Re: DSM: Sharing the SVS model

Rick Stansberger (
Mon, 13 Nov 2000 07:51:49 -0700

Robert, please don't take this personally, but I'm wondering if building a
Heartlight school is the first time you've ever gotten passionately involved in the
exploration of anything. I think it might be. The reason I say this is that you
seem to be missing a key concept about sudschools -- you don't seem to get the full
effect of just letting people alone to do what they want. That seems static or
ineffectual to you. Correct me if I'm wrong.

> Still,
> I suspect that development at SVS is simply WHAT IS SO and thus what SHOULD
> be. Yes, they are paying attention to human development. But is there more?

Robert, if you had ever pursued a passion of your own outside the confines of school
(and maybe you have but haven't examine it), you'll notice that "what is so" is
where you begin. And once you're firmly rooted in what is so, you start on a wild,
unpredictable ride of evolution, going in directions you couldn't have guessed.

What was so: My wife, Kate, was teaching in rural Kentucky and got stuck in her
trailer for a week during a blizzard. To keep herself warm, she started making a
What happened: She became a prize-winning quilter, nationally recognized for her

What was so: My Mom made me take typing lessons when I was 12. Tired of practicing
the stupid exercises in the book, I started making things up, and did my practicing
out of my head. When I was 15, a poem of mine was published in a national anthology.

Sure, we started in response to constraints, but the little bit of freedom we had
was enough to take off.

It seems to me that you greatly undervalue the power of just leaving people alone,
and I suspect it comes from your lack of a "hobby," or maybe from not looking at
what you do when you do your hobby. I'm not trying to be personal. I'm just trying
to understand why you don't get how powerful the sudschool model is, and you keep
looking for structures and systems to help kids.

There already is an evolutionary system in place in every human being: it's called
the brain. It's more complex and powerful than any system we have yet managed to
devise. It fulfills the two requirements for any evolutionary system: mutation and
selection. it mutates ideas by changing them around and it selects by matching
ideas up with desires. You don't need anything else.

Your WHAT IS is several billion brain cells in the most highly organized
configuration known to man. Don't discount Brother Brain, my friend.


> What if school was about the evolution of development? What if a singular
> idea does not contain all possibilities? What if it was not scary to KNOW
> THYSELF? Then we could play with who I am in relation to a changing,
> developing environment and personal relationships. Rather than reacting to
> these things, we strive to realize them as toys of perception. No doubt, SVS
> is already going in this direction allowing children the freedom to find
> themselves. Now, what if there is also a procedure to finding and developing
> self? What if this procedure is part of natural development but is not
> included in the SVS model? Joseph Pearce said the quality of models is
> essential to development (creative, open hearted models). If models at SVS
> (& home) are deliberately absent as intentional influences in children's
> lives then they have omitted an essential element from development. Now, it
> is also true that Pearce did not get it all in one idea. So the real
> question is whether we are willing to belittle fear, ignorance and doubt,
> and then, laughing, explore the possibilities for evolution.
> I simply do not appreciate sitting on one clump of grass when there is a
> whole countryside to explore.
> happily romping,
> robert
> on 11/12/00 7:43 PM, Rick Stansberger at wrote:
> > I mean what's the difference between "human development" and "the evolution of
> > developing human potential"? they sound the same to me, but you have them
> > listed
> > as points 2 and 3 respectively.
> >
> > Rick
> >
> > Robert Swanson wrote:
> >
> >> on 11/11/00 2:39 PM, Rick Stansberger at wrote:
> >>
> >>> What's the difference between 2) and 3)?
> >>> Rick
> >>
> >> Learning, as presented in public school, emphasizes intellect. Because other
> >> aspects of development are not reinforced adequately, development is largely
> >> left at the three to four year level. Essentially, this is non-development.
> >> The Sudbury difference is that it allows development through play,
> >> exploration, communication, sexuality, self-determination, friendship,
> >> joy...
> >>
> >> robert
> >>
> >>> Robert Swanson wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> I'd like to suggest three paradigms:
> >>>> 1) School is about learning (public school)
> >>>> 2) School is about human development (SVS)
> >>>> 3) School is about the evolution of developing human potential (wisdom
> >>>> school)
> >>>>
> >>>> The idea of learning THINGS is so big in our society it seems to cast a
> >>>> shadow over human development. We put as a second consideration the
> >>>> character development of an individual.
> >>>>
> >>>> Dr. Melvin Morse (who writes about NDE's of children) said school
> >>>> emphasizes
> >>>> the left side of the brain. It does so by emphasizing verbal activity.
> >>>> Words
> >>>> keep us busy accessing the past and future. On the other hand, the right
> >>>> lobe of the brain is timeless and nonverbal. Its communication is focused
> >>>> on
> >>>> feelings, intuition and depth perception. Right lobe communication
> >>>> references the broader environment.
> >>>>
> >>>> When we get out of the intellect, it is not a question discerning this one
> >>>> thing is right and that one thing is wrong and here we sit. Rather,
> >>>> feelings
> >>>> are concerned with how much happier do we want to evolve right now. Life is
> >>>> a continuum of creativity and choice.
> >>>>
> >>>> robert

"Weirdness abounds and shatters our illusion of order.  Heh-heh.  All the
dust is being blown out from under the carpet. Wonderful stuff!"

Wanda Hamilton-Quinn

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