Saturday, May 24, 2008

Summerhill, Teaching Theory, and Accepted

Summerhill is a school founded in the UK in 1921. It could be said to have begun the "child centered" education movement. Children at Summerhill were not required to attend lessons, and could choose to take only the classes that interested them.

Almost simultaneously with reading about Summerhill, I happened to watch the 2006 Justin Long flick Accepted. Long plays world-wise but grade-average Bartleby Gaines, who strives to find parental and societal acceptance by forging documents showing him to have been accepted into a local college. In the process of convincing his WASPish parental units of the legitimacy of the school, he and societally challenged brainy friend Sherman Schrader (Jonah Hill) accidentally create physical facilities and accept hundreds of students.

Accepted has uneven writing, varying from bad, b-movie-ish to excellent, and acting shows a similar range. The big innovation of the movie is a Summerhill-style student-led focus, only with fewer teachers. The second biggest innovation is Maria Thayer. I'm sure we'll be seeing much more of her in the near future. Two of five stars.


g bro said...

That's odd - a distant cousin of mine founded the Summer Hill Select School in 1876 in Omen, Texas.

Summer Hill Archives at SFA

J.R.Shirley said...

Huh. Does look like a different model, though. ;-)