Around the Web

Around the web: Perspectives from a parent, Peter Gray and Dr. King, Jr.

Here are a few items I found interesting about free, democratic and Sudbury education from around the web.

Enjoy!

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From Around the Web

Here are a few links to content I have found around the web that I found interesting.

Love to know your thoughts on these pieces.  Feel free to share your own findings too!

Around the Web: Village Free School article and more

A Portland school is changing lives for kids ages 5-18 and The Oregonian has picked up the story.

I love this bit from one of the three founders at the school.

At the Village Free School, there are three foundational rules: take care of yourself and others, take care of our space and things and respect the freedom of others. Otherwise, students have active authority in what they learn and how they chose to spend their school day.

While not a Sudbury School, there a a number of similarities like student-led classes and age mixing, albeit within age groups.

Here are a few other items I have uncovered from around the web.

Around the Web: Direct Instruction

In this article entitled, “Early Childhood Education: The Case Against Direct Instruction of Academic Skills“, Alfie Kohn makes the case against Direct Instruction (DI).   He defines DI as instruction “in which teachers read from a prepared script in the classroom, drilling young children on basic skills in a highly controlled, even militaristic fashion, and offering reinforcement when children produce the correct responses – appeared to produce the best results.”

This paragraph really him home.

When a didactic, basic-skills focus was compared to a child-centered focus in 32 preschool and kindergarten classes in California, children in the former group did better on reading tests (consistent with the short-term advantage found in some of the other studies), neither better nor worse on math tests, and terribly on a range of nonacademic measures.  The skills kids had lower expectations of themselves, worried more about school, were more dependent on adults, and preferred easier tasks.

Better on the test.  Not so good in social or emotional areas. And this is just one of several studies captured in the article.

So what do you think?  Is there any reason to expect that the direct teaching of skills in order to improve outcomes on a test ever make sense in PreK/12 education?

I welcome your comments.

Step one.

Tonight, December 29, the Sudbury School of Jacksonville held its first informational meeting.  With 8 people in the room, we discussed the Sudbury model, watched a short video about another Sudbury School and shared the story about how my husband Josh and I came to pursue this path, for not only our family, but our community.

In attendance were educators with grown children, as well as parents with small children.  We had folks with kids in “A” rated schools who believe their kids should enjoy school more and parents looking for alternatives to schools that they don’t believe are a great fit for their kid(s) now.  There were lots of questions and we took lots of notes.  The biggest surprise of the night was a woman in town who had researched starting a Sudbury school a few years ago!

It. Was. Awesome.

Thank you to all of the folks who came out.  It was so more exciting than I anticipated and I think it was a wonderful beginning.

If you missed it, not to worry. We are planning our next meeting for on Sunday, January 11th from 3 to 4.  (Kids are welcome, if the weather is nice.  They can play outside and we’ll have a sitter here to help out.)  I hope you’ll join us.

In the meantime, feel free to join our Facebook group or like the school’s brand new Facebook page.

Finally, here are a few links to articles and videos I came across in the last few days: