A DOMINIE’S FIVE or FREE SCHOOL by A.S. Neill (£1.50) In 1921 Scottish teacher A.S. Neill moved to Hellerau on the outskirts of Dresden where he co-founded an International School to pursue his own ideas on education: that the child’s happiness should be the paramount consideration in deciding its upbringing, a happiness which grows from a sense of personal freedom. After reading what was at the time considered a popular and exciting story — King Solomon’s Mines — to the English-speaking group of five pupils with the result that four of them went to sleep, he conceived the idea of telling the children a story in which they themselves were the participants and actors. Needless to say, the story was a great success, judging by the remarks of the children. This is the story told by Neill. Its imaginativeness is unique as is its whimsical humour. It makes an original contribution to the art of story-telling for children.
A DOMINIE’S LOG by A.S. Neill (£1.50) A Dominie’s Log was directly due to the Scottish Code of Education, by which it is forbidden to enter general reflections or opinions in the official log-book. Requiring a safety-valve, a young Dominie decides to keep a private log-book. In it he jots down the troubles and comedies of the day’s work. Sometimes he startles even his own bairns by his unconventionality. There is a lot in Education that he does not understand. The one thing, however, that he does comprehend is the Child Mind, and he possesses the saving quality of humour. (1915)
A DOMINIE DISMISSED by A.S. Neill (£1.50) In consequence of the Dominie’s go-as- you-please methods of educating village children, the inevitable happens he is dismissed, giving place to an approved disciplinarian. The unhappy Dominie, forced to leave his bairns, seeks to enlist but the doctor discovers that his lungs are affected, and he is ordered an open-air life. He returns as a cattleman to the village where he has previously been a school master. Incidentally, he watches the effect of his successor’s teaching, the triumph of his own methods and the discomfiture of his rival at the hands of the children, in whom the Dominie cultivated personality and the rights of bairns. (1917)
A DOMINIE IN DOUBT by A.S. Neill (£1.50) One day when re-reading A Dominie’s Log, its author decided that a book is out of date five minutes after it is written. In other words, he was in doubt—terrible and perplexing doubt. Do I really understand children? he asked himself. Are my ideas upon education right or wrong ? He decided that he had not sufficiently studied the psychology of children and that, in consequence, he had been guilty of almost criminal neglect. In the same delightfully discursive and humorous manner the Dominic reveals himself, as attractive in his doubts as in his convictions. He does not repent his unconventions. On the contrary, he reproaches himself for having been a heretic, whereas he ought to have been an arch-heretic. (1920)
Alexander Sutherland Neill was born in Forfar in the N.E, of Scotland on 17 October 1883 (d. 23/9/1973) to George and Mary Neill. He was raised in an austere, Calvinist house and instilled with values of fear, guilt, and adult and divine authority, which he later repudiated. His father was the village dominie (Scottish schoolmaster) of Kingsmuir, near Forfar in eastern Scotland; his mother, too, had been a teacher before her marriage. The village dominie held a position in the community of prestige, but hierarchically beneath that of the gentry, doctors, and clergymen. The dominie, typically, controlled overcrowded classrooms with the tawse (the belt), as the means of maintaining good order and discipline.