Friday, August 10, 2007

My school (at the invitation of Moline Schools)

A little while ago, I was reading the Dispatch (Hard to believe, but true), and in it the Moline Superintendent (at least that's who I think it was) wanted people to call/write/whatever with their ideas for what the "perfect" school would look like.

Nearly 60 years ago this was done for me by A.S. Neill in a book called "Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing". This book described a school in England that was based on radical Child Centered learning, and true Democracy. This school can be found at this website. We have our own version in America. We call it the Sudbury Model. The American school can be found here

These sites and A.S. Neill's book will cover the territory better than I ever could.

I just would also add, in passing, that we have had the same grade based, graded, Germanic style of Education for well nigh 100 years (if not more). Isn't it time to try something different?
We build New Schools, fill them with New Tools, give New Tests, Change the Curriculum and the Textbooks, yet we still teach, primarily, like the Prussians did in the 19th century.

I mean, if Summerhill is a little too Radical for you (shouldn't be, but there you go), then look at Howard Gardner's ideas. Or Montessori's. Let's decide whether education still needs to be about creating sheep to work in factories, or if it should be about leading children to lead fulfilling lives beyond that of "consumer".

Let's try Apprentice programs for kids who don't fit in the classroom. Let's try asking the kids what THEY want to learn. You'd be surprised. Let's try integrating students with the society around them, not locking them up in an artificial environment that has nothing to do with real life. Until we address the foundation of education, everything else is window dressing and lies to keep your jobs and wrest more money from taxpayers. More and more of whom are homeschooling.


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