Re: DSM: Re: Lessons

From: Marko Koskinen (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 23:55:38 EDT

Thank you Alan. My views are probably very similar, but you said it very
well and it cleared my thoughts about it. Thanks again.


Alan Klein wrote:
> Marko asks, "Should the teachers initiate lessons, to offer them even
> without direct interest from students."
> I'll jump in here!
> SVS adherents would say No. Summerhill adherents would say Yes.
> I say that it is OK, so long as it is abundantly clear, to staff, to
> students, and to parents, that attendance is voluntary. I know that SVS
> folks draw a "bright line" here. They will say that we as a culture, and the
> kids and staff who come to our schools as part of that culture, are too
> indoctrinated with the idea that kids need to follow what adults say. They
> worry that the offering of classes by staff will be taken by many as the
> delineation of a school-sponsored curriculum, which is, of course, anathema
> to democratic schooling.
> I am not unsympathetic to that concern. It is outweighed, for me though, by
> a vision of living the true equality of all members of the School Meeting.
> Kids can offer classes, even if no one else has asked for them. So too can
> staff.
> Offering a class for me, much as Danny points out in a chapter of one of the
> early SVS books, is a bit like offering a piece of entertainment. I can post
> fliers that say, "Come to my performance of 'Alan Teaches Calculus' " and
> see who's interested. That said, my time might be better spent being fully
> present with the students and listening to and responding to their expressed
> needs. If I spend all of my time offering classes that no one wants, I may
> find myself out of a job!
> Whether or not resources will be allocated to such classes by the SM,
> without evidence that someone is interested in participating in them is, of
> course, another story!
> ~Alan Klein

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