Connie Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sat, 6 Jan 2001 08:59:32 -0700
I think there's a difference between influence and coercion. I find it
interesting that children are given so much respect in the Sudbury model,
and yet so much care seems to be taken not to do anything which might have
an effect on them. Can't children say no, just as adults can? I find that
the children I interact with have no difficulty rejecting a suggestion I
might make for a play activity, for example, if it doesn't interest them.
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2001 8:21 AM
Subject: DSM: Subtle Coercion?
Bruce Smith wrote:
> Sudbury purists maintain is that even to suggest, or to make available,
> items of possible study without first waiting for students to express an
> interest -- in other words, to entice or preemptively direct students --
> is, in a way, even worse than naked coercion, since at least with that
> there's no chance of mistaking the adults' role.
This is a point that has come up in the past and I'm not quite sure I
understand it. I haven't read all the material on SVS yet so please bear
I find it hard to imagine myself not ever influencing another person with my
interests. How can I not have items of possible study around? Just filling
the school with resources will do that. There will be books in all the
rooms - books on a number of interesting subjects, perhaps a photo lab, a
sewing room or a woodworking area, even blocks in a corner. Will, not the
presence of these resource materials influence some students? Am I sneakily
coercing them to pick up a book by just having it in the room? How can I
have a school with white walls and bare bookshelves? I think I understand
your purist point but in reality I think that it's inevitable that they are
going to be influenced by the people around them. We are all influenced by
those around us.
I think we can have the material available but the students need to initiate
the interest. Some will pick up one book, others will pick up another.
Just as, if I see a friend doing something interesting I will ask her about
it. If I'm not interested, I won't ask. But I certainly wouldn't expect
people around me to never show me anything. I don't think that they are
being coercive by showing me either unless they try to push it but that's
Do you really think that the purist view could work? Maybe I'm missing
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