Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.

From: <>
Date: Thu Apr 7 22:40:12 2005

In a message dated 4/7/05 5:41:29 PM, writes:
> Let me ask, in a slightly different way, what Geert proposes here. What is
> the nature of individual and collective interactions – which are necessary on
> so many levels – that makes a school like SVS like it is and quite different
> from other places.
I imagine that I run a SVS type "school" three hours a week for my
grandchildren, 8 and 3. There is a big basket of toys under the piano in the living
room, a chess board leaning against the wall. They know there are two
computers in the basement they may use. My wife and I wait until their parents
leave. I NEVER say "Today we are going to do this." I wait, I wait, I
wait. Eventually one or the other says something like "Lets go use the puter"
and there is a rush for the basement door, because Bugdom II is on my iMac
and the older one loves that, and Prelude to PreSchool is on the other and the 3
year old loves that. I sometimes offer to read them a book, but it isn't
a favorite. They have both learned about playing somewhere else, and they
never seem to run out of energy. I've practiced staying in the background
for a lot of years now and they seem to have a really good time because they
get to decide within the limits of the resources available to them what they do.
    The seem to NATURALLY want to do something, but seldom what their mother
wants them to do. It's all kind of wondrous and mysterious fun. I have
a private tutoring student who is supposed to be preparing for the AP Language
Exam. He's reading philosophy instead, "From Socrates to Sartre" is the
the title of the book. I hope at some point he'll want to read something
I'm qualified to talk to him about, but for the moment we're equally ignorant.

When I used to be a full time teacher I would put the list of Shakespeare
plays I was able to teach on the board. They'd ask for summaries. They'd
vote on the first one, and off we'd go.

The MOST memorable ninth grade class I ever had, whose members remind me of
it to this day was the semester I went in to class and said: "I'm here.
It's your show." After about three days someone said, "You know, I read
Catcher in the Rye in 8th grade but I didn't understand it. I'd like to read it
again and see if I couldn't figure it out this time." The rest agreed.
They only wanted to do two chapters a night, however. That struck me as
inefficient, but they insisted and VOTED. As I did my preparations I read
those two chapters with a new relaxed ease and got a lot more out of the book than
I ever had before.

It was THEN that I thought to myself that this Sudbury idea might have
something to it.

(My school permitted me some such experiments and only objected when I
substituted a performance of MND for the exam in an AP class)

So, I'm hoping to be part of the SVS school WHEN it becomes a reality in Ann
Arbor because the BEST experiences in my traditional school were ones in which
the students chose to do something and took full responsibility for it.
(e.g. directing student written plays from a Creative Writing course . . . things
like that. One of my favorite but otherwise flaky students rehearsed the
play she had accepted responsibility for to perfection, showed up for the
performance beautifully dressed (as the director), and in general did everything
brilliantly. It was HER show. I didn't check up on her. I just let
out the string and the kite flew by itself (perhaps not the most apt

Does SVS education work this well in an all SVS school?


"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates
profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love."---Lao Tzu
Received on Thu Apr 07 2005 - 22:40:00 EDT

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