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

From: Todd Pratum <>
Date: Mon Nov 29 23:23:00 2004
Dear Sudbury List,
   I have been castigated here in very clear terms, and I am open minded enough to admit that maybe I have been rude, though in no way did I intend my post to be so!  It was not a personal attack as I don't know the man at all!  My post was meant to open an avenue of discussion, not to hurt anyone.  I criticized his use of language, a skill that I find very important in the discussion of education!  I thought this was a critical exchange of ideas, not a cheering squad.  Then to have my post criticized for my grammatical errors but the previous error filled postings fly by without any notice taken--that is real irony.

   All I am trying to say is that language is (in part) a tool to explore the universe and report back your findings (if you so please), like a car is used to travel to distant lands, or your legs to get around.  Language skills are not some elective art form. Bad driving causes accidents, weak legs limit your mobility.  If one is born blind or with bad feet then obviously that is not their fault!  But I fear the hostility I have brought upon myself with my posting means I have misunderstood something here, my apologies for my ignorance.

  It was also not clear from my post that I am a very devoted supporter of the ideas behind Sudbury.  Sudbury is revolutionary.  I can find almost nothing I don't fully agree with in Sudbury publications, especially those by Mr. Greenberg, whose writings I discovered about 15 years ago and have been with me ever since.

  I also agree with the first poster that email is a relative form of communication, i.e. relative in respect to the amount of time spent crafting it.  But if we rarely craft our language, then doesn't that lower the quality of our communication, if not our very thinking? 

  Sincerely, and remorsefully, Todd Pratum. wrote:
In a message dated 11/29/2004 6:03:26 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
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?
Well, here is a logical contradiction, writ large.  (Yes, that is proper English.)  One cannot be "fully committed" to children learning "according to their own volition, etc." and at the same time promote the necessity "to impress upon the value and importance of literacy" -- or of any other pet subject; or exert "social pressure" to be literate or anything else.  My right to pursue interests according to my own volition implies explicitly my right to be free of anyone's social pressure to meet their agendas.
You write, "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)."  Well and good - you have chosen a way to spend most of your life, and you should be pleased to have had the opportunity to do so.  But you should be just as comfortable with anyone else's decision about how to spend _their_ lives, and accord them the same respect you wish to receive.
By the way, where did you get the idea that Sudbury schools "deny the universe of written wisdom, etc." to their students?  That is news to me.  On the contrary, Sudbury schools _permit_ all universes to be explored without prejudice, and it seems to me the world would be a lot better off if all educational institutions followed that example, rather than promoting a narrow agenda that exalts certain pursuits (always and exclusively those engaged in by the teachers in those institutions, by coincidence) and denigrates others, or humiliates people who do not subscribe to the chosen list.
Dan Greenberg, Sudbury Valley

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Received on Mon Nov 29 2004 - 23:22:02 EST

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