DSM: Course offerings


Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Thu, 18 Jan 2001 07:08:46 -0500


> I've noted in DSM posts a reluctance to "coerce" students by offering
> courses of study,

I think you have confused several different statements - nobody here has
said that course offerings amount to coecion. Coercion is forcing people to
do things, and is by definition not an "offering".

> Is it OK
> to "offer" paradigms rather than just waiting for ideas to arise
> spontaneously from the potential student body?
>
> I believe that offers are OK so long as "no" is always allowed.

In the Sudbury world, I have heard different views with regard to course
offerings. But the *critical* factor is that when a course is offered in
the school, the impact of the offering depends almost entirely with the
*way* it is offered.

On one end of the spectrum you might have a list of classes offered daily
with a schedule on the bulletin board and teachers running around trying to
entice students to "check out" their class.

On the other end, you have a staff walk into the art room and begin
painting, entirely without fanfare.

Both of these can be described as course offerings, however I have found
that most people in Sudbury schools think that the former is repugnant.
What separates the two scenario?

IMO the difference is that the apparent intent of teachers in the former
situation to frantically expose and encourage shows a lack of trust in the
unstoppably inquisical nature of kids who have spent a number of years
without adults trying to expose and encourage them in the preemptive manner
described above.

So why do we adults have such a widely varying level of trust that kids, if
left alone, turn out so much more fearless and inquisitive and self-starting
than those that don't? I think it is because most of us have only
conventionally-educated kids to use as our point of reference to determine
such questions.

Anyhoo, the question was, "Is it OK to "offer" paradigms rather than just
waiting for ideas to arise spontaneously from the potential student body? I
believe that offers are OK so long as "no" is always allowed."

Well sure, I guess it's "ok". But is it not also reasonable to make an
attempt to find out what has been happening to students at a place where it
has not been necessarily "ok" to barrage the students with offerings.

I could tell you what happens, but it would take me writing an email the
length of, say, "Legacy of Trust", available from Sudbury Press.

-Joe Jackson
mailto:shoeless@jazztbone.com
*****************************
http://www.fairhavenschool.com

"In America in the last 20 years, for every seven people executed, one
person sentenced to death was later proved to be innocent."

-- U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT



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