101Greenberg (1)

OUTCOMES by Daniel Greenberg

"Is Sudbury Valley School doing a good job, as an educational institution, in preparing young people to go out into the world and lead successful lives?"

(tout ce qui suit est à mettre dans le contexte d’une école où les élèves vivent dans un milieu multi-âge à égalité avec l’adulte, dans un cadre démocratique, dans lequel chacun peut faire entendre sa voix et est force de proposition – ou de contre-proposition !-, et où chacun apprend à suivre ses intérêts sans limitation de temps ou de jugement par autrui)

  • Ce sont des êtres humains « décents » : ils sont ouverts, amicaux, dignes de confiance. Le genre de personne avec qui il est agréable de discuter, de travailler, de passer du temps
  • They are for the most part quite generous, rarely greedy or grasping. They are extremely loyal, through thick and thin. (I never cease to be amazed at the way friendships formed during student years at SVS survive the test of time, despite the many intervening years and often huge distances separating the people involved.) They are supportive in times of distress, celebrative in times of joy. They are friends in their hearts, sharing deep feelings of mutual empathy and understanding.
  • Ils s’entendent bien avec les autres et savent ce qu’ils veulent et comment l’obtenir, parce qu’ils savent comment « cadrer » leurs besoins avec ceux des autres.
  • They love life. They are eager to experience everything, to go out and conquer the world, to travel, to find new horizons, to be adventurous. They do not live in a fog of fear. They want to live, and they relish the complexities of real life. They can be joyous, happy, miserable, and sad; they can be enthusiastic, frustrated, disappointed, exhilarated, ecstatic, and depressed. They are not afraid of feeling intensely, and enjoying -- as well as suffering -- the consequences of such intensity.
  • Ils ont un sens aigu d’eux-mêmes : ce ne sont pas des « suiveurs », ils se sont confrontés à leurs forces et à leurs faiblesses, et savent comment conduire leur vie.
  • They have self-confidence. Most graduates feel that they have the inner strength and the ability to cope with whatever life throws their way; and to do whatever it takes to attain their goals at any particular phase of their lives. It's important to distinguish self-confidence from foolhardiness. A self-confident person has a certain inner voice that guides him/her through the twists and turns of fortune, and offers constant reassurance that somehow s/he will be able to work his/her way out of any difficult spots. A foolhardy person thinks that s/he already has in his/her possession all the tools necessary to cope with everything that comes down the pike. The difference is significant: the quietly self-confident person knows that s/he lacks many tools at any given time, but also knows that with persistence and patience those tools can be acquired.
  • Ils s’adaptent facilement : ils n’ont pas peur des changements et de l’instabilité. Cela ne les paralyse pas, car ils ne pensent pas en terme de situations figées pour la vie : ils s’attendent à faire différentes choses à différents moments de leur vie
  • Ils agissent avec passion : ils connaissent l’expérience d’être débordés par un intérêt pour quelque chose ou quelqu’un.
  • They are bright. One of the characteristics of SVSers most frequently remarked upon by new students is their brightness, their innate intelligence. Being bright -- being, in other words, sparklingly intelligent -- is a trait with which all healthy infants are endowed from birth. Some retain it throughout their lives, however they have been brought up; others lose it, as a result of any of a variety of repressive experiences that force them to shut down. Most SVS graduates, by the time they are ready to leave school, have regained possession and use of their innate brightness, and are able to relate to the world in a highly intelligent manner on a regular basis.
  • Ils sont imaginatifs : ils rentrent rarement dans les « cases » de la société, car ils sont très souvent créatifs et indépendants. Ils se sentent à l’aise pour explorer de nouveaux et inexplorés chemins et savent prendre des risques.
  • They are empowered. They do not accept authority unquestioningly in social settings either. They are keenly aware of their rights, their strengths, their ability to stand for what they believe. They do so even if it costs them, even if they meet resistance or aggressiveness or abusive behavior. They speak up for themselves and for others.
  • They are ethical. Of course I do not mean that they are always good, always do everything right, never do anything wrong. I mean that they -- all of them -- have a highly developed moral sense, even those who don't always act in a manner consistent with it. You can always appeal to an SVS graduate's sense of right and wrong in any discussion, and know that you will be heard, if not always agreed with.
  • They are tolerant. SVSers are deeply respectful of other people, and accepting of all the many differences that distinguish us from each other. They do not form a-priori judgments of people according to their color, their religion, their political views, their social standing, their clothes, their hair, their language, their age, or their demeanor. They have a deep sense of justice.
  • Ils ont un sens aigu de la justice : ils sont très sensibles aux problèmes sociaux, à un système qui serait juste pour tous et accessible à tous
  • They are intensely curious. They are alive to what goes on around them, and are constantly exploring the nooks and crannies of their environment, physical, social, and intellectual. Their conversations roam over a variety of topics that is almost unimaginably varied, from the most arcane philosophical points to the most mundane aspects of daily existence.
  • They are life-long learners. SVS graduates enjoy learning for its own sake -- the more so, the longer they have been at the school. They like to read, to study, to use whatever human or other resources are available in order to acquaint themselves and master new domains that catch their interest.
  • Ils ont une bonne conversation : ils savent utiliser les mots justes pour présenter leurs idées et savent également bien écouter les arguments des autres.
  • They are politically astute. SVS graduates understand how to use the existing political system in order to further their aims. They know how to present their ideas, how to petition, how to debate, how to muster support for their positions among their friends and acquaintances. They know how to formulate political positions, and how to go back to the drawing board and re-formulate them in a more acceptable fashion if they have to.
  • They are physically fit. Most of them are comfortable with their bodies, and are happy when they are physically active. They enjoy the outdoors, they enjoy climbing and running and walking and playing; many like to dance, to ski, to skate or skateboard, to ride bikes, generally to challenge their bodies. They are aware of the difference between good food and junk food, between healthy personal habits and damaging ones -- aware, if not practicing, and awareness is, after all, the essential first step towards practiced.