February 6, 2010
Sanya (S): Good morning gentleman! How are we all doing on this fine day?
A.S. Neill (N): I'm doing great today; and you?
Max Rafferty (R): Doing just dandy; and yourself?
Mr. Smith (SM): Very well thanks.
S: I'm doing just fine and I am sure you are all wondering why I brought you here today. We have come together to this meeting to talk about whether schools should fit the student of whether the student should fit the schools.
N: I believe that the school should clearly fit the student, no doubt about it. I actually think that it is rather cruel to make the student learn under the schools conditions. Everyone is different and one curriculum is not going to fit every single child in the school.
R: Are you kidding? The student should absolutely fit the school! It is preposterous to have the school fit the student, crazy! They are incapable of choosing things on their own at this point in time.
SM: I agree completely with you, Mr. Rafferty. A child's brain is not yet able to decide on its own what it likes and does not like. It is still developing and needs a little molding to help it get started. Sanya, what is your opinion on this matter?
S: I am going to have to go with Mr. Neill on this one; the school should have to fit the student. It is only logical to let a person pick what they want to do in life and not be told what others think they would like to do. It is too difficult when there are too many rules set against you; you have no room to be yourself. For example, when a teacher gives out an assignment there is usually no freedom with it. The student is obliged to do what they are told and many times there is no room to add a little of yourself into your work. Plus the schools are no longer molding our brains at this point but literally preventing them from going to make their own shape. Like I said, it is hard to be unique when someone is pushing you to be ordinary.
N: Exactly, children need a little more freedom in their lives to choose what they want and do not want to do. I do believe that it is impossible for someone to tell someone else what they do and do not like, correct?
R: Yes, but kids need structure and someone to tell them what to do. They need someone to hold their hand through schooling! If the student had the choice not to go to school then they clearly would not.
SM: Exactly! They need adults to look up to when they need help. They need to be told what classes to take and what to do in them. Without the structure that we posses now, everything would be chaos.
S: That is not true, I would go to school. Sure, some kids would take a little time off. But eventually they would realize that it is boring and would come back to learn. But if someone is holding our hands through everything then when its time to step into the real world we will not be ready for it.
N: Also, when someone is holding the students hands they cant make decisions for themselves and are incapable of free will! You people just have no trust in the student to survive on his or her own. If the student has the feeling of trust with their teacher they can build a stronger relationship and actually look forward to coming to class.
R: I think you two are taking this too far... that has nothing to do with what will happen in the real world. This is just their schooling world and a student does not have to have a good relationship with their teacher to learn what they need to.
N: However, they are not going to want to learn if they do not enjoy what they are being taught. Also, it will affect them later in life. Take it from kids in Summerhill. They have no fear because of the freedom they are given. We have trust in them so they learn to have trust in themselves as well.
SM: Wow, I never thought of it that way. That actually proves an important point here. As Neill said to me once before, " The function of the child is to live on his own life - not the life that his anxious parents think he should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educator who thinks he knows what is best."
R: You can't seriously be changing your mind now? Children need to act in an orderly, disciplined order. A school is not somewhere for a child to be having a lot of fun! It is an educational setting!
SM: But think about it Mr. Rafferty, if the kids are in school, constantly taking classes they are told to and not choosing on their own, then they have no will to do anything on their own. Plus it has to be a fun environment for them, somewhere they want to come back to and hang out.
S: That is exactly our point here. The teacher and student should be equal so that everyone is comfortable and willing to participate. If the student is constantly being being bossed around they will have no interest in partaking in class.
N: In Summerhill it has been said that people sometimes cannot differentiate the staff from the students and that is the goal. All we are saying is for the school to fit the student and give them more freedom to do what they want to do! To have unity in the one place that students spend the majority of their time is a must.
R: This is absolutely insane! You are all wrong! Like I have said before, things certainly are learned at Summerhill. Things are also learned in pool halls, drag races and discotheques. But we do not call these places schools! With what you people are proposing we might as well not even have schools at all then! I cannot take this nonsense anymore, I'm leaving!
S: Well I do believe that this went well. School would be a much happier environment and a pleasant place to go to if the student was only given a little more freedom. Occasionally getting the chance to make up their own assignments or just getting more say in what they do. I think that majority rules that the school should fit the student!
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