Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re:Philosophy (was Paradigms)

From: brian king <>
Date: Mon Jul 26 11:46:01 2004

Hi All,
I have just returned from China, still a bit jet lagged. At the end of May I was asked to participate at a conference in Beijing China. I presented two lectures to Chinese instructors, mostly chemistry and physics teachers, all non-English speaking. These instructors were from all over China; some came 30 hrs by train. Some instructors were from premier big cities high schools that the facilities would shame our universities. Many were from very small rural schools that having any kind of a library is an issue.

China is deeply rooted in the “teach to the test” and teach by lecture. If the teacher deviates and test scores go down then there is in fear of a loss of job. It looks like China was the model for how our states and the feds are now modeling our US schools.

In short, my presentations were on how projects get done at Big Rock Sudbury School. You know the rap – kid initiated, staff get out of the way and do not put up hurtles etc. and great things happen. It was a power point presentation, mostly slides of both my Sudbury students and former students from the public high school I left. I ran over in both of my presentations instead of people leaving more kept coming in. A great deal of time was spent answering questions. Like Big Rock Sudbury, I finally had to ask them to leave.

I also participated in a discussion group were I made the statement “The mode that China teachers follows is great for producing good technicians and factory workers but not industry leaders, business owner, or inventors. Not a way to develop body of intellectual property.” There was no dissension in that statement. Besides the Chinese teachers, there were an executive from both IBM and Lego in my group, they were very much in agreement. I was later introduced to a person who I was told was the head of curriculum development for the Chinese government and he was very pleased with my presentations.

11:00 pm the last night I was packing up to leave and there was a knock at my dorm room door. I was a bit surprised to have my room filled with the staff from one of the schools. The head master of the school was extending an invitation to me to come to his school. For two weeks they want to pay me half of an administrative annual salary. The point of my whole discussion here is that, China whom the US seems is modeling our “test well or die methodology” is seriously interested in a diametrically conflicting pedagogical model. Could this be because what they are doing is not giving them the outcome they want?

Until time permits
Brain King

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Jul 25, 2004 8:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re:Philosophy (was Paradigms)

In a message dated 7/25/04 9:38:35 AM, writes:

<< When we (Hudson Valley Sudbury School) do our information meetings, we

start the conversation from the angle of 'responsibility'. We say we

provide a place where the students are responsible for their education,

for their environment, the culture they create and ultimately their

lives - a laboratory where they can practice being responsible.

Responsibility and freedom are two sides of the same coin, it is just

that the 'listening' for the word responsibility is better than it is

for the word 'freedom'. >>

What an ingenious approach. Thanks.
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Received on Mon Jul 26 2004 - 11:45:36 EDT

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