Village Learning Center

Democracy - Community - Pursuit of Happiness

The Village Sudbury School is democratically run by students and staff. Students pursue whatever subjects interest them, in groups or individually, and learn informally along the way -- even as they play.

Free Student Press: Unschooling at Public Schools!

Below is an excerpt from an interview with the founder of Free Student Press (FSP), Damon Krane, which was featured in Peter Gray's Freedom to Learn blog. See the whole interview HERE. Consider contributing to their Kickstarter campaign HERE before the August 24th deadline.

With 'zines distributed on campus, "students can create for themselves a unique forum for public dialogue among their peers that is anchored to their experiences as students within their schools, and as young people within their communities... students learn how to manage this forum, because they’re committed to keeping it. They learn how to communicate better, because that’s necessary to change minds and have an impact. They learn about their peers and others’ perspectives, and the situation forces them to contend with others’ arguments. Finally, if school officials attempt to illegally censor a publication – as they often do – students get to learn how to defeat corrupt people in positions of power and authority through grassroots organizing.

And the best part of FSP’s approach is that we don’t have to wait until we’ve changed our schools, or until we’ve built better large-scale alternatives. Instead, we literally turn public schools into an opportunity for a massive unschooling campaign – one that not only enriches learning and improves young peoples’ lives, but which also dramatically increases Americans’ capacity to create a freer, more just society."

Cheating in Science: School is a Breeding Ground, by Peter Gray

One of the tragedies of our system of schooling is that it deflects students from discovering what they truly love and find worth doing for its own sake. Instead, it teaches them that life is a series of hoops that one must get through, by one means or another, and that success lies in others' judgments rather than in real, self-satisfying accomplishments. Click here for the article.

Peter Gray on "Ways of Teaching That We Share With Other Animals"

"All of these ways of teaching, observed in animals, are among the most common ways of teaching among human beings. None of these examples of teaching involve reward or punishment or any attempt to manipulate the learner's motivation to learn. The learner is already highly motivated and trying to learn; the teacher just helps out." -Peter Gray
The Human Nature of Teaching I: Ways of Teaching That We Share With Other Animals

More like this on Whittier Sudbury School

Does Schooling Lead to Happiness?
The saludatorian at Bunche Middle School (where I taught) said that it's "important to do all your work, so you can keep your grades up, get into a good college, and get a good career. It's important to get a good career because then you can be happy."

I thought it was a good summary of the big lie our society buys into. The public school system, and society in general, preaches the idea that every kid should go to college, and that failure to do so translates to overall failure in life.

A blue collar job doesn't equal failure or unhappiness, nor do other alternatives to the officially endorsed professions. Higher education provides exposure to new ideas and immersion in intellectual exploration, and we should defend this essential part of the public sphere. That's far different from insisting that everyone choose the academic path.