Re: DSM: troubles at PacVillage

From: jlamb@norwich.edu
Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 08:55:32 EDT


In response to your concern that some students aren't ready for complete
responsibility because of all the "learning"they went through.

It has been my experience, having been part of the alternative school world
for many years as a student, that all students benefit from the opportunity
for freedom which leads to the opportunity for responsibility. It is true
that many people (both children and adults) when given this freedom at
first go through a period of no responsibility - and probably some degree
of anti-social behavior as they test out this new enviornment and see if it
is real. If too many individuals are going through this period at one time
in a democratic community it can be very hard on the community, but it is
my experience that if there is a balance of people comfortable with this
freedom the others can flounder and then find themselves. For people not
used to giving others freedom it can feel very uncomfortable to watch
someone go through the period of floundering or appearing disinterested and
yet it is an important part of the "unlearning" experience.

I don't think kids do need some initial direction to discover their ability
to make decisions and experience freedom and responsibility, I believe they
only need acceptance, love, and support. They have all the guidance they
need from within. This can be hard to believe if you haven't seen it in
action.

Jasmine Lamb
Admissions Counselor
Vermont College of Norwich University
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
800.336.6794
802.828.8505
fax: 802.828.8855

                                                                                                     
                    william van horn
                    <wmvh1@excite.com> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
                    Sent by: cc:
                    owner-discuss-sudbury-model@ Subject: Re: DSM: troubles at PacVillage
                    sudval.org
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                    05/27/01 10:21 AM
                    Please respond to
                    discuss-sudbury-model
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     

Just as an introduction: I am currently going for my teacher certificate in
Arkansas for secondary school art. I am also substituting in local
schools,
in every subject they offer. I was introduced to the SVS model just this
year, stumbling across it during some web surfing.

When I was in a traditional public JRHS (late 60Õs) I read OÕNeillÕs book
on
Summerhill. It made me feel cheated by the schools I had been attending.
Although I couldnÕt articulate it at the time, what most attracted me was
the respect the students got from the school. This respect seems inherent
in Summerhill and SVS just because they listen to the student and allow him
to make his own decisions. As all of you know, there is very little of
this
in public schools. The system itself does not allow it.

I can see that SVS is an ideal situation for many students. But what of
the
students who are not ready for complete responsibility, who would be lost
in
that situation because of all the "learning" they went through, to follow
othersÕ rules, in public school or in their families? It seems that the
people on this site involved with SVS just dismiss them back to the pit of
public schools. "They donÕt *fit in* with us, so away with them!"

Some kids need some initial direction or encouragement to get started, to
become aware that they can have the freedom to make their own choices, and
that those choices are special to them and because of that, worthy of
pursuit. If we truly respect the individual we will recognize this need
and
respond to it. If this canÕt be done at SVS, where can it happen? Its
unlikely to happen at public schools. What IÕm hearing on this list is
that
it is SVS or nothing. Everything else is less than SVS. I donÕt see how
that is showing respect for students as individuals. You're saying the
"system" of SVS is more important than the needs of the kids.

William Van Horn

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