Summerhill school is it possible in Aotearoa ??????? New Zealand ???????: Challenging the neo-liberal ideologies in our hegemonic schooling system
Peck, M. M. S. (2009). Summerhill school is it possible in Aotearoa ??????? New Zealand ???????: Challenging the neo-liberal ideologies in our hegemonic schooling system (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2794
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2794
The original purpose of this thesis is to explore the possibility of setting up a schoolin Aotearoa (New Zealand) that operates according to the principles andphilosophies of Summerhill School in Suffolk, England. An examination ofSummerhill School is therefore the purpose of this study, particularly because of itscommitment to self-regulation and direct democracy for children. My argumentwithin this study is that Summerhill presents precisely the type of model Māori asTangata Whenua (Indigenous people of Aotearoa) need in our design of analternative schooling programme, given that self-regulation and direct democracyare traits conducive to achieving Tino Rangitiratanga (Self-government, autonomyand control). In claiming this however, not only would Tangata Whenua benefitfrom this model of schooling; indeed it has the potential to serve the purpose of allpeople regardless of age race or gender. At present, no school in Aotearoa hasreplicated Summerhill's principles and philosophies in their entirety.Given the constraints of a Master's thesis, this piece of work is therefore onlyintended as a theoretical background study for a much larger kaupapa (purpose). Itis my intention to produce a further and more comprehensive study in the futureusing Summerhill as a vehicle to initiate a model school in Aotearoa that iscompletely antithetical to the dominant neo-liberal philosophy of our age. To thisend, my study intends to demonstrate how neo-liberal schooling is universallydictated by global money market trends, and how it is an ideology fueled by theindifferent acceptance of the general population. In other words, neo-liberal theoryis a theory of capitalist colonisation.In order to address the long term vision, this project will be comprised of two majorcomponents. The first will be a study of the principal philosophies that governSummerhill School. As I will argue, Summerhill creates an environment that isuniquely successful and fulfilling for the children who attend. At the same time, itwill also be shown how it is a philosophy that is entirely contrary to a neo-liberal3mindset; an antidote, to a certain extent, to the ills of contemporary schooling. Thesecond component will address the historical movement of schooling in Aotearoasince the Labour Party's landslide victory in 1984, and how the New ZealandCurriculum has been affected by these changes. I intend to trace the importation ofneo-liberal methodologies into Aotearoa such as the 'Picot Taskforce,''Tomorrows Schools' and 'Bulk Funding,' to name but a few. The neo-liberalideologies that have swept through this country in the last two decades haverelentlessly metamorphosised departments into businesses and forced ministriesinto the marketplace, hence causing the 'ideological reduction of education' andconfining it to the parameters of schooling.The purpose of this research project is to act as a catalyst for the ultimatematerialization of an original vision; the implementation of a school likeSummerhill in Aotearoa. A study of the neo-liberal ideologies that currentlydominate this country is imperative in order to understand the current schoolingsituation in Aotearoa and create an informed comparison between the 'learning forfreedom' style of Summerhill and the 'learning to earn' style of our status quoschools. It is my hope to strengthen the argument in favour of Summerhillphilosophy by offering an understanding of the difference between the twocompletely opposing methods of learning.
The University of Waikato
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