When I was at Diablo Valley School (a Sudbury School) the other day one of the students who was in the room with me started doing a crazy dance. It lasted for a few minutes at least. He was spinning around, jumping up and down, and basically just going crazy. He wasn’t bothering anyone else, he was just doing his dance. I have no idea why he was dancing, but he proceeded to do his crazy dance two more times, each after a short break.
I don’t know if this student would have been permitted to do his crazy dance at a different school. It’s hard to say. But it was nice to see in this environment that, so long as he wasn’t bothering everyone else around him, no one cared. It wasn’t good or bad, it just was. Nobody was analyzing his behavior, looking for signs of learning disabilities or creative genius. He was just doing a crazy dance and he had complete freedom to do as he pleased as long as he wasn’t infringing on someone else’s ability to do the same.
Again I don’t know how this compares to other schools, but it was nice to see an environment that was relatively free of judgment, let alone one that wasn’t actually forcing students down a single narrow path.
Giving kids freedom to do as they please within the rules of the community isn’t going to magically transform all of them in to widely successful, creative, innovative entrepreneurs. This isn’t about shaping kids or finding some amazing new educational paradigm that guarantees employment and a cure for cancer.
No, this is just about respecting each other. Respecting each other in the same way that we want to be respected ourselves. I think for a lot of people that isn’t a good enough reason to deviate from the status quo. I’d just be curious to hear why it isn’t a good enough reason…
For me, personally, I have to say it feels good to be involved with an educational environment where a student can do a crazy dance and no one cares.