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Recent progressive educators will be mentioned. Free schooling and the type of education rendered in Summerhill School will be analysed. The philosophy of Neill

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Introduction In this essay the discourse will be on progressive education, some of the old and the recent progressive educators will be mentioned. Free schooling and the type of education rendered in Summerhill School will be analysed. The philosophy of Neill, the founder of the Summerhill School will be discussed as well as the impact Summerhill education has on the lives of its graduates, especially their ability to adapt to the outside world on leaving Summerhill School. Summerhill School is an independent progressive and free school founded by Neill Summerhill in 1921. The school was originally set up as a community for delinquent children but other children without behavioural problems were later admitted to benefit from the application of the psychoanalytical theory. Progressive Education Progressive education movement started in Europe and United States around the 19th century to reintroduce freedom in the area of learning as a reaction to what was assumed to be the very narrow and too formal nature of traditional education. The progressive education proponents believe in growing a new type of children that will not match to the orthodox structure and ethos of public schools. As an objective, the progressive education thinkers aimed to educate "the whole child" i.e. having to address his/her physical, emotional and intellectual growth; and to encourage the child to participate in learning. The progressive education thinkers propound that "a child learns best by actually performing tasks associated with learning" (Britanica, Vol 9:722, 1995). One other progressive educational philosophy is that children must be untied from inflexible educational structures like making pupil to obtain a particular knowledge whether they enjoy it or not. This movement led to the proliferation of experimental progressive schools in both Europe and the United States. In Italy for example the Montessori schools were established, in England Cecil Reddie established the Abbotsholme in 1889 and A.S. Neills founded the Summerhill in 1921. ...read more.


Neill Summerhill founded the Summerhill School in 1921 mainly for delinquent children. Neill was influenced by Homer Lane community called the little Commonwealth where he took care of such children; Neill admired the place and saw it as a place where child-centred education was administered, although it was not a school. Both Neill and Lane applied the psychoanalytical theory on the delinquents. Subsequently, Neill established Summerhill School and used similar theory to provide private lessons to the delinquents after which he admitted other children without behavioural problems. Neill, the founder of Summerhill believed in freedom of choice and few restrictions and boundaries similar to other progressive schools. The works of Neill Summerhill which based on the practical experiences from his school has also contributed to the literature in progressive education. Summerhill School will be fully described next to shed more light on the experiences of Neil Summerhill. SUMMERHILL SCHOOL Summerhill School was founded in 1921 as a progressive and free school, which means that as a progressive school it is different from other schools in terms of its ethos. It is a school that provides an alternative form of education that centres on freedom of children from the domination of adults, specifically the government. "They rejected the idea of government operated schools because of the possibility that political leaders would use education to perpetuate their power" (Spring J. 1994:51) In Summerhill, children are expected to use their capacity and self direction to fashion out the best way to live amongst themselves as a community. Summerhill is different from other progressive schools in one sense that parents are discouraged from visiting their children; this is probably due to Summerhill's aim to free children from the holds of adults. Freedom of choice is exercised in Summerhill. Freedom of choice is good for children to help bring out the hidden potential in them. Each individual is free to do as he or she pleases as long as it does not infringe on the freedom of others (Purdy Year? ...read more.


Reading, writing and basic mathematics are important subjects that should be taught at a given age and in this writer's opinion it should be made compulsory. In a progressive and free school like Summerhill children are exposed to the disciplines of reality, to love and see each other as equals, which is a good preparation for the real world. It has been seen that some former pupils end up with good careers. According to Lamb [ed] (1995: date missing; no it's the page that is missing and can go like that) "There are doctors, lecturers artists and various kinds of professionals produced by Summerhills ..." This disproves the idea that there is no form of education going on there. In conclusion, to form a particular judgment on Summerhill may not be an easy task; there are some aspects that people may not like such as the seeming unlimited freedom; for example having pupils decide as to whether or not to attend classes, which has been discussed earlier. On the other hand there are some practices that are admired by people in Summerhill and outside alike; for example the participatory teaching and learning and group work. However, freedom in various free schools should be re-examined to ensure that these schools are promoting the right freedom for the children. In this writer's opinion, freedom should be such that will enable one to understand how to achieve freedom in life after school. The sort of freedom that will deny children their right to useful knowledge is not good freedom. For instance, when one has freedom in school but cannot use the same freedom to exercise their rights in a democratic society due to their inability to read or write, such type of freedom is misplaced and wrong. The progressive and free education system may be considered too permissive compared to what public and state schools are but one cannot deny that the are more civilized and enlightened movement for tackling societal morals and addressing the endemic issues of corporal punishment within the education system.. Reference: The New Encyclopaedia Britanica, Vol 9:722, 1995 Chicago. ...read more.

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