Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.

From: Scott David Gray <sgray_at_sudval.org>
Date: Sun Apr 3 19:27:00 2005

Todd,

You asked about health as an example of what you're talking
about:

  I don't encourage children any more or less vis-a-vis
nutrition than I do vis-a-vis academia. I might look at
someone's having for lunch and mention that *I* wouldn't eat
it. And if asked, say why. But I wouldn't say what s/he
*should* or *shouldn't* eat.
  On the other hand, if a person *of any age* is doing
something that seriously endangers him/herself in the
*moment* (rather than if it remains a behavior throughout
his/her life), I do the human thing and intervene! If you
see a person running down the middle of road, whatever age
s/he is, you stop and complain 'what are you an idiot? get
to the side!'

  I don't have any opinions on how people should play.
Though I happily admit my opinion that life is better when
one plays constantly (inccluding at one's work). On the
other hand, I sometimes mention to a person a game that I
played that I think s/he may like or enjoy.

  One way or other, we don't have a *rule* on the books
prohibiting a staff member from 'encouraging' something.
However, we would vote them out at the first opportunity.
And if they were obnoxious about it, they would get brought
up for infringement of rights.

  I *do* think that vis-a-vis adult/child relations, the
distinction between 'force' and 'encourage' is a much
subtler line than your discussion of etymology suggests.
In our culture, kids are bombarded by evil messages that
'others know what is best for *you*.' And for as long as
that is the case, an adult has to tread lightly to not have
any statement sound like a pronouncement.

On Sun, 3 Apr 2005, Todd Pratum wrote:

> 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
>
> _______________________________________________ Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list Discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
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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
>
> _______________________________________________ Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list Discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
> http://www.sudval.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/discuss-sudbury-model
>

-- 
 
--Scott David Gray
reply to: sgray_at_sudval.org
http://www.unseelie.org/
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Received on Sun Apr 03 2005 - 19:25:10 EDT

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