[Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.

From: Todd Pratum <knowledge_at_pratum.com>
Date: Sun Apr 3 16:07:00 2005
After 20+ years of studying educational theory, Holt, Steiner, Neill, Montessori, Dewey et al, I am about to start a small school in Berkeley California,  housed inside my 12,000 library.  I have read many Sudbury books and I am deeply grateful for what I have learned about democratic education from them, and education in general.  I have bought many copies of Sudbury books that I have given away to people and I continue to do this to this day (I particularly like giving away copies of Education in America by Daniel Greenberg, those short little essays are so cogent and clear!).  I've always known from the beginning that you must trust the child's and their particular learning process, no matter how different or even counterproductive it may seem, and when I first learned of the Sudbury model (about 15 years ago) I was thrilled to find compatriots in arms!

Recently however I have learned from a person who knows Daniel Greenberg and the other core faculty in Massachusetts, and has observed them in action many times, something that I don't really understand.  According to this person, at Sudbury you are not allowed to encourage a child to do anything, ever, (safety and health excepted).  For example, as I understand it, you are not allowed to encourage a child to study one thing over another, or do one thing over another, but always let the child decide without any influence from the staff whatsoever, even if you think you may have some inside knowledge about the child and that that inside knowledge of yours could help the child. I realize that the idea that adults know better than children has been at the root of so much pedagogical abuse, but I did not know, if true, that there is no encouragement allowed at all.  Is this true?  If so, then I would like to know if this idea has been explained in writing anywhere?  I would like to hear from seasoned Sudbury people especially.  Thank you very much. 
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Received on Sun Apr 03 2005 - 16:06:40 EDT

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