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[xmca] Fwd: SEcond note: John Dewey school at Towson Maryland

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Derek Patton <derekpatton19@gmail.com>
Date: 2011/7/29
Subject: RE: John Dewey school at Towson Maryland
To: lchcmike@gmail.com

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Dear Mike,****

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Yes of course, please feel free to share my email.****

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Thanks for your response. I usually don’t bother people like you, whom I
imagine are so so busy to pick up anything additional, but something nagged
my unconscious I suppose, and I am so glad to have offered something useful
and therefore please pass it on to whomever it might help. My Quaker
upbringing tells me to listen to the Inner Light and sometimes I interpret
usefully (I won’t say “correctly”). ****

** **

I will add a few bits about the Experimental elementary school, Lida Lee
Tall, for those who may be interested, and you can post this too. If anyone
wants to contact me, you can also share my email address.****

** **

Lida Lee Tall, taught to be active citizens, using participative
 “democracy” where we had elections for class officers every few months so
everyone had a better chance of being one, but we actually had a treasurer
who collected real money for real class projects. I remember the school
“giving us” access to some woods next to the school where we planned and
executed woodland gardens and little landscape designs. Another one was the
trust license we all voted for each other in a secret ballot. The cute boy
at the centre of most trouble was inevitably scored the lowest since his
trouble making got all of us in trouble. Any mess about the place at the end
of the day, the WHOLE class stayed to clean up. Group social responsibility
quickly leads to the group disciplining its own members, not that we got
violent, just assertive. Interestingly, just like a school you mention in
the article, a number of us have reminisced about being unable to spell. For
me, I had a remedial specialist test me and was astounded to find the huge
and to her unique divergence of my spelling and composition ability at
3rdgrade level, and my reading comprehension at 11
th grade level. Partly due to my parents allowing only 1 hour of TV per
week, except for specials like National Geographic, or an important Orioles
baseball game or Colts football game. My father would additionally
demonstrate how the commercials were subtly trying to influence us and
dramatically would pretend to stuff the tube of toothpaste back down the
presenter’s throat. This was memorable, great fun, and we have all been as
immune as one could get of such influences.****

** **

Reflecting on my own childhood, I am sure I did not have an ordinary
upbringing where I not only had a progressive school, but other ‘training’
in how to think, such as the Quaker bible study classes before our one hour
silent meditation meeting, where we sat around in a small group and the so
called teacher would give us some things to think about from some text, but
never told us what to think or the passage’s official “meaning”. These
things were always up for discussion. I had a home dad who had his
photographic studio there, and a black ****Baltimore**** grandmother during
the work week, while my “white” (but part Cherokee) mother practiced her
child psychiatry trade. Least people think that my black mother was treated
as a servant and nanny, although I suspect she acted somewhat that way,
remember this was a Quaker household where we prided ourselves on our
underground railroad ancestors troublemaking. Evelyn sat at the head of the
table as the “elder” and we boys cleared and washed up. My father sat across
from us 3 boys partly to be able to stare down any shenanigans. My white
mother would almost always show up late from downtown and take the corner
next to Dad. She had instructed Evelyn that she didn’t really care if the
house was dirty, the laundry undone and dinner was out of a can, if we boys
needed attention, a story or whatever, that was number one priority. So when
people talk about the “culture” a child is raised in,  I was already on the
road to multicultural mix-up just in my home. Then add to that summers in
Canada at a First Nations inspired summer camp from 8 – 17 years old where
we had all the wilderness craft plus council fire which the “Chief” did in a
native language, (he was also a Johns Hopkins child psychiatrist classmate
of my mother), then you have a real “mixed up kid”, except in fact it all
made complete sense to me.  ****

After marching on Washington with Martin Luther King in 1963 at the age of
13 (yes, militant Quakers allow their children into the battle)  I went off
to a 4 year Quaker boarding school (Westtown) outside Phili, and then a
Quaker University in Indiana, (Earlham College), and getting up to other
such 60s militant efforts (most people think that “militant pacifist” is a
contradiction but my father’s hero was Gandhi ), with the resulting violent
reactions in the later 60s, I decided to be more subtle, as many of my
African American classmates did.****

** **

When I entered into the “normal” work world to find that actually very few
people really knew how to think clearly about almost anything except how to
make money, keep power, or use psychology to sell us junk.****

** **

So more power to anyone trying to change this. I now satisfy myself with the
more acceptable but ultimately subversive ways of unseating the power
brokers with my research into how to teach children to think, independently
and creatively.****

** **

Here in ****Australia****, the ordinary person who rises up to challenge the
system is honourable called and remembered as a “stirrer”. The way they say
it in their broad open vowels is a wonder to behold. I love it.****

** **

Bless you all for your dedication to improving things for the future

** **



*From:* mike cole [mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com]
*Sent:* Saturday, 30 July 2011 1:22 PM
*To:* derekpatton19
*Subject:* Re: John Dewey school at ****Towson** **Maryland********

** **

Oh, what a beautiful gift. So the article sparked a very good idea.

Would it be ok if I posted this message to XMCA, the discussion group we
engage in around ideas in the domain of that article. I think it would be a
wide and sympathetic net you would be throwing your story in to. Perhaps one
of the talented people there can pick it up and find way to document the
long life and causes of death of such an interesting and worthwhile


n Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM, derekpatton19 <derekpatton19@gmail.com>

Dear Michael,

Hi. Just read your 2010 What's culture got to do with it? article, very
good, and thanks for picking up on Sarason's long campaign.

You may not know that there was an extremely innovative primary school based
partly on John Dewey philosophy that operated within the campus of Towson
State Teachers College, now Towson University in Towson Maryland which
started in 1866 and may have closed about 1990 or so, named first the
Laboratory school, then Model school, and eventually called Lida Lee Tall,
after a renowned College Principal. We have a Facebook group of ex-students,
and I have been trying to find if anyone within the University did research
on this school or other accounts. Could do some retrospective if we had
enough graduates and matched them (us) with graduates of local schools.
There is an online free history book up to 1941 that has a chapter on the "*
***Laboratory** **School****: Children on Campus" at this address:

My mother who was an MD Johns Hopkins U graduate told me it was a John Dewey
school, and that was why we were all sent there.
Anyway, I went there as did my 2 brothers in the 50s and now that I know a
lot more about school culture and learning, I realize how exceptional it
was. We basically escaped Baltimore County school system restrictions and
limitations and because the College was considered "expert" in how to run a
school, being the main trainer of teachers and originally  was the "highest
authority in the State on all educational theories and practices within the
sphere of the public school system." p. 86. I am not sure when some
bureaucrats hijacked this ideal situation, but in my time as a student they
got away with doing much differently than the county schools. They sent
faculty off to study under Dewey, Frank McMurry and William Bagley. The book
says at one point they considered that children from 6 - 10 "should do all
their work within school hours. Home lessons for such children are an injury
to the home, to the school, to the child and to the teacher." p. 86, and
"children learn by *doing  *more than by merely looking and saying...It has
been proposed of late to make both reading and writing the subordinate
instruments of a scheme of real instruction...An acquaintance with
*things *takes
precedence over more verbal instruction." (Allen's *Mind Studies  *was one
of the books listed for the teachers.) p. 87
Teachers were trained in:
"principles of all true teaching are emphasized: means of securing the
attention of the pupils and the power to keep them busy are dwelt upon."
"They are taught to trace here the effect back to cause, to note the
processes of the development of the subject in the minds of the several
children, and to form their own laws for the same; to study closely the
relationship existing between pupil and teacher, the influence of the
teacher upon the mind and habits of the pupil, and the cause of this
influence, etc. The students (student teachers) report upon their
observations, inferences, etc., in a conference help weekly, conducted the
the teacher in charge of this department."

Anyway, maybe you have academic contacts in ****Maryland**** or nearby who
would be interested in this. Given the length of time they did innovative
things, one would think there is some evidence around in the form of long
term outcomes such as the lives of those who were students there. The school
also did a lot of testing of students, which one would hope is stored
somewhere. It could be a gold mine sitting there right within a university's
ownership waiting to be tapped. One problem of course is the question of
what the actual curriculum and practice were at different times, and then
what were the results of that on the children compared to other schools. I
tried emailing someone in the University, but it seems this didn't attract
any attention. All that happened was finding this free book online of the
first 75 years of the teachers college.

just a thought,


Derek W Patton 白登德 M.Ed, PGDip
Child & Family Psychologist, reg NZ
PhD candidate U Melbourne

(current primary mailing address)
****146 Queensberry Street****,
**Carlton** 3053 ****Victoria**, **AUSTRALIA****

**University** of **Melbourne**,
****Melbourne** **Graduate** **School**** of Education
****100 Leicester Street****, Level 2
**Victoria** 3010 ****AUSTRALIA****    d.patton@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au

+61 (3) 9035 5381 <%2B61%20%283%29%209035%205381> work office
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primary email: derekpatton19@gmail.com

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