Australian Story - School that John Built, The (John Marsden)
When Australian Story first met teenage fiction author John Marsden in 2002 he was suffering writers block and had given up full-time teaching. Frustrated with the traditional school system and the obsession for control in the classroom, he began channelling his energy into student writing camps at his vast Victorian property.
Out of the writing camps came a much bigger ambition. As a challenge to the long-held beliefs of what makes good learning, Marsden decided to start his own school. Candlebark opened in January 2006 and is the antithesis to the concrete schoolyards of Marsden's childhood. The driving philosophy is that children should be adventurous academically, socially and physically. The school has only one rule – no student can exclude another.
Although Candlebark is a powerful challenge to the theories of traditional education, the jury is still out on whether the school’s approach works.
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