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

From: Richard Berlin <>
Date: Sun Feb 16 02:02:00 2003

> Are you assuming that this means elevated volume and hostile tones?
> My son (who's eight) calls it "yelling at" if anyone points out
> inappropriate behavior or tells him that he hurt their feelings. not
> that he's overly defensive about it, but that he just thinks of those
> kinds of admonishments as "yelling at." I wonder if that's a
> wide-spread understanding and what the kids meant. Or are you
> actually expecting the staff to provide no direction? As I understand
> it (and think it should be) the staff have exactly equal rights and
> responsibilities to use the JC as the students (but they might have
> backlash in the hiring process where peers, of course, will not).
> Was I understanding your point?

One of the consciousness-raising techniques I use in my own life is to
try to listen to myself talking to my child and imagine how I'd feel if
another adult said that to me. I imagine that if I were on staff I
would use a variation of the same technique--I would try to be no
more or less directive with the students than I would be with staff
or other peers--and on that basis, I probably would consider it a
lapse to bluntly order someone around.

I'm trying not to unduly assume anything; being "yelled at" is different
things to different people. (I can't tell you how many times my mother
has claimed I'm yelling at her when I'm essentially matching her tone of
voice towards me.)

I have read papers by the founders which I would characterize as
describing a philosophy of non-directiveness (most especially with
respect to "academic subjects") and rather than assume I know how
this looks _in_situ_ I want help understanding how the students
and staff make sense of the sort of incident I described. Sure,
a staff member has as much right as a peer would to yell or
otherwise admonish someone. What I'm wondering is whether that
is all there is to it. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that
the stories treat "staff member yelled at us" in a different
way than "another student yelled at us," and not just because the
students can register their displeasure with staff at election time.

Please try not to read too much into my questions...I'm just
wanting help understanding some aspects of the school that I
am unlikely to be able to observe first-hand. I am trying to
take very seriously the lament that "most outsiders don't
really get it."

-- Rich
Received on Sun Feb 16 2003 - 02:01:41 EST

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