Re: DSM: The Sudbury model -- appropriate for all children, yes or no?

From: william van horn (
Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 14:56:32 EDT

>Yes. At The Highland School we used to call it the "Critical >Mass" issue.
In any organization there needs to be a critical >mass of people who are
generally "in line" with the >organization's values/practices/ethos. This
critical mass of >participants can "hold the space" for up to another
critical mass > of people who act out in various ways which put stress on
the >system. If the first critical mass gets too small or the second >one
gets too
>large, then it is difficult to "hold the center" and the system may >fall

>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. > ,,,,,,,,it
is an important >part of the "unlearning" experience.

Then these students get their direction from other students or the culture
(official and unspoken rules) of the school. If there are too many of these
students in a school, because then their role models will then be others
with similar problems, the school may fail. This seems to make my point
that some kids need initial direction, whether from a teacher/mentor or from
a peer group culture. And, as it was said here, some kids can not (or will
not ) adjust to the responsibility of freedom.

William Van Horn

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