Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Several Questions Regarding Sudbury Model Schools

From: Richard Berlin <>
Date: Sat Feb 15 03:04:01 2003

When I saw this, I thought I could lazily sit back and
have my own question answered. But since I agree with
Mike's assessment that it was designed to draw fire, I'll
go ahead and ask on my own behalf. Public or private
answers are fine with me.

I should start by saying that I'm currently trying to get a
good understanding about how the Sudbury model works because
I would like my child (currently approaching three years old)
to have a Sudbury experience if it seems likely to suit him.
I really want to understand how people apply the school
philosophy day-to-day. I'd be happy with a free-ranging
discussion of this, but for starters I can provide a focus:

I've finished reading "Kingdom of Childhood." It's my
third or fourth book about Sudbury Valley, so I'm beginning
to put together a coherent picture (I think!) but I was
a bit surprised at some of the students' stories about staff.

I can't pore through the book to find the actual quotes
right now because my wife is having her turn at reading,
but off the top of my head I remember more than one student
reminiscence about staff elections coming down to voting
according to "which staff members yelled at us recently."
Also, someone mentions going around the building without
touching the ground, and having to duck down when passing
the kitchen because otherwise Margaret will holler at you
to get off. And there's a story about "Danny" (Greenberg,
I assume?) walking in on a card game and pronouncing
that, since gambling is illegal, the participants should
"get the silver off the table." I think there were others,
but you get my drift.

Comparing this to some staff essays like "The Art of
Doing Nothing," I'm wondering exactly how these sorts
of episodes were/are viewed. Did the staff members
consider yelling at a student to be a lapse in non-
directive behavior? Or was it perhaps thought to be
OK if it was clearly in response to a behavior that was
against known rules? And what about the students--if
pressed, would they say that having staff yell at
them was reasonable and fair? A nuisance? A breach
of etiquette? Something else?

-- Rich
Received on Sat Feb 15 2003 - 03:03:34 EST

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