Sunday, 30 April 2006

What if everything we think about school is wrong?

via BoingBoing

This is a trailer and worth the time to watch.

Voices from the New American Schoolhouse explores life outside the usual educational box. Narrated exclusively by students, the film chronicles life and learning at the Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD which practices an undiluted form of freedom and democracy that turns mainstream education theory on its head. Filmmaker Danny Mydlack enjoyed unrestricted access over a two-year period to produce this candid and unblinking encounter with kid-powered learning. This movie is for anyone who ever went to school and imagined something better.

The kids in the film are articulate, intelligent and well informed. If all students graduating from Fairhaven School are like them, I don't have problem sending my child there.

Some comments from theTube are worth noting as well.

The problem with this model is that it sets up expectations that the world will not be able to meet. The world is not run by democratic process, and you usually CAN'T do what you want to do--it is VITAL that you give yourself permission to do something you don't want. It does not reflect the way grownups have to live each day. It is a merely a parent's fantasy about the way they wished the world worked for their kids. And the kids deserve more than living in their parents' imaginations.

You certainly seem to make sense when you put it that way. Problem with your logic is that it doesn't reflect reality. For example, I believe you arrived here via boingboing's link, a self-avowed 'free-schooler' (a pretty successful, real-world professional if I ever saw one.)

...while the world is not currently "run by democratic process" I think this is a step in the right direction. There is a similar debate in the business community right now about how well democratic management does for knowledge workers.

Are you suggesting that these children will be ill-prepared to deal with life's problems because they are taught democracy and learn, through their studies, that they are capable of doing whatever they want in life? I find that an odd position to hold.

and more....

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