Sharing Summerhill with students from the faculty of education of Málaga

Hi people!!
Id like to keep going spreading everything I learned from Summerhill. This project is so easy, and simple, but sometimes less is more!!

Id like to create a chat, below the map, where pupils from my subjet can share what they have learned from Summerhill, and what would they add to their teacher´s identity.

Advices from any Summerhill´s friend, for those who are building the kind of teacher they are going to be, are welcome!!

11 thoughts on “Sharing Summerhill with students from the faculty of education of Málaga

  1. Hello to the Summerhill community !

    We view Summerhill as a vehicle to promote social change accompanied with independent individuals ready to embark on their own beautiful journeys and we would have truly loved to receive a similar education.

    Freedom is sacred. Despite this, we view freedom as the opposite to the norms already established by our society and this is essentially not the right way to think of freedom but rather ,how Summerhill creates and constructs this freedom in a democratic community. Freedom must have a certain structure and it must be conscious; not anarchy. We must utilise this freedom in a way where we also have in mind the collective, not just ourselves and this is something that Summerhill creates. Inside this freedom we can see how children grow to believe in themselves and develop their interests and passions accordingly.

    Another point which we found incredibly important is the fact that Summerhill does not want to develop just the mind in order to achieve academic standards. Summerhill helps individuals get to know themselves from their hearts and souls in order to be ready for life, not just your future work which is what we find in traditional education.

    As mentioned at the beginning, Summerhill is a rebellious tool that breaks down social hierarchies which we see in our every day lives. Everyone is treated as equals and with the same level of respect. We can clearly see that in Summerhill they honour this aspect to the fullest, creating a harmonious environment for children to learn in.

    This is what we gathered from Summerhill and we truly hope that this can be a widespread education available to everyone!

  2. Francesca Bonnemaison (Rocío Arcos Domingo, Ana Escot Calderón, Paula García Almendros, Paula Gómez García, Lucía González Chaves and Gloria Mata Serrano) says:

    Hello everyone, my group and I wanted to share with you some of the aspects that have caught our attention about the Summerhill Democratic School.

    First of all, we found it very interesting that Summerhill is a school that is guided more by feelings than by thoughts. It is a school in which children are intended to be free and feel free to learn. This together with his approach to develop a person completely and not only focusing on their academic side seems to us a most positive aspect. Perhaps, if we focus on this type of development so complete where personal and social skills are also taken into account, the academic learning of the child would improve.

    Another point that we think is very remarkable is the freedom that students have in the classroom. Within all the resources and knowledge that the teacher has prepared to teach in class, students are free to choose between them and decide which one they want to learn first. In addition, we like that students feel like they are at home. We find it a very positive aspect since they will not feel pressured, for example, to sit properly or dress formally. We believe that the fact that children feel comfortable leads to better learning.

    As future teachers, one idea of ​​Summerhill that we get is to choose the norms of class and the punishments for those who do not comply with them students and teachers together. In this way the students will understand and comply with them because they agree with them and not because they are forced to. In addition, we believe that it helps to create a more positive environment in the classroom.

    Last but not least, we wanted to highlight the role of the teacher in the classroom. In Summerhill there is no authority figure and many people do not understand how this can be possible. We are clear that the figure of the teacher in the classroom is very important, but this does not mean that they are superior to the students. This is what they intend to convey there, hopefully the mentality that exists there will expand and hopefully everyone can choose to study in a school like this if they want to.

    We hope that our contribution is interesting. Greetings!!

  3. Hello everyone!
    Summerhill has been for us a before and after in the understanding of education. Some of us had dreamt of a school with ideal characteristics that we thought impossible to carry out until we studied the Summerhill school.

    We fell in love with the objective of this school: promote the happiness and self-development among students. It was really surprising for us that books or exams weren’t the most important thing, instead children are the protagonists there. We believe that is the key to promote an alternative education, since understanding they are the main characters will make us do our best to promote children’s development and freedom, through democracy, in order to increase their happiness and make them learn as much as possible.

    Besides, recalling children are the most important ones in education has made us understand both: on the one side, that children deserve the right to choose their learning and own education, and that we teachers must do our best to make them learn as much as possible through that freedom which promotes their happiness, curiosity, creativity and self-development.

    And not just that, promoting the freedom among children, while having some rules (a bunch of them to be more precise) but still with no problem to let students do what they want to learn about, what makes democracy real.

    Also, it is curious to know that the school’s rules are chosen by everyone in assemblies and that no one has more power than anyone when making decisions, that is, an opinion of a 12-year-old child has the same value as the opinion of a teacher.
    It is a real dream come true to see that, even with the difficulties that it has had, it is still working; and that all of its students talk with such passion about their school.

    In summary, our group Elise Freinet consider this school as one of the pioneers within the democratic school movement and also the one which has really succeeded there, definitely, a role model school.

  4. Rosa Sensat (Laura Leiva, Soledad Mejías, Lucía Muñoz, Amaral Pozo, Claudia Rodríguez and Esperanza Vargas) says:

    Good afternoon, viewers!

    After having received information about the democratic school Summerhill, we have developed a different point of view from the school itself . Thus, the Rosa Sensat’s group has drawn the following conclusions.

    Firstly, the fact that learning is not based on didactic knowledge, but is related to experiences, has been a really impressive aspect to point out. In other words, instead of memorising theoretic content, they put it into practice.

    Second, the organisation of the school as a whole is based on the freedom of the student and their right to speak up and choose. According to Zoe, and that is something we also believe in, they give more importance to the children’s emotions than their academic abilities.

    Third, in this type of school, they do not have an authoritarian figure itself, but they all contribute to solve the problems as an organised and democratic group. However, it needs to be taken into account that there are certain rules that have to be followed.

    To conclude, as teachers-to-be, we would like to carry this kind of learning out in our future schools where children can develop their personal potential without focusing only on their intelectual skill.

    Thank you so much for reading.
    The group of Rosa Sensat.

  5. María Moliner: Marta Gelices de Andrés, Alba Amil Ríos, María Frías Blanco, Mª. Victoria García Gordo, Raquel Gallego Galiano. says:

    Good morning everyone!
    We are a group of five students, Marta Gelices, Alba Amil, Raquel Gallego, María Frías and Victoria García. After having talked with Pablo and our classmates about Summerhill, we all agree with aspects of this school that we would love to apply in our future as teachers:

    First of all, we have seen that children have a lot of freedom to choose the subjects they want to learn during the course, and also when they want to go to class. This also includes that in each subject they can choose the contents that they prefer to study. This is an aspect that we consider essential, because we think that it could be useful for the kids to feel motivated and not to see school as an obligation.
    We also value that this reality doesn’t include a lack of rules. We have to highight a phrase that Zoe said, that is that Summerhill is not an anarchy, actually it has more than 200 rules. That shows that it is not necessary an authoritarian figure at school if it exists a good organization.

    Another aspect we would love to spread between our future students is the familiar atmosphere and the distribution of the children all around the school. We believe that this type of distribution makes the kid relate school with their own house, and also that it doesn’t make the student think that to learn they have to be in an specific classroom, because one thing we have learnt here at the university is that the education is everywhere, and that we can learn from everything that surrounds us.

    Least but not last we would like to stand out is the fact that there is an assembly where kids can discuss the general problems of the school, which means that students take part in the organization of the school and they have the right to decide. With this kids feel involved and they feel that their opinion is fundamental.

    We have to thank our teacher Pablo for showing us his documental and for letting us learn from Summerhill. As future teachers it is essential for us to learn about all the methodologies, because little by little we have to create an idea of what kind of teachers we want to be, and also what kind of society we want to build. We have realised that Spain needs a change in the educational system, and Summerhill could be a great example to follow, as it is proved that these types of schools are useful. We don’t need to look for new methodologies as they exist. We just need to fight for their implementation, and invest for putting them in practise.

    Thank you again and we hope to visit Summerhill really really soon!
    Working group: María Moliner.

  6. María Zambrano (María Horodynska, Mario López, Isabel Marín, Luis Miguel Monedero y Cristina Núñez)) says:

    Hello, everyone! Our team’s name is María Zambrano and we want to take advantage of this comment section to highlight everything we saw and were interested in Summerhill’s methodology. Besides, we would like to adapt this methodology when we become teachers in the future.
    There are a lot of elements that caught our attention and that contrast with the system we grew up with. Because of that, we wanted to talk about the following elements:

    -The conception of freedom promoted to students. It is very inquisitive for us that the students themselves can learn from their own interests and we find that as a positive initiative that motivates them and keeps them focused in experiential learning. Furthermore, each class is ubicated in a different hut, leading to separate classes, making every kid go to the class he or she wants.

    -The scholar organization that takes place despite the freedom they live with. for instance: the keychains that symbolise each student, make clear the rule system and responsibilities they follow, being able to develop correctly their scholar life.

    -The omission of the authoritative figure of teachers. Firstly, it is reflected in the capacity of the school to take democracy to their organization such as having assemblies where everyone’s voices matter. On the other hand, they also have control over the student’s freedom, without going near to an anarchy since they have over 200 rules. To sum up, we could say that this reflects the necessity of having an understanding code.

    -The environment that surrounds the school, filled with nature, several leisure’s sites and everything structured in an unique, creative and dynamic way. It is a place where you can be comfortable accompanied by a familiar scent.

    Summerhill seems as a system that, for the first time, focuses its attention on students, on their own learning and on their development as individuals. So, we find a model that finally brings to the individual the values necessary to grow as a person and adapt to society, both knowing himself and knowing the rest.

  7. María Montessori (Paula Benavente, Nuria Bouteldja, Lucía Moreno, Lucía López, Ángela Ortega and Miriam Vicaria) says:

    Hello class!!! Our group, Maria Montessori, wants to talk about the main things that have caught our attention about this democratic school that seems to have a lot of differences with the methodologies we are used to know.

    Firstly, we are going to highlight the fact that the students get to live in the school, they sleep in one of the buildings and eat at the canteen all together. It’s interesting how they all live together as a family and how they, usually, get to see their real families just on some occasions during the year, especially on holidays.
    There are children of all ages in this school, nevertheless, they share the same experiences together and they get to help each other with their studies or with whatever they need, actually.

    Another aspect that we want to emphasize is that children choose what they want to study and how they want to do it. We are used to being given what we have to do, it’s that or we are told that our future won’t be as good as it should be. However, they can pick what they like the most between all the subjects and, once they are in one of them, they select the part that they want to learn and how they want to approach it and if they want to go to a college and study for it, being all of this allowed by the teachers.

    One more aspect that we want to talk about is that the teachers working in this school are the same as their students in all aspects. They don’t stand out above the children, and they normally try to be friendly with all of them.
    They treat them as if they are just like them and not as kids, the respect there is the same to everyone and being the youngest one doesn’t mean that you are less than the rest.

    Finally, we can not leave without mentioning the fact that, in this school, the learning process grows from children’s interest and wellbeing. This has been demonstrated to be a decisive aspect not only in student’s motivation, but also in educational results. Due to that, we ask ourselves why so many schools tend to continue underestimating children´s willingness with regards to their education.

    Thank you for your attention!!

  8. Grupo Hipatia de Alejandría: Mara Anaya, María Cuevas, María Espinosa, Teresa González says:

    Hello! Our group is Hipatia de Alejandría and we wanted to share with you our reflections about the democratic school of Summerhill.

    One of the things that caught the most attention was its values as it has the principles beyond which they treated their students and perceived the education itself. Promoting happiness was actually a priority, it was one of the most important goals to achieve in education, not passing standard exams for proving your own value to the entire community. As far as we have interpreted, they firmly believe in the natural kindness of people so, in order to promote a healthy educational environment, they defended love and respect as the basis of coexistence. How marvelous could that be? Actually caring about the student’s environment is something that here, in Spain, we need to work on.
    It would be also convenient to point out the fact that they consider sexuality and corporeality as an essential part of kids’ development as human beings and future adults. With this point, we are already able to prove the maturity of this system in comparison with ours.

    Another thing that we adored about this school was the freedom that there is inside it. By freedom we do not mean that there are no rules, of course, there are, like in any place. But we mean that students have the opportunity to choose which subjects they want to study, the ones in which they are more interested in. This is extremely beneficial for both students and teachers. For students because as they choose what they want to learn, they are more motivated and they learn more, as well as the fact that they do not get bored or get stressed out studying subjects they dislike. As a consequence for teachers, it is easier for them to teach their students as they are more motivated and focus on what they are learning.

    It really amazed us the fact that the relationship between teachers and students doesn’t look like the one we are used to. Teachers are not an authoritarian figure for the students, what’s more, they are considered as equals.

    Thank you all for sharing your comments and reading ours as well.

  9. Ernestina Otero ( Aurora Bravo, Ana Isabel Collantes, Candela Cordero, Carmen Escobedo y Carmen Ramírez) says:

    Hi! We are Ernestina Otero and we wanted to share with you our reflections about the democratic school of Summerhill. After looking for some information about this school, we agree that many aspects are remarkable for all of us:

    The first thing we want to focus on, as many classmates, is freedom. We know that Summerhill wants the kids to grow as a person and also they want to encourage their highest potential and to be curious to learn. To achieve this, the school offers them the freedom to choose what they really want to study, respecting their own learning rhythm and always leaving the pressure out to let them acquire the knowledge established by the school curriculum. The learnings they acquire, regardless of the area to which they belong, are based on communication, responsibility, compassion and respect for others. An important aspect of this point is that this school defends the personal freedom of each student, this means that they are free to make choices about various aspects as long as their choices don’t negatively affect the other people in the community and they follow the rules that the school itself establishes.

    This centre values the student ‘s opinion. Education is for everyone so everyone must participate in its formation. Everybody goes to the assemblies where they debate on some of the matters of the school such as the creation of rules and its organization. Every contribution is acceptable, the different contributions and ideas are not judged by the person who says them and their hierarchical place in the school but for the value the argument offers.

    Another factor that has surprised us is the use they make of the space. It breaks with traditional education by opening the space for the students to develop their full potential. Classrooms are open spaces where children can have a free learning and focus on what interests them most. In contradistinction to Spain, they don’t have to sit at their desks all day, they are free to move and sit wherever they want. There are common areas where they can socialize and spend time together between classes.

    The main objective the Summerhill school has is to create happy, cheerful, respectful boys and girls, brave in the face of life, workers, people with a great capacity to live everyday in an independent way.

  10. María de Maeztu (Alba Mora, Ana Manso, Sara Gutiérrez, Nerea González and Nicolás Pin) says:

    Hi everyone!

    After hearing about this school quite a lot during this academic year, we want to talk about the elements that we like the most or that catch our attention.

    We have heard a lot about this school, from a presentation by classmates, a forum or class discussion to dedicating a whole class to it. We have been lucky enough to get to know and see Summerhill from different perspectives, even from the inside thanks to a video that our teacher recorded there.

    In terms of the elements that have caught our attention the most we want to highlight the following:

    – In spite of being a free and very democratic school, it has rules. However, the children have freedom of movement, choice and tastes. This means that the children can choose which subject they want to study and what they are interested in. Even within the subject itself they can choose what they like about it. For example, a child who takes language and literature but doesn’t like literature, that child’s learning will be focused on what he or she likes.

    – We also quite liked the spaces that are used. By this we mean that each subject has its own space and that they even have different rooms such as a piano room, recording studio… This makes the subject develop better, compared to how it would be in a classroom where all the subjects are taught.

    – The more practical subjects are based on experiments, projects… For example, if the children are interested in explosives, in physics class they will create small explosives for them to experiment and see how they react.

    – We also liked that they are democratic, there is no management. Decisions are made by everyone through assemblies, in which teachers, pupils and all the members of the school participate. Everyone gives their opinion, from a 7 year old child to the oldest person, without giving more power or importance to one than to another. This also makes the children grow up in an environment where they feel empowered and have a voice to change what they do not see as fair or normal.

  11. Hello everyone! We are a group of students from the University of Málaga (Spain). Our group name is Clara Campoamor and it is composed by Paula Gutiérrez Montiel, Pablo López Mannion, Claudia Mª Navarro Rodríguez, Violeta Pérez Garcerán, Lucía Moya García and Ana Ríos García. We have researched Summerhill because our professor went there to record a report. We are glad about all the things that we have discovered about Summerhill and we wanted to comment on them here.

    First of all, we think it’s very good that the priority at Summerhill is for the student body to have their emotional needs met. Regarding this topic, I believe that emotional intelligence should be taught in schools, because I consider that knowing our emotions and learning to control them is essential in our development and functioning as human beings. At Summerhill they take care that their students develop skills such as communication, responsibility, compassion, respect. In addition, we believe that the development of these capacities should be encouraged at school. On the one hand, because they will be the bases on which they will learn. On the other hand, because it will help them to grow as responsible and autonomous people, who know themselves, therefore, they will choose their professional path correctly. Compared to the traditional school, which is very oriented to transmitting knowledge, we see how everything else tends to take a backseat.

    Currently, we live what is known as titulitis, everyone has academic degrees, as if they guaranteed a stable future or even having learned. I believe that the pressure to obtain degrees is exerted since childhood with schedules full of extracurricular activities, homework and exam preparation. The child is saturated with that amount of information so that he has no spare time to find what he wants. When this takes away time to play, have fun, imagine … then there is a problem. We think Summerhill has solved this problem, since the focus on their children to learn emotional intelligence.

    For Neill, citizens of a democratic society must learn to make decisions democratically from a young age. At Summerhill, there are two weekly assemblies, where everyone has a voice and a vote. On the one hand, there is the general assembly, where everyday matters are discussed and whether to include new rules is assessed. On the other, the court, where specific cases are examined. We think this is very important, because it is a preparation for life, as school is life.

    When you are interested about what you are studying, it is easier to keep on learning. Definitely something that is very important to us. Why would we be studying compulsory physics until we are in third of ESO if we are not interested in them? If we are truly interested in art, why are we not able to study it? Getting to choose what you want to study is essential for children if you do not want them to get bored in class. We all should have the opportunity to choose what we want to study.

    We also find it very interesting that Summerhill looks through the heart and not through the head of their students. Summerhill wants their students to really get to know themselves and not to adapt to an academic environment that will help them nothing in real life. We should be proud of who we are and what we like, so it is very important what this school supports, learning what you

    One important aspect about Summerhill is that the artistic area has the importance it deserves. We think that having a space destined to play instruments or a recording space is awesome. There children can develop their abilities without being out of school. We are used to that in traditional schools, artistics subjects such as music or visual arts are in a secondary role, and if students are interested in those fields, they have to look for extracurricular classes.

    People use to think that this type of school are mostly experiments but there is not the reality. Summerhill has been working in this way more than a hundred years, that is because those methodologies work in a correct way and the results with the children are fantastic.

    This school is an example of how the educatoion can be changed. This require an extra effort for both, teacher and children, and also the families, because they have to change their concept of school and education.They have been theached in a traditional way and meybe it is complicated to understand that this way is not the only one and neather the best one. But that does not care if we see the results and how the learning is developed in a different way thjat gives to the children the oportunity of choose.

    It is not that children do what they want, they are children not adults. But you have to give them the same respect that you receive from them. Summerhill is not anarchism, because there is a controlled environment and 200 rules, but they are given personal freedom. A freedom for them to express themselves and learn quickly and with pleasure. A middle point between studying in a compulsory way and doing what everyone wants. It is more that each child studies and learns as he likes without pressure and in a freer way, but without having absolute freedom.

    And this especially is an idea that we really liked, since we consider that this is the best way in which a child can learn. As they say, if you do something forced, even if you like it at first, in the end you end up hating it. That’s why we like this idea, because if a child studies and learns the way he likes, he will never come to hate learning new things.

    Thanks for reading!

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