For further information about any TCS event, contact TCS at:
Excellent, entertaining, experienced speakers are available to give
presentations and workshops on a wide variety of TCS-related subjects, to a
wide range of audiences. The following examples are not a complete list. If
you would like a TCS speaker on one of the following issues or some other,
contact TCS at:
Taking Children Seriously: The Final Phase of the Enlightenment
By “the Enlightenment” I mean the emergence of reason in the conduct of human affairs, instead of force and blind obedience to tradition. In the public sphere, the Enlightenment has been characterised by two rapid evolutionary processes. One is the successive emancipation of various groups, such as slaves, non-property owners, and women. The other is the emergence of sophisticated liberty-enhancing institutions in politics, law and the economy. In contrast, the Enlightenment in the private sphere is still in its earliest stages. Whilst there have been some knock-on improvements in the conduct of personal relationships between adults, the one thing that has been painfully absent so far is any genuine emergence of reason in regard to education and children. There were Enlightenment thinkers in the eighteenth century – particularly William Godwin – who understood the interdependence between the public and private aspects of liberty. Godwin and Rousseau both attempted to extend the Enlightenment to children, but Rousseau was horribly wrong-headed and Godwin lost heart and was ignored. In any case, one way or another, there has been virtually no progress in this area, until now.
TCS (Taking Children Seriously) is an educational philosophy whose most distinctive feature is the idea that it is possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults. At its root, TCS is about the application of reason, and a rationally defensible morality, to our own personalities. This is not merely the completion of the Enlightenment, the final great loose end to be tied up: the task is different in kind, and inherently more difficult, than bringing reason to external, impersonal rules of interaction. So why should we bother? Why complicate the pursuit of liberty with consideration of private and subjective issues? Because, firstly, our inner lives are where we live, and where our freedom (or its absence) is experienced. And secondly, because freedom is indivisible and so is reason; and there comes a point when neither can be advanced much further by merely rationalising public policy. Just as the Enlightenment opened up a whole new vista of inconceivable progress, so TCS is the key to even greater vistas. The future of liberty is TCS.
Inlaws, Outlaws, and Well-Intentioned Friends
When you don't send your children to school, you attract attention. When you eschew traditional forms of education altogether, you are likely to find that your neighbours and relatives disapprove. If your children are a trifle unconventional, people will look at you as though you are from a different planet! Friends may try to steer you in a different direction for your own good. In this fun workshop, we will explore strategies for dealing with such disapproval, both in the privacy of our own minds and in our interactions with others. Led by someone with more experience of the radical edge than most, Sarah Fitz-Claridge, who says that it is quite possible to deal with these hurdles without any unpleasantness or any betrayal of your children or your principles.
Child-rearing Without Coercion: An Introduction to TCS (Taking Children Seriously) Style Parenting
As unschoolers we have thought deeply about education and courageously stepped outside the mainstream in not making our children go to school. We have questioned many of the traditional assumptions about education. We have supported our children's interest-led learning in many different ways. But what about the unquestioned ideas we hold about parenting? Do parents need to coerce their children for their own good? If there is a disagreement must the outcome be either that the parent's will prevails or the child's? Is there no other way – a way that both parent and child might prefer? In this workshop, we shall question traditional assumptions about parenting and provide a positive, practical alternative to coercive conflict resolution. There is a better way!
How To Help Not Hinder Your Child's Interest-led Learning: A TCS (Taking Children Seriously) Perspective
Does child-led learning mean “Never Offer Never Refuse”? What's the problem with curriculum browsing or record keeping? Can learning be autonomous if living isn't? How can I tell whether my child's learning is interest-led? Help! – My child is showing signs of non-autonomous other-directed learning – what can I do about it? What can we do to help our children learn? In this workshop, Sarah Fitz-Claridge will demystify the idea of autonomous learning, and provide positive suggestions for how to help not hinder it.
What Parents Know that Isn't So
Taking Children Seriously (TCS) is in one sense a critique of the prevailing ideas about education and parenting. It has many surprising implications, which parents all over the world have found useful in their own parenting. Sarah Fitz-Claridge explores some of the ideas that are shared by most parents and yet are nevertheless false. Understanding why conventional ideas about parenting are mistaken strengthen's parents' resolve in their radical endeavour. Of interest to iconoclasts and anyone interested in questioning assumptions about parenting and education and children.
Why John Holt was right that schools are not and cannot be non-coercive, unless each child has a genuine choice about whether or not to attend. Why "“free schools"” like Summerhill and the Sudbury Valley School are not non-coercive. If you hope that it might be possible to set up a non-coercive school, you cannot afford to miss this. You may, after hearing what Sarah Fitz-Claridge has to say, choose to go ahead anyway, but at least you will be under no illusions about what you are doing!
Child-rearing Without Coercion: why parents feel compelled to coerce their children; why they need not feel that way; what common parenting practices are coercive and what is the positive alternative to coercion.
Taking Education Seriously: why freedom in the matter of academic study is inseparable from freedom in areas such as doing chores, bedtime, and everything else.
Challenging Everything: As unschoolers we've challenged the idea that school or school like activities are necessary. We have figured out how to trust and support our children's interests in many ways. But what about the unchallenged ideas we hold about what our children “should” do, be, say, imitate, own, or aspire for reasons other than their inherent value to their lives at this time and place? A session for experienced unschoolers.
The Problem of Parental Guilt: why parental guilt is bad for both parents and their children, and why parents should learn from their mistakes rather than beating themselves up for them. Includes guilt-busting ideas many parents find helpful.
The Psychology of Punishment: what is happening in the mind of the child being punished; the longterm ill-effects; why even the most subtle and “gentle” of punishments (such as time outs, making sad faces at children, and so-called “natural consequences”) are harmful; life without punishment.
Children's Rights: why the common arguments against according children the same legal rights as adults are mistaken
Child-led learning? Common mistakes to avoid if you are providing this form of education for your child.
Four Fallacious Arguments For the Elimination of Television
Time out – time off or serving time?
Taking Children Seriously
Parenting For The Future
Children: Pets? Possessions? People!
The Role of The Unschooling Parent
Taking Autonomy Seriously
Extreme Measures: Children's Responses to Coercion
The Illusion of Necessity: Coercion as a self-fulfilling prophecy
Rationality, Risk, and Roadkill
Gut-Feelings and Principles – Reconciling Parenting Styles
Everyday Violations: Children's Lack of Privacy
Unreasonable Parents – why spanking won't help
Paradigm Shift: conventional parenting styles meet TCS
The Search for Morality in Parenting
Why Parents Feel Compelled to Coerce Their Children
Beware the Curriculum Mentality: Excerpt
The Good and Bad of Going With Your Guts
What exactly is “autonomous learning”?
Video Games: Harmfully Addictive or a Unique Educational Environment?
An Epistemological Argument For Children's Rights
The Effects Of Government Policies On Children: Abstract
The Implications of Popperian Epistemology For Educational Theory
Living With ATV? TCS may help.
Why Libertarians Should Care About Children's Rights
The New Educational Psychology: educational psychology in the light of epistemology.
“Thank you for showing me what a tyrant I've been. This is going to change my life.”
“An extremely interesting and entertaining workshop”
“Thank you for changing my life.”
“Brilliant speaker; world-changing ideas”
“I was deeply moved by what you said.”
“This is the most important workshop I have ever attended.”
“I am very anxious to learn more about TCS.”
“WOW! [...] ENTERTAINING!”
Copyright © 2003 Taking Children Seriously