Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Extreme examples of traditional schools

From: Karen Locke <>
Date: Thu Oct 6 18:46:01 2005

I've been in many arguments about "best" or "better" schooling with people,
most of whom have an investment in not thinking their own particular model
of schooling is inhumane. Just think about the first poster in this
argument - "I know my school crushes creativity....." How does it feel to
write or say those words? We all want our own efforts to be helpful and
meaningful, to believe we are doing something basically good.

I think of education as needing a variety of choices. I think Sudbury is on
the cutting edge, as are schools like mine (online, project-based public
school). We are trying to make an inroad into something entrenched. I want
to recognize people for making strides, not only for reaching the end goal.
That's what I try to do with kids - I want to extend it to adults too. We
are trying to do our best, and looking for examples like Sudbury to help us
do it a little better :)


> I've heard this argument; that military school is more
> humane than 'humanistic' schools where there is a 'fun,
> positive' atmosphere.
> The argument goes, that at *least* in a military school they
> are telling you *straight* what is expected of you, and they
> are only touching your body -- not your soul or sense of
> self.
> Having never been in a military school, I don't feel
> comfortable agreeing or disagreeing with this statement.
> But I do want to agree with Woty's sentiments -- one of the
> most painful aspects of my "humanistic" schooling was the
> feeling that there was something wrong with *me* because I
> didn't find the "humanistic" approach fun, positive, or
> consensual (heck, think about the word 'consent' -- I want
> to be active in my life, not to passively consent).
> On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Woty wrote:
>> Conventional schools make no bones about compelling children to do
>> things. Humanistic schools compel children to pretend, and often to
>> believe, that they are actually consenting, and are actually
>> respected, and that the people in charge actually know and care
>> what's best for the captive children. The children are lead to expect
>> just treatment, and are then betrayed and badly mislead about justice
>> and freedom.
>> In other words -- in conventional schools, children are allowed to
>> hate what they are compelled to do and no one insists to them that
>> they are actually experiencing a fun, positive atmosphere. And people
>> are far less likely to get offended and angry when a child doesn't
>> want to do a carefully planned fun project about trees or participate
>> in a fun group baking project.
>> ~Woty
>> On Oct 6, 2005, at 9:31, Mark MacFadyen wrote:
>> > I've been reading some of the archives and noticed the examples of
>> > traditional schooling are really extreme. Some of these schools
>> > sound like they're right out of the dark ages. I teach in a privite
>> > traditional school; however, we are very humanistic in our
>> > approach, and I do a lot of project based learning. Kids go to the
>> > bathroom whenever they like, and there is a fun, positive
>> > atmosphere about the school. We help each other, learn together
>> > cooperatively. Still, report cards, evaluating children, and many
>> > other aspects of my traditional school are absolutely wrong. I know
>> > my school crushes creativity, it is the worst possible model for
>> > the education of children. But I want to make the point that, well,
>> > traditional school doesn't have to = hell.
>> >
>> > Mark
> --
> --Scott David Gray
> reply to:
> ============================================================
> A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a
> superficial appearance of being right.
> -- Thomas Paine
> ============================================================
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Received on Thu Oct 06 2005 - 18:45:57 EDT

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