➥ Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing Ebook ➫ Author A.S. Neill – Motyourdrive.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing

  1. says:

    Wow I saw a friend currently reading this.It brings back memories of being a Freshman in college. dorm room late nights James Taylor music and this book, Summerhill Tell me..I m not the only old fart who has memories of this book


  2. says:

    This book blew my mind as a teenager Basically it is a description of a radical school in England that believed back when this was not a popular idea that the child is born inherently good, and should be allowed to discover the world academics at her own pace A.S Neill, the founder of the school and the book s author, is a little heavy on Freud but it s a very, very interesting documentation of a social experiment.


  3. says:

    The Educational Psychology professor at Grinnell College was so personally lackluster, so unusually straight for the time, that I cannot recall his name His class, however, despite a bow to orthodoxy by having us go through Ausibel and Robinson s textbook, included some great ancillary reading, the best and most provocative of which was A.S Neill s Summerhill For one who was going out of his way to read radical literature, Summerhill was still impressive, maybe the most challenging and eye opening of the lot.Imagine, then, a successful educator running a school entirely without coercion Imagine raising a child entirely without coercion What if no child were forced to go to class or to study What if no child were pressured into adult toilet habits These were new thoughts to me at the time and the impact of Neill on American education in the sixties was comparable to Rousseau s on the French two centuries earlier.


  4. says:

    The author of The Idle Parent, which I loved, makes frequent reference to Summerhill and A S Neill s parenting and teaching methods So I decided to read Summerhill and found very little to recommend it The beginning section, in which Neill describes his unique boarding school Summerhill was interesting and informative But the rest of the book, in which Neill explains his philosophy toward children, felt very dated and way off base to me Neill turns out to be a Freudian this book was written around 1960 , and he believes that most problems children have stem either from not knowing where babies come from having that knowledge withheld from them by well meaning adults or from not being allowed to touch themselves and feeling shame about sexual impulses And when I say children, I mean children even little five yr olds suffer from these problems in Neill s view Apparently, all it takes is a little talk with Neill for the children to have any difficulty, academic or emotional, cleared up In fact, Neill seems to have practiced psychotherapy on the students at Summerhill Neill champions the idea of the self regulated child, and believes that a child that is completely left alone will end up healthy and happy He seems to place little or no value on intellectual pursuits Overall I was left with the impression that Neill meant well, and his school may have been a welcome haven for children who were suffering in a traditional school environment, or who needed to get away from troubled parents But mostly reading this book made me question my respect for and belief in The Idle Parent, since it s author seems to place so much faith in Neill s philosophy I can see how this book and its ideas may have seemed radical and progressive in a good way fifty years ago, but now they just seem dated and a little crazy.


  5. says:

    I loved and hated this book about how children who are not coerced to do anything become uninhibited and naturally good and caring given a situation with enough social pressure to be that way The book was based on Neill s school where he didn t force any child to go to classes but most students went anyway I loved how Neill had such a down to earth style of giving advice and acknowledged that every child is different and requires sensitivity to their needs I thought it was amazing how he had the guts to give positive reinforcement to rebellious behaviors he paid girls to continue raiding the larder, and they magically stopped One of his ideas was that a child needs to sense that you love and approve of them before they ll give you any respect He was also for complete sexual education and freedom for his students, trusting that they wouldn t fool around because his teenage students loved Summerhill too much to sully its name with an unwed pregnancy and I guess it worked.I disliked like how self satisfied he was His comments on how preschool children and babies need constant attention made me wonder if he had ever been the main caregiver for a small child Also, his Freudian interpretations of everything started to feel like a conspiracy theory The book went on for too long, way past the point that I felt I understood his approach I also feel like maybe his approach worked for neurotypical students, but felt disappointed that he didn t bother addressing why the Summerhill school didn t work for everyone.


  6. says:

    This book change the way I see parenting and education from that of a discipline controlling one to giving the freedom that a child crave for It puts emphasis on being on the side of the child , being open and honest It covers education from different angles from academic, personality, to the touchy subject of sex and religion It s interesting to see that most of the students in summerhill school seem to be able to understand clearly that freedom is without consequence and limited to the freedom of their peers.However, things have changed alot since the 1930s 1970s and some of the techniques may not be as effective, and the author admits that One has to read this book with a pinch of salt It not meant to be prescriptive, it meant to broaden up ones perspective.The book consists of 2 parts, the first part tells the experience on leading summerhill school, whereas the latter tells how the author becomes how he was and came about with the idea It puts the idea into context.Well recommended read for all parents.


  7. says:

    A pleasure to read Neill s insights about raising children come from observing them grow in an environment that listens to their needs It s an opportunity to learn that kids are naturally happy and good If they are loved and raised according to their needs, they will become responsible productive adults by all means Sad how much we miss of the kids childhood by having them adjust to strict environments.


  8. says:

    This is a great book about a man who started an experimental school where children are treated as equals and freedom is the main objective It s so hard to explain, and the book is old and dated, but there are some great ideas about child rearing which also makes me think about how I treat my own friends and family and the children I get to hang out with Read it knowing that it was written a long time ago and that some of the language and ideas are outdated Otherwise, I love this book.


  9. says:

    The book is part memoir, part freedom based education manifest Both were quite enjoyable.Given that the book was written in the 50s, it suffers from a lot of anachronisms behavior of bad parents is not something that you would encounter today , and school system has improved a lot since Neill started his institution, so he feels less radical today which is a good sign of overall progress Also, Freud s influence is abundant throughout, and it seems that the application of psycho analysis worked for Summerhill back then not sure if it would still apply today.The best part of the book for me was listening to a story of a man who decided that after a lifetime of working with children that children should be allowed to be children as much as they can in order to grow into happier persons children are not meant to carry responsibilities that are not suited for their age trust children and show them respect as individual democratic environment of the school mis direction of emotions love, anger and anything in between in family will manifest through child s mis behavior Question yourself first as a parent , then your child a free child based on everything above will find it s own interests and have enough self motivation to achieve its own goal in life I m pretty sure I lost some points, but those were the big ones for me Parts I could agree on without any discussions points 1 3 , Freudian part point 4 and completely open approach to sex in order to release frustrations, inhibitions and neurosis is a bit harder to swallow label me repressed and find hidden meaning in that sentence if you must After discussing Point 5 with a pedagogue friend, it seems that modern literature on the subject confirmed that internal motivation will usually under perform in the aspect of achieving learning goals when compared to external motivation As Neill himself commented Summerhill never gave successful writers, scientists, engineers from it s students i.e modern day successful people They managed to turn frustrated students into happy, well rounded individuals That s already impressive.


  10. says:

    Summerhill and the Fate of Progressive EducationBy Don JordanWhen I was in my twenties someone told me to read A S Neill s Summerhill, which at the time was the bible of progressive education I did and I have never forgotten it To me it was transformative, as it had been to so many others So, when I mentioned the book recently to a friend who had just gotten her PhD in education, I was shocked to learn that she had never heard of it Could something so profound and so influential have disappeared so quickly Alas yes Such is the nature of the modern world With these thoughts in mind, I decided to read it again, and see how I felt about the book and its theories after 45 years of teaching and raising two kids I did and guess what My feeling hasn t changed one bit A S Neill s revolutionary approach to education seems to me as profound and as fundamentally right as it did 45 years ago What became clear from all my experiences, however, is that although the concepts in the book are fairly simple, implementing them is actually very difficult Setting up a school in which children are free and empowered is fairly easy Making it work on a daily basis is not I consider this a further endorsement of Neill s approach, for any method of teaching that doesn t rely on an intensely personal hands on engagement is a fool s errand The key to reading Neill s book is to pay special attention to the anecdotes, the stories he tells of his successes and failures as he tries to help children grow, learn and go out into the world Then it quickly becomes clear that implementing his fairly simple concepts requires a tremendous amount of patience, judgement and, yes, love Thus, the greatest asset of his approach is also its greatest weakness this kind of education depends for its success on the people involved After all, whatever method or system you adhere to, education is really a series of personal relationships between teacher and student And as we know, no two relationships are alike For this reason, I ve always felt that no method that is worth anything can or should long outlive its creator There is another reason, I think, that the Summerhill approach has fallen out of favor In a certain sense, Summerhill is very dated It is dated in that it was written in a period when schools were overly strict and authoritarian, and Neill spends a lot of time explaining the problems this attitude causes and his antidotes Today s schools suffer from a very different problem Today s students are coddled and cuddled, praised and pampered, spoon fed their knowledge, and pretty much always right Does this mean that the Summerhill idea has taken over Quite the opposite For there is an important aspect of Neill s philosophy that is less emphasized in the book but is made very clear in the many anecdotes and stories he recounts The freedom that each child enjoys at Summerhill must not infringe on someone else s freedom It is not a school without rules It is a school in which the students make the rules, and the students enforce them At Summerhill, presumably, each child takes responsibility of her own destiny Today s students are spoon fed their destiny To give a quick example We lament that students today do not understand civics, so we give them lots of lessons about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and make them read lots of soppy novels about unfortunate people who have struggled and prevailed or not during our short history None of this means much to a teenager, no matter how melodramatic we make it Summerhill students and staff meet once a week, establish the rules the school is run by, decide on and mete out consequences, and change the rules when they deem necessary Summerhill students learn about civics and their importance to our lives from hands on experience.What was most upsetting to me on re reading Summerhill was to see how far we have actually strayed from the principals of progressive education while proceeding under the illusion that we are adopting them Rather than truly allowing students the choice of whether to take classes or what classes to take, we try to inspire, cajole, and misdirect them into learning We have become magicians trying to slip some knowledge into students heads when they re not looking Does this approach really empower students I don t think so Kids are very quick to see when they are being misled I can t tell you how often my children have said they don t want to do their homework because it s bogus We have also pulled a bait and switch on the goals of education The biggest problem in discussing different approaches to education is assessing their success Here Summerhill has some good advice to offer as well To quote Neill I would rather see a school produce a happy street cleaner than a neurotic scholar Today we tend to judge our education system by how much info we manage to cram into our students minds This is tantamount to judging someone s ability to build a house by how fast he can hammer a nail Neill claims that his goal is to create happy citizens people who can go out into the world and lead a happy life Considering how different people are, and how many different lifestyles and professions there are, this task requires a far flexible education set up than what most communities are currently offering The truth is, learning is very hard to measure I m sure all teachers have shared the rewarding experience of having a student come back years later saying I finally understood what you were trying to teach us Yet when we originally sent this student forth from the classroom, we had no idea if this seed had been successfully planted or not Teachers judge their effectiveness by this kind of personal dialogue with their students Unfortunately, the bureaucrats who define our schools tend to judge success by things like graduation rates and relative income Whether you believe in progressive education or not, I would suggest that A S Neill s writings can still provide a treasure chest of insight, wisdom and inspiration to anyone who teaches, has children, or wants to get a bigger picture of what the educational experience is all about Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from Summerhill is that education should be entrusted to people, not to methods.


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