Re: DSM: Re: Finding like minded people

Eduardo Cortina (
Sun, 29 Oct 2000 09:58:19 -0500

Just out of curiosity (just dropped into this exchange and I didn't read
the previous emails on this topic) is the Heartlight school connected
with Neale Walsch? I was wondering how his school would actually turn
out. In his book, Conversations with God II, he mentions some things or
to use his words "core concepts" he'd like to teach or model in a school:
 honesty, awareness, and responsibility, but not the means that he would
use to teach them. I was wondering if any of the founders of the
Heartlight School had gotten wind of the Sudbury model?

He also talks about developing several courses around these core
concepts, some examples of course titles being: Understanding Power,
Peaceful conflict resolution, Engaging Creativity, tolerance etc. . . I
wondered however, if these things can really be taught in a classroom
setting? Of course we'd all like are children to learn these things
(most people at least), including people in traditional schools. The
question that I don't see most people in education asking is by what
means do children or anyone for that matter, actually learn about these
core concepts?

Perhaps actually offering courses in these subjects would be more
effective that just sticking with the more traditional curriculums of
schools, but you still run into the problem of "trying" to teach
something to someone else. You still run into forcing or coercing a
another person into "learning" something they may or may not be
interested in during that period of time.

I've only been a visitor at Sudbury Schools, but in my brief experiences,
totalling perhaps two weeks, I've seen a lot more of these "core
concepts" being lived and modeled than I have in any other educational
institution. Why, because the Sudbury model allows children and staff to
be themselves-- what could be more honest than this. Can one really try
to be honest or be taught honesty? Can someone be taught to be aware or
be responsible for themselves? At a democratic school like a Sudbury
Valley you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions, and
you are held accountable for your actions in a fair manner. The
Awareness thing, is sort of vague. Aware of what? Other people? Global
warming? The mystery of life?

In any case, my point is that, these things are learned through living
freely and responsibly, not in classes where one tries to be or do
something that is someone else's agenda for them. They are also
supported by interacting with people who support and model these concepts
because they have learned through their own personal life experiences
that the being honest, responsible, and aware (of other people?) are the
most practical and constructive way of living.

Children need the space and time (freedom) to figure these things out for
themselves. They need other people in there lives, role models, whether
they be adults or children who have learned (not one's who are just
trying to be) that these principles are what works. They need a
structure like a democratic school that supports the development of these
qualities using a process (means) that works.

It seems that most people in this country would want these concepts to be
a part of future generations. I think most people strive to be good,
honest, responsible. But the question is, are striving, trying, doing,
being taught (pick your verb) the actual means that people use to learn
these or any concepts or principles. Does wanting something actually
produce that something, regardless of the means used to attain it. Well
maybe, some of the time, but at what cost? Has it worked in our
schools? Will it work in a school, however enlightened or well
intentioned, that uses the same means (forced or coerced learning of a
subject or core concept) that other schools use that are miserably
failing to achieve their ends.

-Eduardo Coritna
On Sat, 28 Oct 2000 18:34:17 -0700 Robert Swanson
<> writes:
> Yes, finding like minded people is like looking for needles in a
> haystack. I
> suggested to Heartlight in Oregon that they consider a behaviorist
> model
> where one is openly accountable for ones actions and measure of
> success.
> When I did this in a group home the environment (socially and
> educationally)
> changed dramatically overnight. We coordinated and became
> successful. Can
> you imagine and comment how such a program might alter the effort
> in
> starting and running a new school?
> robert swanson
> on 9/30/00 8:22 PM, Melissa Bradford at
> wrote:
> > Dear Holly,
> > Just my opinion, here, but speaking from experience as someone who
> has
> > started a Sudbury school, I must say that I would never, ever,
> consider
> > starting one if there was one already operating successfully only
> 40 minutes
> > away.
> >
> > I know how hard a commute can be, and how difficult it is to have
> your
> > children attend a school where their classmates don't live in the
> same town,
> > but it is nothing compared to the unbelievable difficulties in
> starting a
> > Sudbury school. Of course, there were no Sudbury schools in the
> Chicago
> > area at the time when we began working on LVS, (still aren't) so I
> felt I
> > did not have much of an option. But the impact starting a school
> has had on
> > my family, especially my children, has been enormous, and, in
> retrospect,
> > I'm not sure I would have chosen to put them through such
> difficulties had I
> > known what I was getting myself into. Getting the school started
> is only
> > the beginning of the challenge. Having it run successfully takes
> years of
> > struggle. Finding like-minded individuals in your community can
> be like
> > searching for needles in a hay stack. Many times I have wished I
> could wave
> > a magic wand and move to a school that is already established.
> >
> > We have families who commute 45 minutes to an hour to attend our
> school
> > (Liberty Valley School, Joliet, IL) and it is, without question,
> difficult.
> > Our first year we lived a half hour away from the school. We
> moved so that
> > we could be closer; only ten minutes away. Still, I would trade
> my
> > situation for having an established school 40 minutes away any day
> of the
> > week.
> >
> > Well, if this message doesn't deter you, you are probably just
> crazy enough
> > to start your own Sudbury school!
> >
> > Best of luck.
> >
> > Melissa Bradford, LVS
> >
> >
> >

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