I have been thinking about what to write for the final weekly blog post of this academic year. I decided to write an unusual one, written from the first person, when it occurred to me that this is arguably the third unusual weekly blog post in a row. Our former staff person Sean Vivier wrote our weekly blog posts before. When he left he had already written enough blog posts that he could keep sending them to us, but he has now run out. I always enjoyed reading Sean’s blog posts, so when this happened three weeks ago, I decided to start writing them myself.
I am writing this blog post because I often meet people who think that students will not be motivated to do something new, leave their comfort zone and or put effort into something even though it will positively change their lives or have some other intrinsic value. Writing these blog posts has been an interesting experience for me. I have not written much before and I am still working on my writing style and ability. I hope the fact that you are reading this blog post written by a student helps to dispel the notion that students won’t have the motivation to learn new things.
You often hear people talk about what they think best prepares children for the “real world.” This reveals a difference between the Sudbury model and traditional models of education. In other educational models schools are viewed as something outside of the “real world.” Children are not granted the same privileges, freedoms and respect as they will be upon entering the “real world.” They are told what to do for the vast majority of their time spent in school and are unencumbered by any real world decisions.
In Sudbury schools we accept that schools are in fact part of the “real world.” Children are granted the same rights as the adult staff members. Students and staff members are each granted one equal vote. The students are free vote to change, remove or add rules, hire and fire staff members and allocate the schools funds. Students also have the right to become voting members of the Judicial Committee where accusations of rule breaking are handled. They are responsible for their actions, happiness and personal growth.
Who do you think will be better prepared for the “real world” at the age of eighteen, someone who’s been in it their entire life or someone who’s just getting used to the idea of being in the real world?
Delaying gratification is the ability to use patience and resist immediate gratification when delayed gratification yields a better reward. It is often associated with success because people who can delay gratification can better pursue long term goals, and not give in to immediate pressure.
When given the opportunity to pursue their personal goals, instead of externally imposed goals, children naturally learn to delay gratification. They learn this when they are internally motivated to learn how to paint, speak a language, play a video game, do math, play an instrument, perform martial arts or any other thing which requires time and dedication.
Delayed gratification is just another reason to embrace an educational philosophy which allows students to learn and play based on their internal motivation.
Liam Marshall-Butler is currently a student at MLSS.