd@multimedia.com.au)
Fri, 15 May 1998 17:19:21 +1030

Hi All,

I'm new to this list. I would appreciate some advice about how an
Australian resident might become involved with Sudbury schools.

When I was in 10th year (Australian Government-funded public school), a
passionate English teacher whom I had a great respect for encouraged me to
become a teacher. Several days later I saw her again. She was red-eyed and
upset... she had just had an argument with the Principal about her
unorthodox teaching methods. She said to me in despair that I should never
be a teacher after all... that like her, I would be frustrated by the red
tape and hamstrung by the education system.

That was 20 years ago. I have been through a range of educational
experiences (most of them informal) since then. (An abbreviated list is
below if you are interested.) Although I have not followed the formal path
of training to be a teacher, I now want to become involved in assisting
people to learn in a way that I (and my teacher) did not have available. I
became particularly interested in the Sudbury Valley School model after
reading several texts on the subject. During a visit to the United States I
visited the Cascade Valley School in Portland, Oregon. There I was kindly
allowed to observe, and even participate for a day. I was profoundly struck
by the deep wisdom of the children I spoke with there. It convinced me that
this was the right path to follow.

How can I best proceed to become involved as a staff member in a
Sudbury-type school? Being in Australia is somewhat of a challenge for me,
as most development seems to be in the USA. I would even be prepared to
travel to the USA and live there, although getting a work visa seems
difficult. (I have attempted to contact the Booroobin Learning Center, one
school in Australia I know of.) Would it be a good idea to go back to
University (I have a Bachelor of Science degree) and study for a post
graduate Diploma of Education? Or would this year be wasted? What about
other lines of study, such as transpersonal counselling? Should I try and
get teaching experience in another type of alternative school here? (There
are a few in Adelaide where I live.)

Any advice, thoughts, or ponderings on the subject would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Regards
Jonathan Dallwitz

SOME MORE BACKGROUND:

* Formal Education:

-Bachelor of Science degree
(Most of my valuable learning came from extracurricular areas. For example
I was involved with the House Committee of the University Hall of
Residence, organising activities for a diverse community.)

* Work Experience:

-Coordinator and trainer of volunteers at an interactive Science and
Technology Centre.
http://www.investigator.org.au/science/core.html
(Observed how people perceive, communicate, learn. Included school groups
K-12, adults, and Aboriginal groups. One of the specialties of this centre
is indigenous learning methods.)

-Host at Ngapartji Multimedia Centre
http://www.ngapartji.com.au
(introducing school groups and members of the public to computers and the
internet.)

-Project manager for small website design company.

* Other stuff:

-Recently attended a Process Orientated workshop on "Spirit and Diversity",
honoring differences and using conflict as a tool for reconciliation. This
was run by Arny and Amy Mindell of the Process Work Centre, Portland. I am
very interested in their relationship/community/world work, which
encompasses the idea of "deep democracy". This appears to parallel the
Sudbury philosophies.
(For more information see their website at: http://www.processwork.org/, or
feel free to email me directly. I can gladly point anyone towards books
etc. on the subject.)

-Backpacked for a year through South America, and marvelled at this world
we all share.