Contents * 1 Life and personal background * 2 Educational philosophy * 3 Life at Summerhill * 4 Influences on Neill's thought * 5 Criticisms of Neill * 6 Neill's educational legacy * 7 Works * 8 Published Correspondence * 9 Portrait bust of A.S. Neill * 10 References * 11 External links |
Life and personal background
Neill was born in Forfar in the Scottish Lowlands, one of thirteen children. Both parents were schoolteachers. After acting as a pupil-teacher for his father, he studied at the University of Edinburgh and obtained an M.A. degree in 1912. In 1914 he became headmaster of the Gretna Green School in Scotland. During this period, his growing discontent could be traced in notes which he later published. In these notes, he described himself as "just enough of a Nietzschian to protest against teaching children to be meek and lowly" and wrote (in A Dominie's Log) that he was "trying to form minds that will question and destroy and rebuild".
Neill worked with Homer Lane, a US educator then living in England and founder of the Little Commonwealth school in Dorset, and later at King Alfred School in Hampstead, a school founded by a group and parents in 1898 and led by John Russell from 1901 to 1920.
Maria Montessori was also an influence, and so were Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich.
In 1921 Neill left England for the Continent. In Hellerau near Dresden he visited Lilian Neustätter, whom he had met at King Alfred School and who later became his wife. In Hellerau, Neill, Lilian Neustätter and Christine Bear, who had studied with Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, founded the International School. Jacques-Dalcroze, a Swiss composer and music educator, had... [continues]
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