DSM: FW: [discussSummerhill] TCS (Taking Children Seriously)

Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Wed, 28 Feb 2001 08:17:49 -0500

TCS came up recently on the Summerhill list.


> I checked out TCS about a year ago, I find it compelling. I also
> found that my reaction to many aspects of it sounded like
> reactions Fairhaven School gets from many people.
> My understanding is that they go a little farther than
> acknowledging that kids are born with whatever they need and will
> grow up perfect if nobody screws them up; my impression is that
> TCS questions the propriety of anyone making judgements about
> what children are capable of.
> For instance, using an often-debated incident from Fairhaven's
> early days, a five-year-old boy was eventually suspended from
> school for repeatedly trying to walk home (17 miles away on a
> busy 2-lane highway), having been convicted of a dangerous
> activity. Understanding that Fairhaven has an open campus policy
> that does not restrict anyone to campus based on age or
> otherwise, the boy was convicted based on the manner in which he
> left campus (alone on foot) rather than leaving campus per se.
> Now, this is a stretch because I'm not intimately familiar with
> TCS, but my take is that TCS folks would say it was inappropriate
> for others (School Meeting in our case) to make decisions
> concerning what the boy was capable of, and that he should have
> been allowed to try and succeed or fail.
> Perhaps someone more familiar with TCS can comment?
> Also, there is a guy associated with TCS, David Deutsch, who is
> really tremendous. He wrote an article about the value of video
> games that really changed my outlook about what our Fairhaven
> students are really doing when they spend all that time playing
> them. His site is:
> http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html
> The video game article is:
> http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~tcs/Articles/VideoGamesInterview.html
> -Joe Jackson
> Hi, John.
> I am certain that you, as I, are very familiar with the reaction
> to our schools of, "Well, I can see that this school is working
> wonderfully for the students in it, but my children have special
> needs, and I'm not sure if they would respond the same way," ad nauseum.
> I spent a little time on the TCS listserve and found that people
> were reacting to me as a coercive parent, which was a strange and
> surprising feeling; I began to feel like I "wasn't hip enough" to
> get it, similar to what people feel who know FHS is the best
> place for their kids but can't bring themselves to make the leap.
> Among the questions and comments I was contributing were a few
> "what if" -type questions, but I did not feel like they were the
> ridiculous kind. Having fathered, grand fathered and taught
> quite a few different kinds of kids in several cultural settings,
> I have come to the conclusion that some kids are born very
> cautious & reasonable and some are not. I also think it's mostly
> genes and not necessarily environment. Needless to say this was
> not a popular attitude on the TCS list.
> I have two step-grandsons with different fathers. The older
> grandson is the kind that at age 1 would launch himself off into
> space headfirst from most any perch or from the arms of any
> adult. His father was a "wild and crazy" kind of guy, who, if he
> is not now in jail, should be. The younger one, from a different
> father (who stayed *and* picked up the slack for the scumbag) is
> a more introverted and cautious type.
> I don't think for a second TCS would work for gs1. I might have
> entertained the TCS environment idea fifteen years ago, but not
> with my experiences now.
> Additionally, an issue came up on that list where someone's
> thirteen-y-o son was sleeping with a neighbor woman in her
> thirties. I contributed that someone should call the cops on the
> woman and was ostracized. It didn't really count that I founded
> a democratic/non-coercive school, I was treated as someone who
> not only didn't "get it" but was hostile to the idea.
> Whatever. Knowing what I know about how people react to the very
> idea that conventional schools are in essence slavery, I can
> certainly understand why those folks, holding the ideals they
> hold, would get defensive. And I also realize that, much like
> the Sudbury and Summerhill lists, the messages that fly across
> the ether do not in any way represent the TCS philosophy, which,
> in spite of my "unhipness" represents, along with ideas like
> attachment parenting, an idea that will play a role in the
> direction of child-rearing and education in the future.
> Thanks.
> -Joe
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: John R. Hiner Jr. [mailto:jrh@delanet.com]
> > Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 2:49 PM
> > To: discussSummerhill
> > Subject: [discussSummerhill] Re: TCS (Taking Children Seriously)
> >
> >
> > Joe:
> >
> > Can you say more about your reactions to TCS? I have read some
> > of their stuff and am having mixed reactions. What did you mean
> > when you wrote, "I also found that my reaction to many aspects of
> > it sounded like reactions Fairhaven School gets from many people?"
> >
> > John Hiner
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Bernard [mailto:kikka01@excite.com]
> > Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 7:18 AM
> > To: discussSummerhill@yahoogroups.com
> > Subject: [discussSummerhill] TCS (Taking Children Seriously)
> >
> >
> > I found this interesting site
> > http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~tcs/index.html
> >
> > > TCS is an educational philosophy. Its most distinctive feature is the
> > > idea that it is possible and desirable to bring up children entirely
> > > without doing things to them against their will, or making them do
> > > things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same
> > > rights, respect and control over their lives as adults.
> >
> > There is also a yahoo-group (prev. egroup) related to TCS :
> > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Autonomy-Respecting-Relationships
> >
> > > The Autonomy-Respecting Relationships List explores the implications
> > > of TCS (Taking Children Seriously) theory for relationships other
> > > than the parent-child one:
> >
> > Please don't let this interrupt the 2 other very interesting
> > discussions !
> >
> > Best,
> > Bernard.
> >
> >
> >
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