Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragement.

From: Todd Pratum <>
Date: Mon Apr 4 17:37:00 2005
Dear Hanna,

Thank you very much, this too is a very helpful explanation, especially your "litmus test" by always speaking with an adult respect.  I agree completely.  However, there are people in this world that are advocates, and to advocate, in my book, when done respectfully, is not judgmental or arrogant or anything like that.  In my own situation I work with homeless kids everyday and I have become an advocate for their health and happiness, and in this respect I frequently advise kids on how to deal with certain situations, and parent too, and staff.  For example I advocate against corporal punishment even though I work in an environment where corporal punishment is the predominant paradigm and practiced regularly by nearly all the parents and also by the kids on each other.  They firmly believe in this way of life, I on the other hand do not, and this is based on personal experience, observation, scholarly research, and instinct.

As a student of history I am also an advocate for literacy, for a deeper awareness of our historical roots, and I advocate this in writings of mine, and in my general way of life.  All my friends know me as a passionate person with a lot of beliefs and a lot of "crusades," (and a lot of questions!).  This is not the kind of teacher SVS would want and I understand that, I am just trying to understand it better.  Thanks again, Todd Pratum. wrote:
This is Hanna from Sudbury Valley,
At Sudbury Valley no one tells other people what to do.  Staff doesn't tell students nor other staff how to interact with others.  We have no dogma.  We do have a philosophy of education which we all follow in our own personal style.  My own way of knowing how to talk to children is that if I can say certain things to an adult friend then I can say the same to a child without fearing that I am being authoritative.  For me it is a clear litmus test.  I usually don't tell my adult friends to go on diets, read more about politics before going to the voting booth, make detailed plans for their summer reading, write a diary and so forth.  I will at times tell them about a good movie or book or exhibit in the museum that I think they will enjoy.  It is always clear that they can take it or leave it without changing our relationship.  It works for me as staff at SVS where I have hundreds of interesting conversations with students and I don't think that I encourage then any more than I do my best friends.  I converse and interact with them in a genuine way but I do not attempt to push them in any specific direction.  It is their life and not mine and it is their decision how to live it not mine.

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Received on Mon Apr 04 2005 - 17:36:47 EDT

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