Re: DSM: troubles at PacVillage

From: Podway / Van Dertol Family (robinsp@gateway.net)
Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 11:12:08 EDT


Liz,
You mention a previous thread discussing 'having the government aspect or not' - is there a way to view that thread?

As I've mentioned, we are starting a school in the LA area. We are quite familiar with the PMP system & will emulate it to a great degree, but we would like to learn a lot more about the "rules" & government that Sudbury & Summerhill are built around. We are not really convinced of the value of that system - at least in the way we've seen it implemented. It appears pretty punitive & shaming (albeit child, rather than adult derived shame) - an aspect of traditional culture that we are attempting to work through & find a better way. We may find value in it from other perspectives ( if we can remove the punitive aspects) , though, & we need to get more info to decide.

Any thoughts?
robin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff" <lizanderrol@home.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 10:35 PM
Subject: RE: DSM: troubles at PacVillage

> > While Neill was big on the integration of psychology within
> > his school in
> > his time, that aspect has, to put it mildly, faded. IMO, the
> > fact that
> > Neill performed therapy sessions on students was not one of
> > the best things
> > about the school, which has a great many things in common
> > with the Sudbury
> > school.
>
> I know very little about the details of Niell's therapy sessions. The
> books of his that I have read don't give a lot of detail, so I can not
> give an opinion on whether it was one of the best, better or worst
> aspects of the school.
>
> Playmountain also has many things in common with Summerhill.
>
> > That is, of course, entirely different from
> > whether the school employs therapeutic measures. IMO the model is the
> > antithesis of a school that tries to affect behavior by
> > attempting to cure
> > the student of underlying psychological conditions.
>
> Perhaps I am using the wrong word with therapy, but I can't think of a
> better one to describe the kind of teaching Phyllis did. She never said
> anything about curing underlying ills. She just had a wonderful
> understanding of children and a knack for getting parents to see things
> from a child's view. When I call her a teacher, I mean only a teacher
> in the sense that just spending time with her was a learning experience.
> I do not mean the kind of teacher that people picture in front of a
> classroom. Neither do I mean the kind of therapy that Niell practiced.
> I mean the therapy one gets from being with someone who has a very good
> understanding of their field.
>
> > I don't think so; if you were a student at Fairhaven, I
> > believe you would
> > know exactly what I'm talking about, as you would likely *share* my
> > experience of having been in both worlds! If on the other
> > hand you *did*
> > think that, you would tell me so, and would quickly learn
> > that I do not lack
> > said experience in the ensuing conversation. This is the
> > common way such
> > exchanges go at the school. (Interestingly enough,
> > comparisons like this
> > between Fairhaven and conventional schools is a favorite
> > topic among the
> > students at our school. And hearing the experiences of our
> > students has
> > done much to reinforce my opinions of externally discipline
> > versus internal
> > discipline).
>
> I don't quite get what you are talking about here. Are you saying that
> without having experienced being a student at a Sudbury School I cannot
> understand what you are talking about?
>
> I could never be sure that I understand you even then. But tell me,
> would having been a student at two schools that were also like
> Summerhill and like Sudbury, but without the student government, but
> rather anarchic instead, make it possible for me to concieve of what a
> Sudbury school is like? I have visited one Sudbury school and I have
> spoken plenty with people from and involved in Sudbury schools.
>
> At Kirkdale school in London we tried the whole student government thing
> and we found that it was too time consuming having meetings and so they
> just went away. Now and then the adults would try and get us to do them
> again and we wouldn't want to. So perhaps we were really a Sudbury
> school that voted not to do the government stuff, as was discussed on
> this list in a recent thread. Although we didn't vote on it we just
> stopped doing it.
>
> I think that we were pretty young as the school only went up to eleven
> and we weren't so interested in all the details of right and wrong and
> who is to blame. We were too busy playing armies and forts. We usually
> got the staff to do woodwork and stuff with us. They also knew some fun
> games. Maybe had the environment been less absorbing we would have had
> more interest in having meetings. Or maybe the staff could have been a
> little better at getting these things organised. They may have done a
> better job at doing the government stuff if they had had access to one
> of those Sudbury kits. It was probably easier for them to just let us
> run wild rather than try and convince us of the need for meetings.
>
> > There are very many "Playmountains" and "Phyllises" in the
> > world. My wife
> > and I have worked in scores of schools as teacher, director,
> > clinician and
> > administrator. And each one of these places does terribly
> > nice things for
> > students on occasion. And yet I am quite sure that the Sudbury school
> > offers students the best chance to learn to take responsibility for
> > themselves.
>
> Are you saying that you and your wife worked in scores of free schools?
> Wow, you must know all about them then. I don't remember the school
> doing terribly nice things to us, but then we were way too busy having a
> terribly fun time.
>
> > And the fact that they educate themselves and come up with
> > conlusions that
> > offend the way others see the world does not make their
> > conclusions "cheap"
> > and "bigoted". Throwing those terms in there just makes the
> > speaker look
> > bad, does it not?
>
> It seems like I may have offended you. I guess the ability to be
> offensive may be an aspect that *all* free schools have in common and
> not just the Sudbury ones.
>
> Liz Reid
>
>
>
>
>
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