DSM: RE: JC and SM


Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Mon, 5 Mar 2001 02:15:46 -0500


> I would think that any system that bases it's order in
> punishments, bases it's order in fear.

This assertion presupposes that people do not naturally want to fit in a
community, and therefore have to be incited to an emotional state to follow
community norms. It is not borne out by what we see in the schools.

What we see is that people naturally want to live in a community. They
balance that desire with a need for self-expression. This is normal.

Occasionally the need for expression overloads the ability of the community
to handle it. This is also normal, and is when the community should
feedback to the individual.

Since I know you've actually been in a Judicial Committee, Marko, I know you
are aware that the first (and possibly second) stage of that feedback is
verbal communication or a warning. It is not punishment.

So knowing the limits and the consequences, a person who persists in
breaking them is not acting in fear of punishment!

What *does* comes up often in cases where folks have a problem with
respecting the community feedback is not fear, but frustration. This
frustration is what occurs upon realizing that the limits are really set by
the community in our schools, and not arbitrarily by an adult, and it
finally sinks in that s/he is violating the norms of a community of peers.
This realization sometimes takes a little while for new students (especially
teens).

Frustration is what happens when a person realizes their limitations,
whether the limitations are in their knowledge or understanding surrounding
a given subject, or limitations in their ability to coexist in a community.
The limitations inform the student.

The frustration is a priceless asset to the student - it represents an inner
conflict between their desires and limitations. Given the Sudbury
environment and time, the desires always win.

Remove the Sudbury environment = robbing the student of the internal
conflict by giving him an authoritarian target standing behind the rules to
focus on instead of his limitations - the rules are no longer an embodiment
of community norms; they are merely some guy's rules. Remove adequate time
in the SM school the student needs to get that the rules are really created
by their peers and not just another adult trick and she won't ever have the
opportunity to focus inward.

Much as boredom is the precursor to inspiration, our experience is that this
frustration is generally the precursor to personal epiphany. The SM school
should not seek to "relieve" the student of the frustration - that would be
stealing.

Joe Jackson



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