Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

From: Warren McMillan (warren@bmts.com)
Date: Fri Nov 16 2001 - 11:50:57 EST


William writes:
"...but should these students be ignored? Is the only answer for me to
create a democratic school? And
barring that, maybe I should just become a dishwasher and leave the students
to the teachers that beleive that passing the SAT is the culmination of a
good education."

With respect, my answers would be yes, yes and yes. A point I made
previously in this thread is that, in order to know yourself, to find out
who you are and where your purpose lies, which is the ultimate aim of true
education, you must BEGIN with freedom. Freedom is the prerequisite for
self-knowledge, self-discovery. The SVS model guarantees freedom through
the use of democratic governance in precisely the way your country does.
The point of the democratic school is not to teach children how to be free
or what democracy means, it just guarantees that they are free so they can
pursue their own path.

So, helping students in a non-democratic school understand the nature of
their bondage does not help them and probably does more harm than good.
>From a child's perspective, an adult authoritarian figure, representative of
the system in which he is employed, standing before them describing the true
nature of their lot in contrast to a free and democratic alternative, must
seem the height of hypocracy. Not only are you doing it to them but you now
explain in detail the exact nature of their situation so that they can
better appreciate just how oppressed they really are... and then pick up
your paycheque at the end of the day. You cannot change the traditional
non-democratic schools from within and any attempt to try simply serves to
support the system as it is. If you must teach in such a school, then just
help them pass their SAT's, don't burden them with your own political or
personal agenda and, above all, do no harm.

What the "... teachers that beleive that passing the SAT is the culmination
of a
good education." have is integrity. They may be misguided as to the true
purpose of education but they truly believe in the system in which they are
employed and they believe they are helping their students. Any teacher who
does not teach with this integrity should get out and start a democratic
school... or wash dishes, as you suggest.

Please, William, do not take this as a personal affront. All of the example
I have used here is really from my own experience teaching in non-democratic
classrooms over 25 years. The hypocrite was I.

Warren

----- Original Message -----
From: william van horn <wmvh1@excite.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

> You're right, they also need to know what they can do about it, the
> possibilities for change. But they can't create change when they do not
> know something exists. There's a difference between knowing that you do
not
> like the system, and accepting it, and realizing that the system is
unfair,
> that this is what you have to work with, and, hopefully, to try to make
> changes nonetheless.
>
> I'm living in a fairly conservative district and I see a lot of acceptance
> (and even embracement) of the system and its restrictions. I feel that if
I
> can help the students see creatively and personally just a little better
> then there may be a chance for them to, somewhere down the road even,
begin
> to question what they see and what they are told. Its a small change, and
> certainly not the opportunity of a SUdbury school, but should these
students
> be ignored? Is the only answer for me to create a democratic school? And
> barring that, maybe I should just become a dishwasher and leave the
students
> to the teachers that beleive that passing the SAT is the culmination of a
> good education.
>
>
>
>
>
> -----
> > From: "Bruce Smith" <bsmith@coin.org>
> > To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> > Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001 5:32 AM
> > Subject: Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom
> >
> >
> > > William,
> > >
> > > Here's how I'm interpreting your post: if I and/or others feel that
our
> > > votes don't count, if American democracy is indeed "a shallow game
> > > controlled by a few powerful people," then what's wrong with showing
> > > students that? Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with it: that is not
> how
> > it
> > > has to be. Citizens _can_ organize and effect real change. It's often
> not
> > > easy, but it can and does happen. Besides, I think the point's been
> made
> > > before that if you want to know how much an individual's vote counts,
> you
> > > can ask Al Gore.
> > >
> > > And if I'm wrong, then at least we could do ourselves a favor and
stop
> > > pretending that it is a democracy.
> > >
> > > Being cynical and pessismistic about the status quo is yet another
> gripe I
> > > have about conventional education. "That's just the way things are"
is
> a
> > > sorry excuse for inflicting as much unpleasantness on students as
> possible
> > > ("well, golly, the real world is full of shit, so we'd better get
them
> > used
> > > to it now"), thereby churning out still more passive graduates who
> expect
> > > life to suck, and believe themselves powerless to change that.
> > >
> > > Do you want to just accept that things suck, or do something about
it?
> Do
> > > you want kids to feel empowered, or victims of a corrupt system?
> > >
> > > Bruce
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > At 9:11 PM 11/1/01, william van horn wrote:
> > > >. All I see it preparing
> > > >> students for is a life of believing that democracy itself is a
> shallow
> > > >game
> > > >> controlled by a few powerful people.
> > > >>
> > > >> Bruce Smith
> > > >> Alpine Valley School
> > > >
> > > >Sorta like it usually works in the United States, right? How much do
> you
> > > >feel that your vote counts?
> > > >
> > > >William M. Van Horn
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ===========
> > >
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>
> William M. Van Horn
> wmvh1@excite.com
> http://www.angelfire.com/art/inmystudio
>
>
>
>
>
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