Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Introduction, reopening the encouragement/enticement debate

From: Mike Braden <>
Date: Wed Jun 14 10:06:00 2006

Hi Harlan,

No need to apologize, I definitely have a streak of wanting to show off
what I love, though I would definitely prefer teaching to a smaller
group of people who really want to learn from me than a larger group who
are forced to. One of the things I particularly love about Aikido is
that it does in fact teach patience, which I certainly could use
expanding of into more areas of my life. Furthermore, I'm not quite a
sensei yet, so I can still use that excuse. :-) I take a fair chunk of
my personal philosophy/spirituality from Taoism, much of which has to do
with just letting things flow as they go, bending but not breaking, not
forcing change, but allowing it to happen, etc. I agree that I still
have much to learn about this model. The philosophy of the model really
rings true to me and I enjoy the challenge of trying to shake up my
behaviors to more accurately represent my personal philosophy. I am
primarily interested in the finer details of how the schools work in

Mike wrote:

> I have neither taught nor attended an SVS school, so I don't know
> whether your "postings" are legitimate indications of the resources
> available. My understanding of the model, however, is that the
> requests should, must come from the kids. Your knowledge of drugs
> and Akido is who you are, not "things to teach." I've recently
> become interested in math, but I've managed to find adequate teachers
> on my own. Part of the "education" I suspect is in HOW to find
> resources. Your enthusiasm is wonderful, but to me still "feels" a
> bit to much of a "I WANT TO SHOW OFF WHAT I LOVE. COME BE MY
> STUDENT." Perhaps I misjudge you. If so, I do apologize. I am
> merely imagining now how I might react as a student. I'd want to
> know you and like you as a person before I entered into any training
> contract with you for Akido. Doesn't Akido teach patience?
> Wouldn't your "enticement" suggest that the virtues of a sensei were
> not yet developed within you?????
> In a message dated 6/13/06 1:29:02 PM,
>> Hello,
>> Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get some of this off my chest.
>> I am new to the list and very interested in the SVS model after being
>> introduced to the concept by the "Voices from the New American
>> Schoolhouse" video. I am a PhD student in molecular pharmacology and am
>> considering abandoning a life of research for teaching, which I have
>> always been interested in. I have read _Free at Last_, several of the
>> essays posted on's site, and perused much of the archives of
>> this list. One thread in particular caught my attention, that of
>> "encouragement" and all the various takes on its
>> definition/implementation, and I wanted to comment and ask some
>> questions.
>> I think I understand the philosophy of the SVS model in its elimination
>> of the teacher-student power structure and freeing the students to
>> pursue their own interests at their own pace. However, I do not see the
>> harm in providing enticement or encouragement to a particular student or
>> even the whole school as long as it is presented in a way that is
>> non-judgemental. As was brought up in the previous discussion of this
>> topic, I think the litmus test of "would I do the same
>> encouragement/enticement to one of my adult friends?" and the personal
>> understanding that if someone ignores, refuses, or loses interest in
>> your idea that it is their choice to do so. I can understand where such
>> behavior could be construed as demanding or judgmental, especially in
>> the case of much younger students, students new to the system or even
>> staff new to the system. However I believe a student that is well
>> experienced with the SVS model could differentiate between honest
>> suggestions of interesting topics/activities to pursue and a coercive
>> judgment on what they should be doing. The true question is whether a
>> staff member can consciously recognize the difference. Furthermore, I
>> think that non-judgemental enticement can make it easier for students to
>> discover what they might be interested in pursuing. If they try it and
>> don't like it, then that is just fine and the staff member should be
>> accepting of that student's choice.
>> Some concrete examples:
>> 1. I practice Aikido, a mostly defensive, mostly non-violent martial
>> art. While there is a definite teacher-student relationship in the
>> beginning, in order to teach safe falling and the basic techniques, the
>> training itself is non-combative, cooperative and done at a pace
>> commensurate with the experience and skills of the practicing
>> partnerships. I enjoy doing Aikido with all manner of ages and sizes of
>> people and my desire to teach Aikido stems not from my desire to be a
>> teacher and have control, but to train people to a degree that we can
>> play safely. What is the harm in posting a flier at a SVS school saying
>> I am open to teach people Aikido and to contact me if interested? Or
>> what if I wanted to swing my staff around at lunchtime, practicing some
>> twirls and simple movements, and a student becomes interested in what I
>> am doing and asks to learn? Is it wrong of me to do that in order to
>> entice someone to be interested? If someone becomes interested and
>> decides they don't want to pursue it, I don't judge them, as I know
>> different people look for different things in martial arts.
>> 2. I am an information junkie and love passing on stuff I know about.
>> It is a pathological condition, I know, and am slowly learning not to
>> babble more information than a person is really seeking. Again, what is
>> the issue in me posting an announcement saying I would be holding a
>> seminar on a topic, say "How Drugs Work in the Brain"? If anyone shows
>> up, great. If they wan't more information or want to to talk more, I
>> could set up further seminars or reccomend books. If noone shows up, I
>> try another topic. Again, I would not judge anyone for not showing up,
>> or not being interested in the topic. But if I found someone that was
>> really interested, what is the harm in providing them direction into
>> related or other areas that I think they might also be interested in?
>> If I find out they do not like some things I suggest but do like others,
>> I can hone my further suggestions. Again, I would not be judging them
>> on their lack of interest, but would be happy to be a resource for them
>> and would like to let them know what I can do for them.
>> Ok, I should stop there for now and let people process that. I know
>> there is still a lot I need to learn about the SVS model and am quite
>> open to any and all discourse. Please let me know your thoughts.
>> aloha
>> Mike Braden
>> [Note -- this message did not get sent to the list when I first sent it
>> due to an issue with my sending and subscribing addresses. Since
>> then I have actually thought up some reasonable replies to these
>> questions which I will address in a subsequent reply]
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Received on Wed Jun 14 2006 - 10:05:15 EDT

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