One of the advantages of the Sudbury model is the ability students have to study subjects in such a way that makes sense given their specific circumstances. For instance, when I decided to learn more about historical linguistics, I chose to do this in part by learning two closely related languages, to see how they had drifted apart. I could already speak Spanish, so I decided to study Portuguese. Not only did I have the freedom to learn these specific languages, but I had flexibility as to how I chose to do so. I decided to learn Portuguese from Spanish, which highlighted the interesting differences and similarities between the two, allowed me to practice my Spanish while learning Portuguese and helped me not confuse one when trying to speak the other.
There are many possible variables when considering how to learn something. At MLSS we recognize this and encourage you to find the path that’s best for you, not necessarily the one that’s best for your peers.
In traditional schools there is often the idea that there are books which everyone should read. This promotes the feeling that these books are inherently important and everyone should enjoy them, which can lead to people feeling that they must try to like, or sometimes pretend to like, books that do not actually interest them. It can also lead to a sense of judgment towards people who do not appreciate books which are considered classics.
At MLSS we see that the idea that there are books which everyone should like, or even read, does not make sense. No matter the extent of my love for Shakespeare, if I force a room full of people to read and analyze Romeo and Juliet every day for two weeks, few of them would come out of the experience having gained much and fewer still would want to read more Shakespeare or actually see the play.
Liam Marshall-Butler is currently a student at MLSS.