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post #101 of 165
Just because we disagree, and no one is changing their mind, is that a bad thing? I don't think so. What you have said has also been said so many times before. I still feel the need to learn more from others here, and to occasionally talk, so I am good with this thread.
post #102 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
Like the aforementioned TAO thread, the two sides never did come to an agreement. Seems to me that this aint happening here either.
I think you have a good point. I don't think that I clearly have a side. I am trying to educate myself about Waldorf education and philosophy. I will say that my kids are finally in a school were they are very happy and that makes me happy.
I have a bit of my own stank to put on this....perhaps Waldorf schools have evolved from someone's pyschic gleamings of the Akashic records can't debate you on whether it is so or not. However it is so not completely telling the whole story to leave out that American education is not emmersed in actual facts. Our history is slanted and skewed to the benefit of a few. Worldwide we speak of great thinkers and philosophers while often ignoring the origins of their education.. In art and architecture, credit is inaccurately applied ( I won't say plagerized ) for example "Greek column" is a term often used to describe a type of architecture. My question, how can that name giving credit to "Greek culture" be used, when in the craddle of Africa long before Greek culture existed stand multitudes of these structures. I guess much the same way Christopher Columbus can come to this country, DISCOVER a land inhabited with people and then misname them. GOT IT
My point, if we look long and hard at education truth is not disclosed to parents and students of Waldorf, Public, Private, or whatever . And we could all be on the going UP the river of DENILE (The Nile does flow UP). So how zealous are we at setting the record straight on other fronts besides Waldorf?
post #103 of 165
Exactly, boongirl.

I frequently see Waldorf education given this "special" scrutiny that pretends Waldorf deserves unusual attention, as if anthroposophy is so "odd", and "suspicious", that Waldorf ed has a burden no one else should have to bear. Waldorf has a philosophy of child development--everybody who came up with an educational philosophy in probably the last 150 years has had one of their own as well. It is a child development model which closely resembles some child development models developed by others, and diverges widely from some others as well. This isn't exceptional in the educational arena. It's typical.

Waldorf ed was profiled in an article in The Atlantic Monthly which came out about 5 years ago, and in it the reporter brought some of Steiner's strange sounding ideas to what he called "outside experts", who each considered them "relatively innocent", in the reporters words. One was quoted, "When you think of what the learning-disability people cook up, this is very mild." Looking at some of the most well-known developmental models others have come up with, it's hard not to come to the same conclusion

ideas of other developmental theorists

(Frederick Crews is referred to here in footnotes, a former professor of mine who when I was in his classes was totally enamoured with Freud, he was a pro-Freudian zealot for sure. Now Crews is a militant and obsessive anti-Freudian. To me, Freud never made a bit of sense, but Crews's fanatic rebellion doesn't make any sense either. He's carrying on like a tunnel-visioned, fiery, proselytising anti-Freudian tent preacher. Spreading the message against Freud has consumed his work for the last few decades. And Crews is not a psychologist, psychiatrist, scientist or anything like that. He was an English professor rofl! I think there's a lesson there somewhere--maybe that anti-fanatics are just former fanatics who've rebelled.)

Linda
post #104 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
It seems like the thread you are talking about may have involved a lot of opinion. The more evidence, the better the case.

Pete
Pete - you have obviously never been involved in an evolution vs. creation discussion. Lucky you. There is plenty of "evidence" to support both sides, depending on your point of view, location of said evidence, interpretation therein, and personal bias. One could argue that there is no real difference between evidence and opinion, only that there are different ways of interpreting meaning. We go could go off on a discourse about semantics and discuss the dialectic of opposites and get into a discussion of Hegelian philosophy.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/su...s/it/croce.htm
I: The Dialectic or Synthesis of Opposites

Or, we could agree to disagree and move on. To use my previous example, those who believe in science and evolution can find plenty of evidence to support their argument and negate the creationist point of view. Creationists can do the same for themselves. Staunch believers on either end will never agree and will always believe they know the truth and the other is nuts.

In considering a critical review of any topic or belief, such as anthroposophy, one must always consider that those with the opposite point of view will believe themselves as holders of the truth and the others as misinformed and possibly wrong. You may find all the "evidence" you want to support your arguments but it is not going to make you any more right. There will always be evidence in support of the opposite of your belief and plenty of people aligning with both sides. It can be argued, therefore, that this critical review is a bit of an exercise in futility. An interesting one, perhaps, but not one that is going to end with everyone in agreement. Just like the evolution vs creation discussion.

So, yes, this is an interesting discussion and a great way to learn more about Waldorf. But, let's not pretend to be shedding light on the so-called truth. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Kathy
post #105 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yinsum
However it is so not completely telling the whole story to leave out that American education is not emmersed in actual facts. Our history is slanted and skewed to the benefit of a few. World wide when we speak of great thinkers and philosophers the origins of their studies is often ignored. In art and architecture credit is inaccurately applied for example greek collumns is a term often used to describe a type of architecture. My question how can that name giving credit Greek culture when in the craddle of Africa long before Greek culture existed stand multitudes of these structures. I guess much the same way Christopher Columbus can come to this country, DISCOVER a land inhabited with people and then misname them. GOT IT
Hi. You bring up interesting points. For the record, I am someone who believes in “spiritual” education, for lack of a better term. And I wholly support the principles of Waldorf, even though I personally disagree with all the anthroposophy in schools and the Christian-specific elements.

This is a discussion forum and as beansavi just mentioned: “Just because we disagree, and no one is changing their mind, is that a bad thing?” (And thanks for the kind words a few posts back, beansavi.) And certainly this discussion is of benefit in that it’s now touching upon some other important questions, ones you just raised. Yes, a more “spiritual” approach to education is a fantastic thing, because that which we call “history” for example isn’t all it’s cracked up to be from other spiritual / mystical perspectives.

But all that is another topic altogether IMO. There are other questions, and one of them is being raised here on this thread. And it has to do with disclosure to parents regarding the occult elements of the philosophy. And specifically, the esoteric Christian foundation of anthroposophy, and how all of that finds its way into the school and classroom. If parents don’t mind or even appreciate all the occult stuff and the “Cosmic Christianity”, fine. But they do need to know what it is exactly they’re signing up for when they enroll their children in Waldorf schools.

I’m interested in this dialogue because I’m interested in informing individuals – prospective parents for one – with regards to all of the above. And certainly one reason I’m sitting here and typing and letting people know what’s what, is that Waldorf schools for the most part refuse to make any of this clear to parents in their advertising material – one of Pete’s original points and observations as well.
post #106 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
Pete - you have obviously never been involved in an evolution vs. creation discussion. Lucky you. There is plenty of "evidence" to support both sides, depending on your point of view, location of said evidence, interpretation therein, and personal bias. One could argue that there is no real difference between evidence and opinion, only that there are different ways of interpreting meaning. We go could go off on a discourse about semantics and discuss the dialectic of opposites and get into a discussion of Hegelian philosophy.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/su...s/it/croce.htm
I: The Dialectic or Synthesis of Opposites

Or, we could agree to disagree and move on. To use my previous example, those who believe in science and evolution can find plenty of evidence to support their argument and negate the creationist point of view. Creationists can do the same for themselves. Staunch believers on either end will never agree and will always believe they know the truth and the other is nuts.

In considering a critical review of any topic or belief, such as anthroposophy, one must always consider that those with the opposite point of view will believe themselves as holders of the truth and the others as misinformed and possibly wrong. You may find all the "evidence" you want to support your arguments but it is not going to make you any more right. There will always be evidence in support of the opposite of your belief and plenty of people aligning with both sides. It can be argued, therefore, that this critical review is a bit of an exercise in futility. An interesting one, perhaps, but not one that is going to end with everyone in agreement. Just like the evolution vs creation discussion.

So, yes, this is an interesting discussion and a great way to learn more about Waldorf. But, let's not pretend to be shedding light on the so-called truth. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Kathy
I'm shedding light on the resources and providing my point of view. The "truth" is - Waldorf schools are immersed in Anthroposophy both in the teaching methods and the curriculum AND that most Waldorf resources and promotional materials are completely deceptive about this. There is no "agree to disagree" here - it's dishonest behavior that needs to be exposed. I consider it criminal in that they are taking people's money - but Waldorf says it's up to the parents to discover this on their own. Discussions like this one are helping parents discover this on their own.


Pete
post #107 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
I'm shedding light on the resources and providing my point of view. The "truth" is - Waldorf schools are immersed in Anthroposophy both in the teaching methods and the curriculum AND that most Waldorf resources and promotional materials are completely deceptive about this. There is no "agree to disagree" here - it's dishonest behavior that needs to be exposed. I consider it criminal in that they are taking people's money - but Waldorf says it's up to the parents to discover this on their own. Discussions like this one are helping parents discover this on their own.


Pete
I am going to contact my local waldorf school and send them some of your points. I am also printing them out to take with me as I visit schools. I will get back to you when I have more information.

Kathy
post #108 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I am going to contact my local waldorf school and send them some of your points. I am also printing them out to take with me as I visit schools. I will get back to you when I have more information.

Kathy
That's great! I look forward to hearing what they have to say.

Thanks!

Pete
post #109 of 165
Anyway, this thread is "A Critical Review of Waldorf Resources". We have a right to do that ("freedom of speech and all that) and if someone is not comfortable with reading about it, they are free to hang out on the hundreds of other threads on MDC.

Once again, and I would love to compile all the times this has happened: people who are uncomfortable with our discussion have gotten us off the subject.

If you are uncomfortable, please stop insinuating that we are overreacting, exagerrating, etc. This is not the case at all as is perfectly clear.

As far as the public school analogy, there is not nearly the same incidence of people and children being harmed or shunned like you have in Waldorf. I went to Rudolf Steiner College and founded a W. school, as well as worked in public ed. for years, so my experiences and what I have witnessed are broad and in depth.

By the way, I am the founder of the "Waldorf Resources-Positive Only, Please" thread, so am keenly aware of the need for maintaining balance and respect in these forums.

Can we please get back onto the subject now, Pete and those who came here to talk and learn?

Sincerely,
post #110 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
Anyway, this thread is "A Critical Review of Waldorf Resources". We have a right to do that ("freedom of speech and all that) and if someone is not comfortable with reading about it, they are free to hang out on the hundreds of other threads on MDC.

Once again, and I would love to compile all the times this has happened: people who are uncomfortable with our discussion have gotten us off the subject.

If you are uncomfortable, please stop insinuating that we are overreacting, exagerrating, etc. This is not the case at all as is perfectly clear.

As far as the public school analogy, there is not nearly the same incidence of people and children being harmed or shunned like you have in Waldorf. I went to Rudolf Steiner College and founded a W. school, as well as worked in public ed. for years, so my experiences and what I have witnessed are broad and in depth.

By the way, I am the founder of the "Waldorf Resources-Positive Only, Please" thread, so am keenly aware of the need for maintaining balance and respect in these forums.

Can we please get back onto the subject now, Pete and those who came here to talk and learn?

Sincerely,
I think the fact that we have two former Waldorf teachers on this thread agreeing that the role of Anthroposophy needs to be more clearly disclosed to parents makes it pretty obvious that there is a problem. In reviewing lots and lots of resources, the focus is on how widespread the problem is.

Pete
post #111 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
As far as the public school analogy, there is not nearly the same incidence of people and children being harmed or shunned like you have in Waldorf. I went to Rudolf Steiner College and founded a W. school, as well as worked in public ed. for years, so my experiences and what I have witnessed are broad and in depth.
I guess I'm lost. Where is the mention of public schools, shunning or harm?

I realize that this is a pretty long thread, running over a hundred posts now, and if I'm only looking at it with one eye, maybe it's my fault that as a whole it reads like one giant non sequitor. Of course it's confusing people.

Anyway, of course the websites don't tell parents that Waldorf is a school system that teaches anthroposophy and "esoteric Christianity", because it isn't that. If a parent was promised this on Waldorf promotional material, it wouldn't be true. If parents chose the school on the basis of that promise, they would be grievously disappointed.

Again, Waldorf isn't *supposed* to teach this. If teachers do, they're wrong to do so. Quoting from the article about Waldorf education I mentioned earlier, "Harmless or not, zealotry in the practice of Steiner's theories usually has a much simpler cause: bad teachers." It mentioned the challenge Waldorf faces because it can attract individuals to teach who it described as "counterculture" spiritual seekers, as opposed to educators. "They can find great comfort in Steiner's spirituality, and become more devoted followers than even Steiner himself might have wished." So the real issue isn't whether or not the fact some do anyway "should be disclosed", but that these teachers who insist on doing so need to knock it off, or quit teaching in Waldorf schools.

Thankfully, my children haven't had any teachers guilty of this. Those that insist on arguing that ours is the exception to the rule have the burden of producing evidence that their account, not mine, is the rule. Those accusing the Waldorf movement of some widespread subterfuge in this regard have that burden. What we often see instead are simply assertions without anything close to objective evidence, in other words, personal opinion.

But nevertheless it's barking up the wrong tree to complain this is a problem of "misleading disclosure". If there are Waldorf schools or teachers which are actually teaching anthroposophy and "esoteric Christianity", those schools or teachers are non-compliant.

Linda
post #112 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
Anyway, this thread is "A Critical Review of Waldorf Resources". We have a right to do that ("freedom of speech and all that) and if someone is not comfortable with reading about it, they are free to hang out on the hundreds of other threads on MDC.

If you are uncomfortable, please stop insinuating that we are overreacting, exagerrating, etc. This is not the case at all as is perfectly clear.
Thanks for having the nerve to put that out there, beansavi. I’ve come to see over the years that it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation, this clarity-truth business. Waldorf colleagues don’t want to hear it, and happy parents don’t want to either. (And who can blame them?) That leaves the few and far between.

I stated that I “personally disagree with all the anthroposophy in schools and the Christian-specific elements”. I want to be clear that I feel schools have the right to exist as anthroposophical, Christian-oriented entities. I was simply stating that I have no desire to work in such a school again. For me, it’s simply a question of openness and full disclosure.

I also mentioned that I believe the non-disclosure issues stem from unconsciousness and fear. Yet there is one aspect of this question that is being dealt with in what I would call a deceptive manner. I’ve come across dozens of Waldorf people who, in their attempt to brush the issue aside, simply repeat the mantra: “But anthroposophy isn’t taught in schools.”

As a teacher, you of course understand that anthroposophy isn’t “taught”. You also understand the entire curriculum, is anthroposophy – an “investigation into Christ” as Steiner called his philosophy.

I’ve used examples such as this one before: In the second grade, Saint stories are told. Why? Because Steiner stated the “child-like” Saints were the etheric and astral psychopomps for the incarnating Christ Being. By telling the children Saint stories and having them “dream into” these story-imaginations, the teacher is furthering and “willing” the incarnation of Christ in the physical realm. To be very clear: she or he is consciously using the children as listening and feeling vessels (again, psychopomps) for this cosmic “furthering” process. And one can identify and relate a similar spiritual or “Christ” purpose for every subject that’s taught in Waldorf schools.

Is any of this “good” or “bad”? That’s not the issue. The issue is 99.9% of parents have no idea whatsoever that Waldorf schools, and all anthroposophical initiatives, exist first and foremost to further the evolution of the Steiner’s Cosmic Christ. Which BTW in part explains why chronic social problems exist in schools. Because the bottom-line is teachers and schools are fully committed to Steiner’s goal to incarnate the Christ Being via one’s endeavors. Evolving healthy, holistic social relationships – creating community – is of secondary importance.
post #113 of 165
Quote:
The issue is 99.9% of parents have no idea whatsoever that Waldorf schools, and all anthroposophical initiatives, exist first and foremost to further the evolution of the Steiner’s Cosmic Christ.
I talked with one waldorf teacher today who also has 4 kids in our local waldorf school. She has studies anthroposophy and she and her hubby are both followers of Steiner. For them, this is a non-issue, or so she said, because she knew exactly what she was getting when she enrolled her children in Waldorf School. She was very blunt in telling me about saint studies and other christian elements in the program. Maybe she is an exception to rule.

Awaiting answers from other waldorf teachers in the area I've questioned.
post #114 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I talked with one waldorf teacher today who also has 4 kids in our local waldorf school. She has studies anthroposophy and she and her hubby are both followers of Steiner. For them, this is a non-issue, or so she said, because she knew exactly what she was getting when she enrolled her children in Waldorf School.
That’s certainly understandable given it’s a Waldorf teacher who doesn’t have a problem with the esoteric Christian underpinnings of the education.

Regardless and again, this isn’t about “good versus bad philosophy”. It’s about disclosure, about truth in advertising, and about stating upfront in the promotional material that:

1. The foundational aspects and content of the Waldorf curriculum, of the school festival life, and of the administrative organization of the school, is spiritual science or “anthroposophy”.

2. Anthroposophy is an esoteric spiritual path. The anthroposophical student endeavors to evolve a conscious, active and living relationship with the Being Steiner identified as the “Cosmic Christ”.

3. Steiner’s child development and curriculum insights are a result of his clairvoyant investigations into the spiritual Akashic Record. Furthermore, Steiner is considered to be a highly evolved spiritual master or “Initiate”, whose previous incarnations include Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

---

The Dali Lama is openly referred to as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. So why is it that students of Steiner only whisper about these understandings regarding Steiner’s past lives? Students of Steiner spend perhaps the majority of their study time reflecting on and discussing the “Cosmic Christ”; but in twenty years I have yet to come across one reference to this Being in any school’s promotional material. In the rare instance the word “Christianity” is even mentioned in a school’s promotional material, its under-emphasized as if to direct attention away from the fact. Schools will speak of having a “generally Christian outlook” or what have you, suggesting a working with the “spirit” of Christian goodwill, not the “content and doctrine” of Christianity itself.
post #115 of 165
I don't think all schools present the saints stories in the same light that is mentioned here. In second grade, my oldest, was exposed to Aesop's fables, saint stories, american heros (George Wash., Johnny Appleseed, John Henry) who were treated the same as the saints. They also had stories from the Middle East that were clearly Islamic tales.

We were told that the stories appealed to the animal nature in children and the overcoming of that that most people go through to become a caring person. This year in second grade the teacher often places two stories side by side with similar themes: Aesop fables with lions and the story of St. Jerome and the lion.
post #116 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
We were told that the stories appealed to the animal nature in children and the overcoming of that that most people go through to become a caring person.
That’s correct. The curriculum and what’s taught is always described using words such as caring, beautiful, gentle, etc. And on one very real level, the curriculum is indeed taught in a caring, beautiful and gentle manner.

Here’s what I’m getting at though. Suppose you wish enroll your child in a new school down the road. During the enrollment interview, you’re told the children learn caring, beautiful and gentle stories from history. You later discover the school’s a Church organization, and teachers read stories directly from the Bible. This isn’t to say Bible stories aren’t caring, beautiful and gentle. It’s to point out they’re much more than that, just as the teachers’ intent in such a school would go well beyond simply “teaching history”. Difficult to imagine any parents whose reaction to such a situation would be anything less than anger, even outrage.
post #117 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by baandje

Here’s what I’m getting at though. Suppose you wish enroll your child in a new school down the road. During the enrollment interview, you’re told the children learn caring, beautiful and gentle stories from history. You later discover the school’s a Church organization, and teachers read stories directly from the Bible. This isn’t to say Bible stories aren’t caring, beautiful and gentle. It’s to point out they’re much more than that, just as the teachers’ intent in such a school would go well beyond simply “teaching history”. Difficult to imagine any parents whose reaction to such a situation would be anything less than anger, even outrage.
Ah, this is making sense now. What I need to do, now that my dd is only 2, is read a lot about waldorf schools and anthroposophy and steiner so that I can make a truly informed decision about whether waldorf schools are right for us. I know for a fact that I would find a fundamentalist biblical viewpoint offensive in my child's school. The catholic schools stance I could handle (dh was schooled that way).

It is a matter of making a truly informed decision based upon your own research and finding a way to get the school to be open about it as well. Is this right?
post #118 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
Ah, this is making sense now. It is a matter of making a truly informed decision based upon your own research and finding a way to get the school to be open about it as well. Is this right?
Exactly. And schools are not all the same, for sure. I’ve worked in schools that were very open to sharing and honestly communicating with parents, and even shaping their working to accommodate that which the community was interested in as a whole (not necessarily curriculum concerns; community development organization mostly). Not to be pessimistic, but those schools are fairly rare, although there certainly are many more schools like that now than there were just a short decade ago.

The larger established schools in particular are the ones that tend to rigidly adhere to a hardcore anthroposophical methodology and interpretation regarding curriculum content and community development. And generally speaking those schools are the ones that struggle with openness and honesty as far as sharing and revealing their motives and reasons for doing what they do. It needs to be understood that teachers in schools like that are drawn to their work because they consider themselves serious and solemn students of Steiner’s philosophy, first and foremost.

Conversely, it’s in the smaller schools one will come across teachers who are much more open and accommodating (and authentic IMO), and who for the most part are simply working out of a joyful love of life. Teachers like that are Waldorf teachers because of their interest in teaching children in a gentle soulful setting, and not necessarily because of some great and grand spiritual connection to the tenets of anthroposophy.
post #119 of 165

Sources and personal perspectives on them

Quote:
Originally Posted by baandje

Students of Steiner spend perhaps the majority of their study time reflecting on and discussing the “Cosmic Christ”; but in twenty years I have yet to come across one reference to this Being in any school’s promotional material.
The complete works of Steiner, books, the 3,000 published lectures and other material comprise c. 90,000 pages. April 2005, http://www.rsarchive.com published 20 of 28 published books by Steiner, and c. 760 of his 3,000 published lectures online in English translation.

According to a search of the site at http://www.rsarchive.org/Search.php with "Cosmic Christ", the term is mentioned at 14 of the maybe 22,500 published pages at the site. Maybe you should have told Steiner to talk more about it, so people could read and dedicate all the time to it that you assert that they do, but shouldn't, if I understand your view of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by baandje

Steiner mentioned numerous times that at its foundation anthroposophy was entirely an “investigation into Christ”. The horse’s mouth is good enough for me

and

As a teacher, you of course understand that anthroposophy isn’t “taught”. You also understand the entire curriculum, is anthroposophy – an “investigation into Christ” as Steiner called his philosophy.
A similar search on “investigation into Christ” at http://www.rsarchive.org/Search.php leads to a result page telling: "Your search - “investigation into Christ” - did not match any documents."

And the site publishes all the major written works by Steiner.

Maybe you should tell the webmaster of the RSArchives about this seemingly unidentified flying quote you write you have seen come "numerous times" from the "horse's mouth", but that seems to so far have escaped his attention.

You sure about the "numerous times" that you state as alleged support for your view, and argument against anthroposophy?
post #120 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by baandje
That’s correct. The curriculum and what’s taught is always described using words such as caring, beautiful, gentle, etc. And on one very real level, the curriculum is indeed taught in a caring, beautiful and gentle manner.

Here’s what I’m getting at though. Suppose you wish enroll your child in a new school down the road. During the enrollment interview, you’re told the children learn caring, beautiful and gentle stories from history. You later discover the school’s a Church organization, and teachers read stories directly from the Bible. This isn’t to say Bible stories aren’t caring, beautiful and gentle. It’s to point out they’re much more than that, just as the teachers’ intent in such a school would go well beyond simply “teaching history”. Difficult to imagine any parents whose reaction to such a situation would be anything less than anger, even outrage.


Personally, I don't have a problem with it because our school doesn't restrict itself to one religion's or culture's stories. If it was only the Bible, then I would have a problem. I knew beforehand that our school would be presenting stories from many faiths and cultures. It is right there in the curriculum list.
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