Published June 25, 2012
“Over four years of HSSSE survey administrations, student responses have been very consistent regarding boredom. In a pool of 275,925 students who responded to this question from 2006 to 2009, 65% reported being bored at least every day in class in high school; 49% are bored every day and 16% are bored every class. Only 2% reported never being bored.”
“More than one out of four students (27%) have been picked on or bullied either “Sometimes” or “Often”; approximately one in five students (20%) have picked on or bullied other students either “Sometimes” or “Often.””
“The most pervasive theme in the student responses to Question 35 is that there is no point to taking surveys like this. Students feel that their ideas don’t matter, nobody in school listens to students, no action will be taken based on the responses to the survey, and there are too many surveys administered to students.”
From the 2009 report
A great post from Maria West:
“Today I was at Sudbury Valley, and all around were flowers, a lilac bush so large and loaded with blossoms it seemed unreal, large vases of flowers in the kitchen and in another of the rooms, forsythia bushes loosing their blossoms and growing their leaves. I take back my comment about beautiful materials missing from that environment as opposed to a Reggio inspired space. Beauty is everywhere at Sudbury Valley. The bathroom curtains are handmade of gorgeous prints. The landscape and the buildings are beautifully maintained. The property backs up to acres and acres of wooded conservation land, which by rights the children can explore. Light pours into every room, the art room not least of the sunlit spaces, as well as the office and the kitchen and the sitting rooms. There is art by children as well as famous artists framed and hung all along the walls. The place reeks of beauty. I am not sure if that is highlighted in the many volumes of Sudbury Valley literature. It is clearly evident to any visitor, and must seep into the consciousness of any kid.”
LINK: Flowers on the table and delicious food, take 2
Math. As a society we worship it, hate it, and fear it. In our schools we force kids to study it (or pretend to study it) for thousands of hours and then we wail about how little they learn. Here, now, are reports from “unschoolers” that tell a different story. Math is fun; math is easily and naturally learned as a tool when needed; and kids who want to go to a competitive college can learn SAT (or ACT) math in 30 hours or less, even if they have never previously done any formal math study.
Read the article here
“[D]irect soliciting of fascinating adults is compatible with the unschooling (and, generally, homeschooling) philosophy of “learning from the world” and ignoring arbitrary age barriers. Why, then, do so few teens attempt it?” LINK
Basically, my sense is poking around in internships and such is never going to work out, but if you are really obsessed with something, you can probably just dive right in. That might mean some advanced schooling or mentorship. But it may not. Just depends.
- “The Loneliness of the Information-Age Learner: Students’ Ability to Pursue Knowledge as it Relates to a School’s Size” (from: Reflections on the Sudbury School concept (1999) page 219-228 (excerpt: “Nor was it realistic to assume, back in the late 1960′s and during the 70′s and 80′s, that there would be lots of opportunity in the outside community for our students to move in and out of learning situations… Use of outside resources was harder in reality than we had pictured in theory…” (p 220-1)
- John Taylor Gatto often talks about how he was able to line up internships/apprenticeships/mentorships/coops for many of his students — but I don’t see how this is widely possible. Maybe I am wrong.
- “Where then is the dividing line between childhood and adulthood? The question appears to be even more obscure…” (A New Look at Schools – Page 38)
When I arrive with A at Sudbury Valley School, I often have try to convince him to put on a jacket before we walk to the school from the parking lot. Depending on the day, it’s a tough sell. But see, the thing is… I can’t really blame him. Logically this happens primarily on those border-line days where I myself wouldn’t necessarily see a need to wear a coat, so why should he? But still… usually my thinking is… yes, but later maybe he’ll wish he had one! But 1) if that turns out to be the case, and he cares, then surely he won’t be so casual about passing on the jacket offer in the future! And 2) as we walk to the school building on days like this (usually in the late fall or late winter) one often sees about 1.2 million other kids who are wearing even LESS clothing than A, or, if it’s a rainy day… out in the rain completely soaked, but loving it. Obviously the kids aren’t exactly suffering from their (chosen) lack out outerwear.
In other words, Time to get over it… the jacket is MY issue, not his.
Kids People learn fast, so if he needs a jacket, he certainly knows how this works.
And it gets better… on days when it is REALLY REALLY cold, the school has a strict policy of the under-8 kids needing to check in with a staff member before going out and the kids know it because there is a huge sign on the front door… and anytime there is a sign on the front door A of course asks “what does that sign say?” These are the days when basically no one in their right mind goes outside anyway, but it’s a good policy, and of course, like all other school rules/laws/policies, it’s one the School Meeting (think… New England-style Town Meeting) came up with. (Consent of the governed!)
I mean, how awesome is THAT?! This place just makes sense.
Published March 7, 2010
contrarian , education , school
“This Commission on Mental Health laid out a federal plan that could subject all children to mental health screening in school and during routine physical exams. The clear plan is to use the public schools to subject all children to mental examinations, forcing millions of kids to undergo psychiatric screening whether their parents consent or not.” — Phyllis Schlafly
“As an American educator, I cannot help but be struck by certain paradoxes. In America we pride ourselves on being focused on children, and yet we do not pay sufficient attention to what they are actually expressing. We call for cooperative learning among children, and yet we rarely have sustained cooperation at the level of teacher and administrator. We call for artistic works, but we rarely fashion environments that can truly support and inspire them. We call for parental involvement, but are loathe to share ownership, responsibility, and credit with parents. We recognize the need for community, but we so often crystallize immediately into interest groups. We hail the discovery method, but we do not have the confidence to allow children to follow their own noses and hunches. We call for debate, but often spurn it; we call for listening, but we prefer to talk; we are affluent, but we do not safeguard those resources that can allow us to remain so and to foster the affluence of others.”
— Howard Gardner, 1994
Published September 14, 2009
education , school
“If you have two children, and only *one* of them will be set free to learn on his own, my tendency is to free the “youth who enjoy and are motivated by the traditional instruction environment” *before* freeing the rebel.”
from the comments section at… LINK
[[ The only school that operates like this appears to be Sudbury Valley School, USA ]] from “John Holt: personalised education and the reconstruction of education
By Roland Meighan”
John Holt (wikipedia)