The SDE Facilitation Relationship

The Sudbury staff member/SDE facilitator, is not an ‘authority’ figure in the way that teachers are generally authority figures. They do not presume that they know, or need to know, more than young community members about any subject at hand. They do not make the decisions and rules – although they do speak out loud and clear and bring the full wisdom of their perspective to discussions about decision-making and rule making, and they vote with honesty and transparency. They neither control young people nor humour them by pretending to be less than they are. They are not clever manipulators who steer kids down pre-determined learning paths in ways that the kids will be tricked into thinking are their own. They are respectful full human beings interacting respectfully with other full human beings of various ages. They have committed their time to keeping the learning community space functional and sustainable. They are culture-keepers and consultants. They are resource-finders and resource-suppliers and sometimes, also resources in themselves. They are nurturers and companions, sounding-boards and witnesses, buck-stops-here designated human safety-nets. They love being part of the community and consider it a privilege, not a chore. Sometimes they even get paid.

A good teacher does not draw out; he gives out, and what he gives out is love. And by love, I mean approval, or if you like, friendliness, good nature.

A.S. Neill

…the teacher becomes a friend. It’s as though a group of you are going somewhere unknown and you have a trustworthy friend, who also doesn’t know where you are going, but who could be useful. A comforting person to have around.

Sugata Mitra

And what I am really trying to say is that, the potential of the individual will only really occur in the context of safety.

Stephen Porges

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority” and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person” and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

Stimmy Abby

You can’t really love someone else unless you really love yourself first.

Fred Rogers

If children happen to learn from us, it’s because we model responsibility and competence and because we tell the truth when asked.

Aaron Browder, The Open School