Summerhill: The glorified project of disastrous educational ideologues. At the beginning of the 1970s, left-wing educators and parents flocked massively to Summerhill – like a religious place of pilgrimage – and cheered the ”pedagogical-revolutionary” orientation of this human experiment, without even having the slightest idea about its later consequences.
In contrast to traditional schools, the absolute freedom of the pupils is the focus of Summerhill. Participation in lessons in Summerhill was voluntary. The students presented the learning contents themselves. There were no classes, not even a student’s year.
The inventor of this human experiment, A.A. Neill, assumed that children want to learn and then are also hardworking. Since only interested pupils participate in the classroom, this is more effective according to Neill. The learning climate is more pleasant.
But in reality, his assumptions were a mishap of unidentified ideological educational ideas, which had delusionally spread in Summerhill and then copied in hundreds of schools in Europe and the USA.
Discipline, frustration tolerance, learning of substances that are not necessarily fun, but essential, examinations and grades: all this was discriminated as ”reactionary pedagogy” and was therefore non existent in Summerhill.
Summerhill was more like a never ending playground for children, that as Summerhill students later reported, did not support their future life in society, but on the contrary almost made it impossible.
Because real life is not a playground. It is a daily tough challenge, in which problems must be solved in an steadfast way, in which also things which one does not necessarily like or love must always be done – but which are necessary.
The ideologists who were allowed to play ”God” in Summerhill (the favorite game of all ideologists ), prepared the children on nothing in which they would face in later life.
On the principles of Summerhill, by the way, today’s gender programs of Swedish school pedagogy are developed.