Re: DSM: Re: On Hybrid schools . . . Our Trojan Horse?

Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 23:59:11 EDT

In a message dated 5/11/01 1:18:01 PM, writes:

<< From the POV of a student or teacher (or parent) in an authoritarian

there is a world of difference between Ms. Grundy and a teacher who is

flouting convention by implementing limited democracy within their own

classroom. I know - I was that teacher for several years in public schools

in Ann Arbor. By no means do I claim to have been running a fully democratic

classroom, for I was within a decidedly undemocratic system. On the other

hand, my students' experiences with democratic decision making (including

creating their own rules governing behavior and creating a judicial process

to enforce those rules) was of many orders of magnitude different than the

experiences of students in traditionally run classrooms. >>

In the latest issue of our magazine, The Education revolution, there are two
diaries of public school teachers describing their process of democratizing
their classrooms. My feeling about this is that teachers in any setting may
do this, as long as they are honest with their students about what freedom is
possible in the situation. For example, I remember when I was demonstrating
democratic process in a public alternative school for "at-risk" students on
Long Island. One of the students complained that he wanted to change the rule
that prohibited hats in school. A teacher replied that it was a district rule
and he had no authority over it, but he would be glad to go to the school
board with him to try to change the rule. You could sense their perceptions
about eachother changing. They decided they wanted to have weekly democratic
meetings for the rest of the year. At the end of the year they were the only
students to demonstrate when the district axed some teachers.

Jerry Mintz


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