Re: the right to pursue excellence

Cathy Pauline Lachapelle (aelin@leland.Stanford.EDU)
Fri, 9 May 1997 17:32:49 -0700 (PDT)

> I do however think that kids in most of today's schools feel that they are
> supposed to enjoy it. (I didn't feel that way as a kid either.) And that is
> an insidious fault of most progressive schooling, but no more insidious than
> the seduction you are talking about in "model" classrooms. I doubt that the
> "system" will change very much before cataclysms occur to it.
> Mimsy

I don't understand what you mean by "seduction". I agree that it's
insidious when adults tell kids, or suggest to them, that there is
something wrong if they don't enjoy school. I read about that happening
in one private progressive school, where they were proud of the fact that
"kids do what they want", but then they wanted to also have organized time
where everyone participated, so they "psychologized" the kids, telling the
ones who wanted to be on their own that they "really" wanted to be with
the group. That's pretty awful.

However, most schools where teachers are changing their attitudes about
how kids learn, and therefore their teaching, do not give up their
authority in general. (In public schools, this would be pretty
much impossible, since they are legally responsible for the kids in
various ways). I've seen plenty of kids in such classrooms willing to
complain about this or that, and most teachers (the best ones) are
sensitive to them, and try to work with kids and be flexible. But it is
still very clear to everyone that the teacher is in charge.

Where does seduction come in here?