Re: DSM: Interest increasing?

Scott Gray (
Sun, 7 Jan 2001 02:46:32 -0500 (EST)

On Sat, 6 Jan 2001, John Axtell wrote:

> My point of confusion is this. Sudbury purists maintain to make available
> items of possible study without first waiting for students to express an
> interest is wrong. How does a Sudsbury student even ever get the idea that
> something exists, such as clay, to pound or touch if the lump of clay is not
> on the table. How would any child learn to talk without first being exposed -
> enticed - or preemptively directed by an adult - to express a verbal sound to
> ask for something?

Hi John, Scott Gray from Sudbury Valley in Massachusetts here.

How do people get exposed to things in a Sudbury model school, or inin our
culture at large? Ever hear of free and open conversation? TV? Radio?
Newspapers? The Internet? Media of any sort or type? We are in an
information explosion. Ask anybody who works in the media, and the modern
problem that people face is _not_ finding information, but sorting it for
themselves in useful and meaningful ways. The fact is, that most kids in
US society today are more skilled at search and retrieval methods than
persons with a Masters in library science were 30 years ago.

How can any person _avoid_ exposure to the basic idea of what any field of
action or study is like or likely entails? The notion that children need
to have "possibilities presented to them" is tied to the far more radical
idea that forms the very basis of traditional education -- that the job of
a school is to _regulate_ the flow of information (making people sit in
class, rather than go and find what they will), and to only let the
"important" stuff (the curriculum) get through.

If you _start_ with a sterile environment (4 blank walls maybe with a
couple posters about staying off drugs or the periodic table of elements,
rules against talking or reading without permission, being forced to sit
at a desk), then the notion that something _has_ to be intrduced to kids
in order for them to learn makes a lot of sense. In the context of a
Sudbury model school, students are right in a TORRENT of the free flow of
ideas. Sudbury schools are not sterile, and people are introduced to
about 24 new ideas per second.

> As a parent I have always done my best to expose, or as you would say -relish
> in the deceptively-benign insidiousness of adult interference for all my
> children. To have children without enjoying insidious interference would seem
> to put the function of parents into nothing more than sexual objects producing
> offspring for the benefit of the offspring rather than having any benefit to
> the "parents".
> I am probably missing the boat in reading all these posts but I sure am trying
> hard to figure them out. Please give me some help if you can.
> John Axtell
--Scott David Gray
reply to:
The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well
as the poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the
streets, and to steal bread.

-- Anatole France

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