September 16, 2014

ARTICLES

Below is a list of articles written about the Sudbury model.

 

How DO They Learn?

Authors: Mimsy Sadofsky
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: Learning

It is the first question parents ask once they try to wrap their minds around the fact that students at Sudbury Valley are, in fact, free to use their time in the ways that appeal to them.

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Why a Curriculum is Counterproductive

Authors: Hanna Greenberg
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: Learning

All too often parents, educators, and even students ask us why we are so adamant about not offering any courses at SVS, and why we only teach in response to the students’ initiatives. They wonder why we don’t just offer a few “required” subjects and thereby ease people’s anxieties and improve the school’s image as well.
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The Sudbury Model of Education
Authors: Jeffery A. Collins
School: Hudson Valley Sudbury School
Category: The philosophy of the Sudbury model

The fundamental difference between a Sudbury school and any other type of school is the student’s level of responsibility. In a Sudbury school the students are solely responsible for their education, their learning methods, their evaluation and their environment.

In a public school, the state takes responsibility for most aspects of a student’s education including curriculum and evaluation. The student is left with little responsibility except to learn what is taught, how it is taught, in the environment in which it is taught and then to reiterate it back at evaluation time.
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A Sudbury Valley School Glossary

Authors: Scott Gray
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: The philosophy of the Sudbury model

When talking about the school, we all find others confused about what we believe, and about what we do. As with most confusion, much of the confusion can be reduced to language.

People casually use certain terms loosely and interchangeably as a shorthand way to say “this is a good thing.” Educators, in particular, use certain terms loosely, because their aim in speaking is to send an emotive signal that they “believe in good things,” rather than as an actual expression of their organizational philosophy. Consider, for example, the huge number of schools around the globe labeled “democratic” in which not one vote is ever taken on any matter of substance.

At Sudbury Valley we try to use language very precisely. And sometimes it is hard for a visitor to understand that we mean what we say. For example, it can take visitors to the school weeks to understand that when we say “freedom” we mean that the students own their time, rather than meaning that they get to choose among a set of choices that the adults lay out for them.

Here is a short glossary of terms that have meaning in a Sudbury context, but which tend to be misunderstood and ignored in other schools.
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The One and Only Best Class

Authors: Hanna Greenberg
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: Judicial Committee

The one and only “best class’‘ I have ever attended is the Judicial Committee at Sudbury Valley.

Basically, the JC is the organ of the school which keeps the school safe, deals with interpersonal conflicts, and ensures that the physical plant is not abused or vandalized. It took us many years to create the concept of the school’s judicial system and even longer to develop a tradition which is now embedded in the culture of the school to such an extent that it runs really smoothly and effectively.
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Instant Availability Without Continuous Presence

Authors: Hanna Greenberg
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: Role of Staff Members

Somewhere I read this quote by Lotte Bailin:

“Instant availability without continuous presence is the best role a mother could play.”
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On the Nature of Sports at SVS

Authors: Michael Greenberg
School: Sudbury Valley School
Category: Age Mixing

Have you ever noticed the uniqueness of the way that sports are played at SVS?

The experience is a beautiful one which brings out most of the noble characteristics which a person can possess. It also illustrates a point about language and the SVS experience that is worth thinking about; for, although we give our activities at the school the same names as activities that take place elsewhere (for instance, “soccer games” or “history class”), what is actually happening during those activities at school is so fundamentally different from what happens elsewhere that the name becomes misleading. This is why it seems impossible, at times, to explain the school to people who haven’t actually seen it.
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