Miriam's Reviews > Theorie und Praxis der antiautoritären Erziehung: Das Beispiel Summerhill

Theorie und Praxis der antiautoritären Erziehung by A.S. Neill
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's review
Feb 10, 2012

really liked it
Recommended for: anyone intersted in educational science
Read from February 10 to 15, 2012

Stating my opinion towards this book is not very easy. First of all I have to say, that I can't express my thoughts on every topic of this book, so I'm just going to write about its language on the one hand an Neill's basic assumption on education on the other hand.

I read this book in German and I read it for university as I am studying Educational Science. Its language is very easy. As Neill uses everday language, it was not hard to follow his outlinings and as he gives a lot of examples throughout the whole book whenever it comes to theoretical ideas, understanding was not a problem at all. During the reading process you more or less get the impression of listening to an old, but fully awake and wise man, sitting in his comfortable armchair near a fireplace, talking about his view on life, society and education. The speed is very relaxed, a bit too relaxed at time because some parts and points of argumentation seem to come up at several parts of the book.

Without any question, this book must have been very revolutionary in 1960. Nevertheless I have to admit, that even though Neill's basic assumptions seem true to me and his plea for loving instead of forcing education is more or less recognised and put into practice today, parts of this book have become obsolete.
Especially the point of non-existing sexual education leading to hate and compensation, that seems to come up every second page, was rather uninteresting for me. And as this is an everyday topic in our society nowadays and something you can easily get access to, its relevance is not as big anymore as it used to be. Also I doubt that non-existing sexual education is always the reason for psychological problems in every way. The same goes for too strict, forcing education: As big as the problem was back in 1960, Neill completely forgets about the opposite: Parents who do not care at all for their children are never mentioned, even though this problem becomes bigger in today's society.

But this is only a small part of the topics Neill deals with in his book.
All in all, I have to say, that Summerhill. A Radical Approach to Childrearing is definitely worth a read if you are interested in the topic. It gives an excellent overview on anti-authoritarian upbringing as well as on society back in the 60s. Neill's thinking is extreme, but you can be sure to find some truth and good ideas in his works.

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02/10/2012 page 44
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