Schools With No Rules

– Posted in: Business/Education

An amazing trend seems to be taking off, and frankly, it is one I hope continues to grow and inspire. The idea of “Schools Without Rules” has been thoroughly tested and has revealed what will seem to many people to be some very surprising results.

Certainly one of the leaders in the revolution is the Swanson School near Auckland, New Zealand, which is run by principal Bruce McLachlan. According to a report on Dateline, the School has a playground “run amok”, where “they roam around with no shoes, but plenty of homemade weapons, they climb as high as they can and often, higher”, and “after forced food breaks, anything goes”. In the report by Dani Isdale, Principal McLachlan calls it “organized chaos” and “good learning”. He goes on to say “The idea was just to stop saying no, we didn’t say ‘you can’t do that’ we just turned a blind eye, and over a period of time we turned a blind eye to everything because actually, nothing that the kids were doing was a problem.” He goes on to explain that it is a good place and time to learn “risk management”.

The surprising result, was the children “helping each other, being careful, considerate, cooperative. No one was using iPods, Smart phones or game consoles, they are not banned, but the kids seemed too busy for technology”, stated Dani Isdale in her report. See video below

Another example is Ian Mikardo High School for “unteachable” boys where you “Come with a past and leave with a future”. According to an article in The Guardian.com, the school says “Here there are no uniforms, no rules, no physical restraint, no bars, no isolation rooms, no detentions, no punishment. Everyone is on first name terms – staff and students. If you swear (the boys do, a lot), you will be challenged (“Language please!”) but there are no sanctions; if you walk out of class no one will force you back in, if you get in to a fight, a member of staff will intervene if it looks like someone is going to get hurt, but you won’t get excluded.”

The model seems to be working as the school touts that 97% of its graduates in the last three years “have gone on to further education, employment or training and no one has found their way into custody in the past seven years. They make ‘outstanding’ educational progress and leave with a range of vocational and academic qualifications.”

These schools may really be on to something with these types of models, as psychology is finally admitting that modeling empathetic behavior triggers others to model the same, and that overprotecting children by forcing the safety issue constantly and not letting them experience rough play and the results of it, is developmentally crippling to a child and causes the child undue stress and an inability to properly estimate and manage risk.

The end result will be that as these ideas begin to grow, we will experience a resurgence of educated, confident, well mannered, risk taking leaders in the future; a bright future indeed.

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