Re: DSM: Sharing the SVS model

Robert Swanson (
Thu, 09 Nov 2000 01:44:28 -0800

I enjoyed the questions given below. I'd like to answer them relevant to the
issues in general. (answers below) robert

on 11/8/00 8:48 PM, at wrote:
> In a message dated 11/8/00 1:35:14 PM Mountain Standard Time,
> writes:
> << I've been a teacher since 1974,
> and I'm telling you, though, that she's right. >>
> Rick,
> I'm not into the attack and defend mode. So I'll answer you and not the
> previous post.
> I make no defense of my profession. I don't think that she's right. I don't
> think that she's wrong. I don't think I'm right. I don't think I'm wrong.
> What if the Sudbury Model goes beyond right or wrong? What if it goes beyond
> attack and defend? What if you can't free the children without a new method
> that goes beyond right or wrong? I think the Sudbury model is taking a bad
> rap here. It's not about attack and defend. And it's not about trashing
> other people's decisions. I could come back and defend my position. I could
> attack in kind. But I won't.
> I will say this: I believe in my bones that the children I work with are not
> free, even in my classes. What I do think (I admit, I don't really "know" a
> lot.) that I love the people I spend my days with. I respect them. I don't
> care for the public school system. I never have. Generally, I find it quite
> oppressive. I wish the Sudbury Model was the norm. But it's not. ( I
> prefer the Sudbury Model for my son.) And because it's not, not every child
> or teacher can go there. And because we're not all able to do this, are we
> to give up, sit back and whine that we're not free? I prefer not to do
> that.
> And when you give up the attack and defend model, what's left?
We release seeking right/wrong in favor of seeking, with delight, what works
to evolve society to survive wonderfully.

> Maybe just a more interesting set of questions, like:
> 1. Does, in fact, the Sudbury Model call forth a new method qualitatively
> different
> than attack and defend?
Listening to SVS students speak convinces me there is a qualitative
difference. Is this difference to the exclusion of attack-defend? I doubt it
but I'd like to hear more on this.

> 2. Why, after thirty years are Sudbury schools so hard to do, given that
> other educational models are so patently invasive and destructive?
Because we tend to project problems out there, outside of personal
responsibility where no real change can occur. The acute problem is inside
human nature as lack of appropriate development as the intelligent, happy,
creative adventurers we were meant to be. Instead, we are fearful intellects
afraid to choose what works because the choice involves looking within to
see the problem.

> 3. Are children or anyone ever really damaged?
No. The "damage" is an opportunity to appreciate correction. What I call
real damage is the decision-in-fear to not see the opportunity.

> 4. If they are damaged, what is the characterization of such damage?
Sadness, fear, mental debilitation, poor performance as parents/models, poor
health, violence. At SVS I'd bet these are greatly diminished.

> 5. If Sudbury Valley schools can institutionalize respect for children, and
> such respect is the sufficient condition for the freedom of children, can
> others ,knowing this, offer respect on their own in institutions other than
> this model?
I have asked Heartlight to move in this direction. I believe a few
opportunistic individuals could go a long way in their own venue. I have met
several who want to try. Would anything but intellectual fear prevent this

> 6. Basically, was there not both kindness and goodness, among slaves, even
> in the plantation system?
My attitude is that I am on an intellectual plantation. When in small groups
of kindness, my desire has been to get close and then share with many. And
here I am, with many. But kindness and goodness move slow into the milieu of
competition and intellectual isolation. I really enjoy such efforts as
Martin Luther King for intruding into "plantation politics". I guess if I
were more congruent as a spirit I'd just go inside and declare that I am
free (free of the goolag archipelago (sp?)). robert

> Kathleen Richardson

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