Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.

From: Todd Pratum <knowledge_at_pratum.com>
Date: Sun Apr 3 18:42:00 2005
Scott, thank you for this.  I am talking about something more subtle than  "your life will be devoid of meaning if you don't read this book"  And as you say in your penultimate paragraph it IS more subtle than that.  But this may answer my question, you are saying it is NOT doctrine (i.e. not prohibited) to encourage a child, but never if the reason behind your encouragement is "for his/her own good", is that correct?  Please clarify.  Or maybe there is no stated doctrine on this subject at all?  And I'm wondering, do you know any place where this Sudbury position is elucidated in writing, maybe one of Greenberg's books?  Or?  Thank you so much for your time in this.  Todd Pratum.


Scott David Gray wrote:
Language is a funny thing.

The phrase 'no encouragement allowed' is very strong, and a 
little misleading in its tone.

I have expressed before the cultural norm for adults and 
staff in Sudbury schools this way:

  I feel it to be rude or awkward for me to say or suggest
or advise a particular pursit *for the child's good.*

However, I certainly have casual, friendly personal
relations with students (just as I do with staff) in which I
might say 'oh you'd *love* this game' or 'I thought of you
when I was reading *this* book.'

The idea being that it is rude for me to think or act on any 
ideas that *I* might know better for a person (of any age) 
what is right for that person than s/he does. But I may 
nonetheless have a reasonable desire to talk about something 
with that person for *my* sake. There is an implied 
disrespect in the former, but not the latter.

Of course, the line between these two behaviors is very
subtle. As I say, in practice this isn't something that
staff in Sudbury schools do *consciously* but rather it is
part of the *culture* and it would feel wrong to do
otherwise.

Let me give a case when one *wouldn't* suggest something to
another person. I don't walk up to people of *any* age and
sayor imply 'your life will be devoid of meaning if you
don't read this book.' Nor do I walk up to a person who I
don't know and say 'everyone is better off if s/he knows
algenbra.' That's not my place. And it is rude -- not just 
at SVS but in any friendly company. Don't you hate people 
who do taht to you (we've all met such people)?

On Sun, 3 Apr 2005, Todd Pratum wrote:

  
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. 

 -- 
TODD LEIF PRATUM. Est.1981
Antiquarian & Scholarly Books
627 Vernon Street
Oakland, California 94610
Tel.  510.655.1281  Fax.  510.653.8694
Books Bought -- Catalogues Issued

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-- 
TODD LEIF PRATUM. Est.1981
Antiquarian & Scholarly Books
627 Vernon Street
Oakland, California 94610
Tel.  510.655.1281  Fax.  510.653.8694
Books Bought -- Catalogues Issued

Received on Sun Apr 03 2005 - 18:41:10 EDT

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