RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Sudbury & literacy

From: Alan Klein <>
Date: Mon Nov 29 20:43:00 2004

Uh, Todd, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, let's look at your posting
in terms of the "language skills" you yourself utilize:

1. Your posting is written as one paragraph, yet clearly contains what ought
to be many paragraphs.

2. What does "...then I would might feel the same way..." mean?

3. With the possible exception of the opening of Star Trek, I believe that
the prohibition on splitting infinitives is still in force. ("to not

4. Is "Or only for those naturally gifted?" a complete sentence?

5. " (B)ookdealer" is not a word. It is two words.

6. Commas don't generally come immediately before parentheses, as in
"...educational success, (for example...".

7. You wrote "with only a small elect...". Did you mean a "small elite"?

Anyway, I hope you get my "glass houses and stone throwing" meaning.

To answer your questions, I would say that no one needs to impress upon kids
the importance of literacy. It is right before their eyes, all the time. In
the same vein, we don't need to apply social pressure toward the end of
achieving literacy. In fact, that would be (and is) counter-productive. (I
also don't believe that we need social pressure for people to learn not to
steal, etc., but that is not the subject of this posting.)

In the final analysis, I see the democratic schooling position on literacy
skills to be that they are but some of many important skills that kids will
learn in their own time and in their own way because of their very
importance! How could they not (unless impediments are placed in their way!)

~Alan Klein

-----Original Message-----
From Todd Pratum
I for one have been worried--ever since I subscribed to this Sudbury email
discussion--with the terrible language skills used here, such as the posting
by Dr. Evan Hughes which was full of so many errors and gross violations of
English that I wondered, Dr. Hughes, if you have a learning disability?
This would be good to know considering the nature of the posting. Are there
other Sudbury people who are troubled by the frequent postings to this
discussion that are poorly written? Is this a
taboo subject at Sudbury schools? Or do Sudbury people believe that
good reading and writing skills are not very important? Or only for those
naturally gifted? I would like to know. I realize that some people's
brains are not well suited to
literacy. I also realize that for some people, to read and write well
is not considered important, and that is their prerogative of course. I
suppose if I was a back woodsman who lived a rustic life then I would
might feel the same way. But I've spent most of my life with books and
scholarship (as a bookdealer, collector, and constant reader), and it
seems a pity to me if, with our "radical" educational philosophies, we
are to deny the universe of written wisdom and experience, the writings
of Lucretius, and Bede, and Joyce, to all but a small group of people
who are naturally gifted (i.e. to not encourage people to learn proper
language skills, even if they don't want to). Of course this has been
the norm for most of history, with only a small elect being the truly
literate ones, but there have been occasional periods of moderate
educational success, (for example Victorian England, though at great
cost). It seems to me that if our civilization is to survive, we must
have as many educated souls as possible, people who can read and write
with sophistication and real understanding. I am fully committed to the
idea that children have to learn according to their own volition, and at
their own self-chosen pace, under their own terms, most certainly! But
at the same time don't we need to impress upon them the value and
importance of literacy? Congruent to this shouldn't there be at least
some social pressure to be literate? Just as we need social pressure to
not steal, to be healthy, to be civil? Or maybe what Sudbury people
believe is that this is some kind of old fashioned hubris, an arrogant
classism? I'm confused as to what the Sudbury position is on literacy.
I've read three or four books written by Sudbury staff and found little
real discussion of this (yet). Thank you for taking the time to read
this. Sincerely, Todd Pratum.
Received on Mon Nov 29 2004 - 20:42:56 EST

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