Democratic Education: Summerhill receives glowing report

December 2, 2007

 So, kids, anyone for double physics? (But no worries if you don’t fancy it)

Official approval at last for school where almost anything goes

Jessica Shepherd
Saturday December 1, 2007
The Guardian

It is halfway through mid-morning science class and there is still only one seat occupied – that of the teacher, David Riebold. “It’s my first no-show in a while,” Riebold says wistfully, looking at the test tubes he has laid out. “Ah well, there’s always lesson preparation to do.”Skipping class is no big deal at Summerhill, Britain’s most progressive school, where pupils set the rules and can miss lessons to play or pursue their own interests. Today Riebold’s class of 12- and 13-year-olds may well be out celebrating, if they’ve heard the news. For after a long battle with the government that has included threats to close the Suffolk independent boarding school, Ofsted has delivered its first endorsement in Summerhill’s 86-year history.

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Open Access Journals: Principals of copying and using research

November 12, 2007

Interesting article on open access journals

New principals for re-using open access published scientific material have been laid out by the UK PubMed Central Publishers Panel. The Statement of Principals will allow scientists and researchers to use published material themselves in databases and linking, which could lead to further scientific discovery.

Under the terms of the statement of principals open access published articles can be copied, and the text data mined for further research, as long as the original author is fully attributed. Re-use of the material must be for non-commercial purposes and cannot alter the moral rights of the original authors.

Source


School of Everything quietly launches alpha site

September 30, 2007

School of Everything, designed to connect anyone who can teach with anyone who wants to learn, has quietly launched an early public alpha version of its site.

The site is set up to serve the thousands of people in the UK who now work as independent, self-employed teachers. (Thanks Rick)

Tech Crunch: School of Everything quietly launches alpha site


Education And Discipline, Bertrand Russell

July 20, 2007

Bertrand Russell is one of my favourite educators and I was hoping to find a public domain version of his book “On Education” which I love.  Unable to find the book I did discover this article which I think is worth reading as an introduction to his educational philosophy.

Education And Discipline

Any serious educational theory must consist of two parts: a conception of the ends of life, and a science of psychological dynamics, i.e. of the laws of mental change. Two men who differ as to the ends of life cannot hope to agree about education. The educational machine, throughout Western civilization, is dominated by two ethical theories: that of Christianity, and that of nationalism. These two, when taken seriously, are incompatible, as is becoming evident in Germany. For my part, I hold that, where they differ, Christianity is preferable, but where they agree, both are mistaken. The conception which I should substitute as the purpose of education is civilization, a term which, as I mean it, has a definition which is partly individual, partly social. It consists, in the individual, of both intellectual and moral qualities: intellectually, a certain minimum of general knowledge, technical skill in one’s own profession, and a habit of forming opinions on evidence; morally, of impartiality, kindliness, and a modicum of self-control. I should add a quality which is neither moral nor intellectual, but perhaps physiological: zest and joy of life. In communities, civilization demands respect for law, justice as between man and man, purposes not involving permanent injury to any section of the human race, and intelligent adaptation of means to ends. If these are to be the purpose of education, it is a question for the science of psychology to consider what can be done towards realizing them, and, in particular, what degree of freedom is likely to prove most effective.
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Private schooling key factor in career success

July 2, 2007

Interesting article in the Guardian on private schooling.

A study examining the educational backgrounds of the 500 most influential people working in politics, the media, medicine, law and business reveals that more than half had attended fee-paying independent schools. That compares with the tiny proportion of pupils – just 7% – who are privately educated.

The significance of private schooling for career success has declined only slightly during the past 20 years, the study by the Sutton Trust education charity found.

Dr Lee Elliot Major, the Sutton Trust’s director of research, said: “This analysis shows that the school you attend at age 11 has a huge impact on your life chances, and particularly how likely you are to reach the top of your chosen profession.

“We are still to a large extent a society divided by wealth, with future elites groomed at particular schools and universities, while the educational opportunities available to those from non-privileged backgrounds make it much more difficult for them to reach the top.”

Guardian: Private schooling key factor in career success

From what I’ve read elsewhere theres also a different focus in private schools.  There children are being taught to be leaders whereas in public schools children are taught to be led.  This might sound like a sweeping statement but I’d suggest not just dismissing it but instead investigating yourself to see what you find.  John Taylor Gatto would be a good place to start.