More on Kids killing kids

From: Peter Vogel (
Date: Sat May 15 1999 - 01:25:08 EDT

Some interesting commentary has been made here about the killings. The
two points that struck me were:

"We are in a dysfunctional society because emotional education has never
set a precedent in schools"


"Each time we acquiesce idealogically and socially to a market-driven culture
that treats human beings as counters to be shuffled about according to who is
boss or who is holding a gun, we add to the total sum of the culture of
violence. "

I have three children attending a nearby school called Korowal (I'm in
Australia BTW) which was founded 21 years ago by a group of local
parents with the intention of addressing the two points I quoted above.

I am part of a group of parents who are actively involved in ongoing
review and development of the school's philosophy, which underpins its
teaching methods. I thought a brief summary of the philosophy might interest
some readers here, as I think it is central to the questions about why children
might kill each other.

This following is extracted from "Education for Freedom" by Garry
Richardson, who founded Korowal.

Its purpose is to provide an education that enables the whole person to
develop in a balanced and harmonious way, both as an individual and as a
member of society. The philosophy and praxis are human centred,
emphasising the importance of the relationship between teacher and
learner in the educational process.

This approach works consciously with the idea of freedom, the growth of
children, the importance of values and the need to balance progressive and
traditional educational forces.

"Appropriate freedoms must be given to children progressively throughout
their entire education, as soon as it can be seen that they are capable of
taking the appropriate responsibility, but never before."

"The understanding that a child is fully a human being needs to be grasped
deeply by every teacher involved in a school. It needs to work deeply into
a teacher's feelings so that he speaks to children and responds to them in a
completely human way. It needs to work deeply into everything that is done in a
school: into the school's structures and its methods, as well as into the
curriculum itself."
"To attempt to make a child into an adult too soon is to cripple the forces
of childhood, to destroy the wellsprings of spontaneity, and to engender
possible unbalance and impoverishment in adult life. There is time enough to be
an adult when a child grows to adulthood - when he is a child he should be left
his childhood intact."

"If we are to develop new educational techniques that are really related to
the child's consciousness, then we must stop paying attention to just the
intellectual content of what we teach, and start to become conscious of the
educational framework of our lessons and our schools, and the unconscious
effects that they have on children. If unconscious lessons, as well as
conscious ones, are taught that are appropriate to the child's particular stage
of development, there will be much less likelihood of causing the problem of
alienation which occurs so frequently in schools."
"One of the most dangerous and destructive doctrines of our supposedly
enlightened age is the idea that values are relative - that they are just a
matter of individual taste. On the basis of this view there is nothing that
is really good or bad, beautiful or ugly; things just appear to be one way or
the other depending upon how you look at them, or upon the sort of training you
happened to get when you were a child. Because this idea is currently very
widely believed, it has become fashionable to think that everyone must be free
'to do his own thing'. Provided you don't hurt anybody else - not too much
anyway - 'doing your own thing' is all that matters, as it is supposedly not
possible to say whether the 'thing' is of any intrinsic value or not."
"A conscious education for freedom must provide a genuine educational
alternative to both the progressive and traditional forms of schooling. It
must depend upon the conscious perceptions of educators and teachers who are in
continual contact with children, and who are able to watch them as far as
possible through the developmental stages of their unfolding consciousness. It
must give to the child throughout his stages of development every freedom he can
take responsibility for, but it must withhold freedoms for which the
responsibility is a burden that is beyond him."

Anyone interested in further details please email me.

best wishes,

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