Re: DSM: dancing

Alan Klein (
Sat, 20 Jan 2001 23:49:35 -0500

I was there in the early years at Highland, and I would say that you have
come to reasonable, but only partially factual, conclusions. Highland was,
indeed, small. The scenario Candy outlined happened in the first year
(1981). In point of fact, there were very few kids who wanted to attend
classes. Most were busily going about their business, which consisted of a
lot of unlearning of habits and attitudes created from years of traditional
schooling experience.

When the kids didn't attend classes, their parents (a few) would drop by the
school. Since it looked and sounded VERY different from what they were used
to, they hit upon the question of the noise level as the "reason" that their
kids weren't attending classes. Their kids, having no real experience with
making decisions that their parents didn't approve of, acceded to that line
of reasoning and pointed to the noise, as well, as the reason they were not
attending classes.

Let me make it very clear: It was extremely rare that a class would actually
be interrupted or interfered with by noise. The much more likely scenario
was that a kid would find MANY better things to do than to go to the
class(es) that their parents wanted them to. They then had to explain this
to their parents and it was a lot easier to blame "noise" than to own up to
the fact that they really didn't want to go to the classes in the first

Finally, for the most part (perhaps entirely), these classes were set up as
a result of kids claiming that they "wanted" to have them. After all, what
other way of passing time at "school" did they know?

~Alan Klein

----- Original Message -----
From: Anne and Theo Julienne <>
> If I understand correctly what happened, some kids attended the formal
> classes on offer and tried to engage in quiet study. Other children did
> attend the classes but made it impossible for those choosing classes to
> exercise their choice freely. In other words the out-of-class kids were
> coercing the in-class kids to conform with their set of choices. This is
> certainly not freedom-with-responsibility and is something that neither I
> nor my son would allow.
> It's possible that your school was very small then and there were
> insufficient spaces allocated for more noisy learning pursuits. Space
> constraints can be alleviated by imposing time constraints. This was tried
> but failed. It sounds like you didn't have the room (time- or space-wise)
> accommodate both types of learning. Access to a library is no substitute
> access to good formal teaching.

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