Moving schools - taking a child out of St James

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:21 pm

This is only true if the philosophy is rammed down pupils' throats. Teacher100 argues that this is not the case.


It's not a matter of 'ramming down throats', it's a matter that everything that is done, said, taught and thought at the schools is steeped in the underlying SES philosophy. It is all pervading. Subtle and more effective than 'ramming', a violence that one might feel compelled to rebel against.

So we have 5 year olds coming home from school, not in 1980 but in 2006, muttering about 'the perfect' and how they 'know the truth'.

And I am not convinced matters of gender are improved at all. For instance why do girls curtsey to men (which shows subservience) but boys shake hands (equals).
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Postby AntonR » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:23 am

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Postby anti_ses » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:45 am

Goblinboy wrote:
anti_ses wrote:This is only true if the philosophy is rammed down pupils' throats.

Don't understand the causal link between the nature of a philosophy and how it is taught that you imply. Conclusion doesn't follow the premise. I'm talking about content, not how it is imparted.

Forgive me for focusing on St James (London) - after all, this is the 'original SES school'. My point is that the philosophy is only underlying if it is rammed down people's throats. As it happens, I believe more is read from the Bible than the Gita and Laws of Manu combined at St James (London). Which appears to contradict your statement that Advaita Vedanta solely forms the basis of philosophy at St James (London).

Goblinboy wrote:A quick scan of my post will reveal that I was discussing all SES-related schools worldwide. So please don't accuse me of exaggeration.

Apologies for the confusion. Still, numbers would be helpful. As seen on this forum, people are quite free to reveal what proportion of teachers and pupils are from the SES.

Goblinboy wrote:As for the various leaders' involvement in the schools, there's sufficient material on this BB already - I lack the time and inclination to trawl for it....The thrust of my post was not these minor details, but transparency.

Sorry again, was focusing on St James (London). Have heard little about what specific involvement the head of the SES has had in St James (London) in recent times. I don't agree with your second point about minor details being unimportant - sometimes minor details such as this are the ones that stick.

Goblinboy wrote:We can argue about the minutiae for many inches and achieve very little, but I hope you don't disagree about transparency.

I would agree that there needs to be more transparency. But I would disagree that the SES is purposefully attempting to hide its links with associated schools. The problem is that there are people here who want different things: some people want all links between St James and the SES to be broken, others want transparency, others give out leaflets to stop parents sending their children to St James, others campaign for apologies and resignations. Conforming to all these wishes seems neither realistic nor justified.

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Postby teacher100 » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:49 am

As I have said before I agree with the comments about transparency.

If you want people within St James and the school to support your cause, which I do understand and sympathise with may be you could be a bit less agressive.

I thought I had made quite a lot of salient and reasonable points. When I came on this website I was surprised that people did seem to be interested in what I was saying, but this seems to be no longer the case.
I have honestly pointed out as the situation as it is now and all I seem to be doing is creating more negativity, which I don't want to do.

As far as I am aware many moves are being made towards reconciliation as we speak, and I think this is a good thing.

A lot of rubbish has been written on this website about St James and the SES. I know this and I suppose I will have to be content with this.

I have decided not to post any more because I am not achieveing anything.

Farewell

teacher 100

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Postby anti_ses » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:52 am

AntonR wrote:Remember who you represent, you are all the voice of the SES.

Regardless of the content of this discussion, statements such as this tend only to limit the quality of discussion and may even prevent some from contributing here. I'm not even a member of the SES (nor was, nor will be), but I would prefer not to discuss issues with the wall that contributors such as AntonR have built. Just because we may not have suffered like others does not make are opinions biased or less worthy.

I think AntonR's quote above is a good reason to leave the discussion here. I'm amazed, after all this time, how people still cannot hold discussions with individuals without considering them to be some 'voice of the SES'.

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Postby a different guest » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:03 am

My point is that the philosophy is only underlying if it is rammed down people's throats


Then you don't understand much then anti-ses.

Consider how any child grows up - they are not given a rule book about the culture they live in, they pick it up as they go along via many cues.

If a school a child attends every day for x hours is infused with a particular culture, the child will absorb it - no ramming down throats needed.


Teacher - please stay and argue your points. People are interested in your points, they have read them and rebutted them. So now it is your turn to address the points argued back.

That is how debate works.

This 'my bat my ball and I'm going home now' stand you are taking does not speak well of the school.
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Postby chittani » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:03 am

Anton,

Last night I asked Donald Lambie (he says, abandoning concealment quicker than a pole-dancer) if he was happy for me to speak as an individual to ITV. His response was that I should what I thought best, with a caveat about stitch-ups. So GoblinBoy's call for transparency (for some reason I keep getting images of the dance of the seven veils ...) seems to be timely.

I think that the real issue here is one of philosophy, oddly enough. If you start from Gurdjieff you will get an organization that has qualities of discipline, mixed in with harshness and criticism, run on authoritarian principles. Some of your fellow-travellers will be very scary people indeed. If you start from Advaita Vedanta, you will get discipline as well, but with no harshness, pressure, anger or fear, and an organisation that supports enquiry and appreciates the need to care for its members. Your fellow-travellers will be people like Gandhi or Shantananda, as well as eccentrics like our friend the Maharishi.

The School did start from Gurdjieff, but in 1965 it came across Advaita Vedanta. The "Secret Cult" scandal seems to have given the School a profound shock, and there has been a long, slow dawning of the realisation that there is a direct conflict between many of the "old School" ways (though by no means all) and what we might call the "older School" developed over millennia.

One day we will all sit down and study Advaita properly. I bet many people in the School couldn't write five sentences on the subject. Then we might have the "new School" which adds something new to a great tradition.

I can't wholeheartedly support Teacher100's jolly-hockey-sticks briskness, as it seems a little inappropriate in the context of the board; nor (if I may say) her religiosity, which is just one possible aspect of Advaita; but I can also totally understand where she's coming from. She teaches in an academically excellent school, informed by what she finds to be a liberal philosophy. It must be hard to conceive of any bad coming from that. The answer, so far as I can see, is that there is nothing wrong in it, but that it is not the only philosophy that has influenced the School or the schools.

AntonR, you and Teacher100 live in different worlds, because you attended different schools of philosophy.

The Germans weren't bad people 60 years ago, but they had a bad philosophy from bad people. The point is to get rid of the baddies and then change the philosophy. Suddenly all there is to hate is their terrible football team ...

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Postby AntonR » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:05 am

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Postby Goblinboy » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:00 am

Chittani,

Good post. Good luck with ITV. And with the "new school".

GB

PS. But what is happening to your language? Pole dancing? Fantasies involving the dance of the seven veils? Not to mention the memorable exposure of your wool-swathed "toned buttocks" that, allegedly, drive women wild, on another thread recently. :)

PPS. Am assuming the tone of the said buttocks was tactile, not aural.

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Postby chittani » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:13 am

Goblinboy

It must be the company I'm keeping on this board. Your bad example is contagious.

By the way, I've been wondering whether you see yourself as a largely benificent, misunderstood goblin boy such as might staff Gringotts, or as a more brutalist version, like a Hobgoblin? Could be time for an avie ...


AntonR,

Good post. That's all I can say.

All the best guys.

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Postby bonsai » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:37 pm

teacher100 wrote:Why are people so convinced that something must be wrong, when so much is right? I don't know what I can say to convince people.


I can understand and accept that a teacher at the schools today would wish to ensure that there is no negative impact on the current schools, especially if they enjoy teaching there, as you appear to indicate.

The thing is, for those who have been let down, hurt or, god forbid, abused by the schools in the past then the protestations that the schools have changed and are the wonderful places they claim to be does nothing but belittle the experiences of those who have been failed. Remember that the schools claimed to be this wonderful back then too.

For someone who has been hurt, we don't want to know that things have changed particularly. We want people to understand the impact that their actions have had on us. We hope that they recognise these impacts, though there is nothing we can do to force them to see or accept the responsibility. We hope that where wrong doing is acknowledged or unintentional impact can be recognised that a humble and sincere apology is forthcoming. Then maybe we can begin to look at what motivated the people to do this to us and then maybe we can begin to recognise that the people may have changed and may have changed for the right reasons. This process holds a mirror up to everyone involved and shows people things that perhaps they do not wish to see.

For us who have been let down in the past, we are not convinced that something is wrong. We know something is wrong.

The parents that have chosen to remove the children today, stjparent and mm, and are having to deal with unwanted consequences also are not convinced that something is wrong; they too know something is wrong.

I know that a teacher at most can only do the best they can and must always be prepared to review what they consider the "best they can" to be.

I do not believe many (if any) of the teachers who taught me at St James to be bad people and even those who inflicted some of the worst I do not believe to be all bad or evil. In the SES and St James during my time in them, there was a self-righteousness about the place, many people conveyed an impression that they were superior for their belonging to the organisation and that in some way they were doing things of higher purpose. David Boddy's performance on Channel 4 confirmed to me that this arrogance and superiority is still present in the organisations. The lack of responsibility being taken in a demonstrable manner by the governors following the publication of the Townend report and their insistance that it is all in the past and not applicable to the schools today goes to reinforce that the organisations have not changed enough. Also the limitation of scope of the inquiry to date and so far the refusal by the organisations to investigate the effects of the philosophy either taught or pervading the schools indicates these self-righteous attitudes to still be present.

I'm not trying to tear the schools down or even criticise the schools today and I am certainly not saying that the schools are the same as the ones I attended over ten years ago. I am certainly aware of plenty of change and plenty of positive change too.

Also, I am not trying to criticise you, teacher100, or anyone else who chooses to believe the philosophies of the SES for whatever reason they do. Personally I believe that an individual's right to believe what ever they choose is fundamental. Yes the conversations here on this forum test that for me because yes there are people's minds I would like to change at times.

teacher100 wrote:I thought I had made quite a lot of salient and reasonable points. When I came on this website I was surprised that people did seem to be interested in what I was saying, but this seems to be no longer the case.
I have honestly pointed out as the situation as it is now and all I seem to be doing is creating more negativity, which I don't want to do.

As far as I am aware many moves are being made towards reconciliation as we speak, and I think this is a good thing.

A lot of rubbish has been written on this website about St James and the SES. I know this and I suppose I will have to be content with this.

I have decided not to post any more because I am not achieveing anything


I am pleased that you tell us about the schools today and about some of the things that you feel strongly about and are prepared to advocate on behalf of like the equality of woman in society. I am delighted that you have a modern and equitable marriage and I am most delighted that Vedic maths is no longer taught at the senior girls. I also am pleased that you are prepared to partake in this forum and I welcome you to continue to participate. I am pleased that you recognise that there is plenty more room for transparency and openess about aspects of the school and I welcome you playing a part in improving things.

I am sorry that you feel that your contributions have not been valuable and feel that you should no longer participate. Personally disagree that this is the case and I welcome the fact that you have been open in answering many of the questions that have been directed your way.

Until both sides are willing to see things from the perspective of others there will be no reconciliation. Most of us are not trying to destroy the schools or the SES, we are merely inviting the otherside to see things that we see in order that we can all move with our lives and ensure that wrongs of the past are not repeated in the future.

Bonsai

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Postby mm- » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:23 pm

A lot of rubbish has been written on this website about St James and the SES. I know this and I suppose I will have to be content with this.

I have decided not to post any more because I am not achieveing anything.



Teacher 100,

I would be really interested to know what you perceive as 'rubbish' on this BB. I really can't see the reason as to why people would lie or fabricate stories against St James or the SES. I have read many threads and find some harrowing and disturbing, but I do not feel that they are rubbish.

It is interesting and helpful to read the viewpoint of a teacher at St James, as unfortunately the voices of those that teach at the schools are few and far between. As a parent I am aware that the schools have many fine attributes but the schools also leave a lot be desired on many other points.

In one of your earlier posts you painted a very rosy picture of life at St James. I am not saying that this doesn't exist and I am sure that perhaps many children at St James are 'happy'. Unfortunately, I do not view St James in this rosy context at all. I see St James for what it is- a recruitment ground for the SES. I am sure that many people would disagree with this but I have not seen any evidence to the contrary.

In reality I have no problem with an adult joining the SES. I am sure that for many being members of the SES is a truly wonderful and uplifting experience. As an adult you have the right to make such a decision and live your life as you see fit. That is your prerogative.

However, children at St James are being drip fed the SES belief system from the age of 4, in some cases without their parents consenting or knowing what the SES is, what it believes in and what it practices. To hide this fact is very misleading and dangerous. St James is not as transparent as they would like people to believe. By hiding the truth, St James takes away the right of every parent to make an informed decision on the upbringing of his or her children.

I have read with dismay AntonR post this morning. I can only imagine the true horror of looking at someone that is effectively locked in their own body, unable to communicate with the outside world because of their participation in the SOP. It must be truly horrifying. If just one person is affected by what the school teaches at any one of their venues, then surely this is enough.

I for one am not waiting around to find out or willing to use my child as a guinea pig. For every person that says how wonderful and brilliant the SES is there is another that has been affected and hideously damaged by this group.

?Cults in our midst? by Margaret Thaler Singer is a brilliant book, which speaks about many issues on this BB and is really worth getting if people want more info or help.

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Postby bella » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:47 pm

mm wrote: I have read with dismay AntonR post this morning. I can only imagine the true horror of looking at someone that is effectively locked in their own body, unable to communicate with the outside world because of their participation in the SOP. It must be truly horrifying. If just one person is affected by what the school teaches at any one of their venues, then surely this is enough.


Um, Anton didn't say they had a psychotic illness because of their involvement in the SOP. He didn't say they didn't, but he certainly didn't say there was a causal link. If he did now, though, I'd be interested to know how he ascertained that.

If they were ill before joining, of course that just proves that the SOP attracts people with impaired judgement, I suppose.

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Postby mm- » Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:49 pm

AntonR wrote:

I had to deal with mental illness in the SOP in Sydney first hand as I was the only professional to be called upon


Bella,

Perhaps I misread the post then, though I can't see how. If I'm wrong in assuming from the post that AntonR had to deal with a psychotic epsiode in one of the SOP members, then perhaps AntonR can clarify this. My interpretation is that he/she was called to deal with someone from the SOP suffering from 'severe psychotic depression' and that'

I can tell you of many such incidents as this one.


Which makes me think that there was obviously more than one person going trough some kind of mental trauma at the SOP in Sydney. He/She also infers that they are a professional (I presume in mental health). I for one would be very interested to know if AntonR has come accross people who have suffered mental health issues as a result of being a member of the SES/SOP.

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Postby bella » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:14 pm

MM-,

I don't think you misread the post, but I think maybe you over-read the post. I agree that Anton appears to be saying he's a mental health professional, and was called upon to attend to one of the SOP members in particular, as well as others.

What's not clear to me is whether this SOP member is someone who had a long history of mental illness, and in the grip of this illness, refused treatment from anyone but an SOP member...or refused treatment, period - and then Anton was asked to intervene, or whether they were somehow confined somewhere and not allowed treatment from anyone except an SOP member, or whether they were incapable of seeking treatment and Anton was decided to be the best bet...or something else entirely. The confining bit seems extremely unlikely to me, even under Mavro's reign. As I said, it's also unclear whether Anton considered this a pre-existing condition, or one brought on by the SOP, which is why I think it needs to be clarified in light of your take on it.

Mental illness is prevalent. It's the fastest growing health issue today, and there may be other causal avenues to explore before fingers are automatically and indelibly pointed at the SOP, without clarification and explanation from Anton - don't you think? My uncle suffers from mental illness, and he regularly attends pastoral care, as well as writing short stories for most of his spare time. I knew a church-going Christian girl who committed suicide. My friend's partner has regularly to attend a mental health facility, and he listens to punk mainly, sometimes a bit of blues and cajun.
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