On The Side Of The Child: Summerhill Revisited
On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited
Here, Bill Ayers speaks as a parent and educator who has spent years in the classroom experimenting with A.S. Neill's progressive approach. While he admits to being a fan of Neill's, he also admits that Neill's techniques "seemed more than a little loony" when they first appeared.
Ayers, a social activist and educator, takes a new look at the controversial Summerhill experiment of the last century that emphasized freedom and democracy in education to the point that students set the tone and pace of their schooling, eschewing the structured curriculum and activities of most schools. As part of a series exploring innovative approaches to education, with current educators engaging in imaginary dialogues with education luminaries, Ayers speaks to A. S. Neill, Summerhill's founder. Ayers recalls his own experiences of the 1960s with the Children's Community in Detroit, an experiment that emphasized racial integration and personal freedom. He explores the concepts of Summerhill in light of current emphasis on structuring children's behavior, diagnosing and stigmatizing children with ADD and other learning disabilities. Ayers underscores the importance of reciprocity in teaching--that both student and teacher should be engaged...