Lord of the Flies

Apparently they are planning a reality TV show that might be named “Kids Nation” where 40 children are allowed to develop their own society for 40 days. The claims are that there is “no parental supervision”, but of course with many TV cameras watching I’m sure that even the most stupid children can work out that there are reasons to behave relatively well. Also I’m sure that they will remove children from the show if it becomes necessary to avoid injury.

It will be interesting to see how well this develops. Maybe it could evolve into a new form of schooling, just leave children alone in a school with lots of security cameras watching them and let them study or not as they wish. It would be cheaper than running a regular high-school, and as there is little scope for providing a worse education than many (most?) high-schools currently provide it should be worth a try.

For a long time I have thought that the premise behind The Lord of the Flies was bogus. I believe that a major contributing factor towards much of the violence that is present in schools is the pointlessness of the entire system. There are very few students who are so stupid that they can’t realise that the education system is failing them. Whenever you put a large number of people in a confined space with nothing useful to do the results will be bad. If a group of students from a violent school were placed on an island without any supplies then I’m sure that they would soon realise that they need to cooperate to stay alive.

It seems that the Sudbury Valley school implements some ideas similar to mine. They also have a page of links to some other schools that do similar things.

4 comments to Lord of the Flies

  • Anonymous

    The Sudbury Valley model is not that dissimilar to what you describe. Management is all adults, but participation in most of the management constructs is voluntary unless you’ve infringed on the natural rights of others. They were founded in 1968 and have yet to encounter many of the learning problems common to compulsory environments, such as dyslexia. I think they’ve expelled less than five students in their entire history.

  • […] husband pointed me to this article, which I happen to agree with. I’m a homeschooler who is an advocate of independent learning […]

  • Judy

    Sudbury is an interesting place. It was very good in some ways for my child. It must be noted that this model is not the best for all children. It has its own problems…as does everything.

  • etbe

    Judy: While I agree in concept that different children may have slightly different requirements in terms of education, I don’t think that this is any serious criticism of any particular non-mainstream education method. The default education that children get resembles a prison in many ways, being better than that is quite easy.

    Any sane person who doesn’t hate their school should consider themself very fortunate.