Re: DSM:teachers/classes

Scott David Gray (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:18:27 -0400

What is the basis for your assertion that there A) there are times one
can only learn by instruction or B) that SV doesn't supply that?

In any case, students are certainly free to discuss anything they wish
with any staff member and, more importantly perghaps, discuss anything
with one another.

Ithink it's reasonable to divide academic learning into three broad

1) Lecturing. Having someone simply tell you her/his views, opinions,
and understanding. To this, I say that the written word is the most
efficient medium; you can read it quicker, re-read relevent parts, and
have a permanent record.

2) Discussion. Posing your own ideas in conversation with others.
Bouncing ideas back and forth. This is what Sudbury Valley thrives on;
the exchange of ideas in free-flowing conversation.

3) Skills, requiring practice. Piano playing, language, art, etc...
With these things, direct "instruction" in it's classic form may be
helpful, in the sense that it's useful to sit down with a master of the
craft and watch her/him work and work with him/her, coupled (mostly) with
lots and lots of individual practice. Sudbury Valley certainly doesn't
stand in the way of this, and many staff (and students) are masters of
particular skills (playing guitar, fine arts, etc) which they are glad to
share with others.

The single defining quality of a Sudbury Valley education is that there
is no curriculum. What this means, in reality, is that when a person
_wants_ a particular type of activity, s/he can take part of it. Nobody
prevents students, for example, from administering tests to
themselves... Or from following a course of study suggested in a book.

Sharon Stanfill wrote:

> Thanks, Scott, for your explanation of the definition of class within
> the Sudbury Valley School culture! There are , I assert, times when
> one can only learn via instruction, and not on ones own. SV classes
> do not, it would appear, address this issue, generally. How is it
> handled? Would individuals seek out staff members for instruction?
> Sharon

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