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A Critical Review of Waldorf Resources - Page 7

post #121 of 165
Hi,

I just can't see how you could feel this way, since Waldorf is Anthroposophy. The schools were developed based on Emile Molt's request to Steiner to develop such and to help "heal society" via bringing people Anthroposophy from the ground up (starting in childhood). With all due respect, and I mean this compassionately, if you do not understand this, it would be helpful for you to study up on that in order to debate here. This is verbatim what I was taught and trained to do at Rudolf Steiner College. I was also told by mentor teachers not to go into too much depth about it (the Anthroposophical foundation of Waldorf education) with parents, since they wouldn't necessarily understand it if they were not at a spiritual place to do so...

Sincerely and respectfully,

Beansavi

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
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 #122 of 165
Umm, I guess I don't have a problem with a school that is set up to heal society by teaching children to be independent thinkers and to approach the world from a holistic viewpoint. For me, it is better than the reason that public schools were set up which was to produce better factory workers.

I truly believe it when they say that 'A Waldorf Graduate is a gift to the world'. I want my children to be good human beings who care for the world and their community. Some of this comes from home, some from church and some from their school. I think there are many public school teachers who are trying to achieve this but they are being underminded by the test score mad society which longs to produce better consumers and cubical rats.
post #123 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
That's great! I look forward to hearing what they have to say.

Thanks!

Pete
I got a reply from the admin director of one of the schools in my area. She said she has heard criticisms like this but likens it to how some people get offended by the pledge of allegiance of the fact that you have to swear on a bible in court. She said most people who are interested in Waldorf Schooling already know about anthroposophy and if they don't they learn about it quickly. She said this issue arose into the public eye a few years back in CA as part of the opposition to charter schools since one that was proposed was going to be Waldorf.

Her words, not mine.
post #124 of 165
Rhonwyn,

I don't have an issue with a school set up to heal society, either. That's why I devoted so many years of my life to Waldorf and Anthroposophical Studies. That's why I teach homeschoolers now in a Waldorf light...

Is that was this thread is about, however? No.

The debate in general tends to be centered around the negative judgements made on children and adults by those employed in Waldorf Schools, based on their Anthroposophical perspectives and lifestyles.

These judgements have hurt people, children included. While most schools don't seem to have much Anthroposophy on the surface, or day to day, they are members of a national group called the Association Waldorf Schools in North America, otherwise they would not be allowed to use the name "Waldorf" in their school name. To be in this group you have to "buy into" certain perspectives and into Anthroposophy. You also have to adhere to strict guidelines and practices, and are mentored by people from the Association.

When conflicts arise at a school, and this is when the Anthroposophical thing rears its head, this Association (aka A.W.S.N.A.) sends advisors and mentors who suggest certain actions (or "punishments" as I have heard the term used) based out of Anthroposophy. All of these people are devout Anthroposophists. And the issue with that is that many people do not consider these decisions fair or even ethical at times (hence, the creation of "Waldorf Survivor" groups).

I have lived what I have described here first hand. I have lived both sides of Waldorf, good and bad.

I hope to help Waldorf heal/improve by being brutally honest about its shortcomings and strengths.

Let's get back to the subject of this thread and start a new one for debate if needed.

Sincerely,

Beansavi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Umm, I guess I don't have a problem with a school that is set up to heal society by teaching children to be independent thinkers and to approach the world from a holistic viewpoint. For me, it is better than the reason that public schools were set up which was to produce better factory workers.

I truly believe it when they say that 'A Waldorf Graduate is a gift to the world'. I want my children to be good human beings who care for the world and their community. Some of this comes from home, some from church and some from their school. I think there are many public school teachers who are trying to achieve this but they are being underminded by the test score mad society which longs to produce better consumers and cubical rats.
post #125 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I got a reply from the admin director of one of the schools in my area. She said she has heard criticisms like this but likens it to how some people get offended by the pledge of allegiance of the fact that you have to swear on a bible in court. She said most people who are interested in Waldorf Schooling already know about anthroposophy and if they don't they learn about it quickly. She said this issue arose into the public eye a few years back in CA as part of the opposition to charter schools since one that was proposed was going to be Waldorf.

Her words, not mine.
Boongirl, I just wanted to mention that Pete seems to have been locked out of the Waldorf section (which he mentioned elsewhere on the MDC boards) so I doubt he can read this.

I think it's a shame since I think he would have been interested to hear it. I don't know if you can PM him or not, but if you'd like to send this to him via PM, that might be an idea.

Sorry for being off-topic. I'll try to stop now. I promise. :
post #126 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Umm, I guess I don't have a problem with a school that is set up to heal society by teaching children to be independent thinkers and to approach the world from a holistic viewpoint.
I agree that that is an incredibly noble and wonderful trait in a school...actually, it's similar to the philosophy I have in my homeschool. I want my children to heal the world!

But this point has been mentioned so many times...it seems almost pointless to say it again, but who knows, there might be new readers who haven't heard it yet... not everyone who enrolls their child in Waldorf knows about Anthroposophy and I'm sure that many if not most Waldorf parents have never read a Steiner book, they go by the brochures and let the "experts" take care of the rest (the busy lives of today's parents and all). I definitely know of a few Waldorfers who don't even know about anthroposophy and had no idea that Waldorf schools were BASED on it.

I think some better disclosure across the board would be a welcome change. If it's all such a great thing, then what is there to hide? The fact that not all Waldorf schools do openly and boldly advertise the fact makes you wonder why (well, it makes me wonder ).
post #127 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky
I agree that that is an incredibly noble and wonderful trait in a school...actually, it's similar to the philosophy I have in my homeschool. I want my children to heal the world!

But this point has been mentioned so many times...it seems almost pointless to say it again, but who knows, there might be new readers who haven't heard it yet... not everyone who enrolls their child in Waldorf knows about Anthroposophy and I'm sure that many if not most Waldorf parents have never read a Steiner book, they go by the brochures and let the "experts" take care of the rest (the busy lives of today's parents and all). I definitely know of a few Waldorfers who don't even know about anthroposophy and had no idea that Waldorf schools were BASED on it.

I think some better disclosure across the board would be a welcome change. If it's all such a great thing, then what is there to hide? The fact that not all Waldorf schools do openly and boldly advertise the fact makes you wonder why (well, it makes me wonder ).

I can only talk about my own experiences. Our school talks about Rudolf Steiner in their literature and that he was a philospher and how he came to form the first school. Our teachers talk about anthroposophy in parent meetings and when asked. It has been my experience, that most parents don't give a rip and skip these meetings on anthroposophical subjects. Maybe it is different in Seattle, because we have teacher training here and anyone can find out all they want about it.
post #128 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi

When conflicts arise at a school, and this is when the Anthroposophical thing rears its head, this Association (aka A.W.S.N.A.) sends advisors and mentors who suggest certain actions (or "punishments" as I have heard the term used) based out of Anthroposophy. All of these people are devout Anthroposophists. And the issue with that is that many people do not consider these decisions fair or even ethical at times (hence, the creation of "Waldorf Survivor" groups).
You mean the group, whose owners in their description of the group warn potential newcomers that they

"are NOT mental health professionals and cannot offer *real* counseling!"?

Sune
post #129 of 165
TheBee,

None of us here are mental health professionals, either, but here we are hanging out, questioning, discussing, learning---and supporting each other here on MDC.

The same goes for the Waldorf Survivor Groups.

Are you trying to say that they are less valid because they are not a group of psychologists?

When hundreds, if not thousands of people feel hurt by Waldorf (or anything), they can come together and support each other. Period. Just like here!

Rhonwyn,

Yes, I understand that your school is upfront about Anthroposophy, and you have said that many times. Although I am encouraged by what you continue to say, I will say again, that does not negate what most of the other Waldorf schools are doing. Nor does it mean we should "hush up". I feel like we keep getting into that whirlpool and need to paddle with both oars now... (ie Get back on topic of this thread).

In general,

Just like "Support Only" threads, this thread is set up as a "Critique Thread" and has the same rights and protections we all have to adhere to.

Sincerely,
post #130 of 165
Beansavi

I think maybe we each have a different understanding of 'the purpose of this thread'.

A 'critical review of Waldorf resources', to me, describes a critical analysis of a body of text. The term doesn't imply that the discussion must be a 'criticism', as in 'finding fault', but as in 'critique'. The topic here refers to a style of systematic analysis of texts, and inherent in the analysis is an underlying debate.

I found a couple of online definitions:

"the process of arriving at a judgment about the value or impact of a text by examining its quality in terms of form, style, and rhetorical features, the readability of the author and the consistency between ideas it presents and the reader's experience" - Harris and Hodges

"an appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation" Farlex Free Dictionary

This is why for each of us, our various conclusions are challenged here. It isn't "off topic" to find significant disagreement here, given the definition I have of 'critical review', and perhaps others along with me.

Linda
post #131 of 165
see next post (accidental double post)
post #132 of 165
Hi,

I never said that. To constantly repeat that someone disagrees with the fact that Waldorf Schools should be critiqued in the first place, on this particular thread, is to what I was referring.

(Although you found it necessary to type out some definitions for me, I will choose not to take that as a negative insinuation... and you will not find me speaking to you in that manner.)

Again, let's get back onto the topic of the thread and critique some resources!



Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
Beansavi

I think maybe we each have a different understanding of 'the purpose of this thread'.

A 'critical review of Waldorf resources', to me, describes a critical analysis of a body of text. The term doesn't imply that the discussion must be a 'criticism', as in 'finding fault', but as in 'critique'. The topic here refers to a style of systematic analysis of texts, and inherent in the analysis is an underlying debate.

I found a couple of online definitions:

"the process of arriving at a judgment about the value or impact of a text by examining its quality in terms of form, style, and rhetorical features, the readability of the author and the consistency between ideas it presents and the reader's experience" - Harris and Hodges

"an appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation" Farlex Free Dictionary

This is why for each of us, our various conclusions are challenged here. It isn't "off topic" to find significant disagreement here, given the definition I have of 'critical review', and perhaps others along with me.

Linda
post #133 of 165
Beansavi, I'm not trying to pick a fight or patronize you.

I was confused why you keep urging us to 'get back on topic', when it seemed to me like the current discussion here has been.

So apparently we don't disagree on the 'point of the thread', and that's not it. I guessed wrong, so I'll guess again. Maybe it's just that the thread is so long. Maybe it is natural to be confused in a discussion that's 100 posts long and, say, some of us are thinking in particular about something somebody said 2 or 3 pages back.

Linda
post #134 of 165
Understood. If we ever get confused about the point of this thread, we can look to the original post when it was created.

Sincerely,



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Sometimes when we look at Waldorf resources, what we don't see is often as important as what we do see. As some "Support-Only" threads are posting links to Waldorf resources, and the content of those resources cannot be challenged there in an open discussion, the validity of such resources can be examined in this thread for accuracy, misleading statements and omissions. Also, as some websites link to other websites (as with the example below) as time permits, the links can certainly be examined for their validity as well. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

In this recently posted link to a Waldorf school in South Africa, http://www.imhoffwaldorf.org/default.asp we see a very nice and colorful website of Waldorf kids playing and Waldorf crafts displayed. What we don't see is any mention of Anthroposophy - at all. Considering Anthroposophy is the basis of Waldorf education, this apparent omission seems rather blatant.

Without knowing that Waldorf schools are steeped in Anthroposophy, one is hardly going to be tempted to choose one of the seemingly unrelated links buried deep within the web pages. It's dishonest - plain and simple.

Pete
post #135 of 165
Part of the critique is offering both perspectives on a topic. Just as all public schools, catholic schools, etc. are not all bad or good, the same goes for Waldorf. Waldorf, like anything, is not perfect and has areas that need to be improved. What upsets me, is when Waldorf is painted with a big negative brush.
post #136 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Part of the critique is offering both perspectives on a topic. Just as all public schools, catholic schools, etc. are not all bad or good, the same goes for Waldorf. Waldorf, like anything, is not perfect and has areas that need to be improved. What upsets me, is when Waldorf is painted with a big negative brush.
I have to agree. The disdain for the Waldorf in this forum does not lend itself to having a healthy debate. But more so as a you poor feeble minded person youre not able to decipher for yourself...let me do it for you.
post #137 of 165
I, for one, am enjoying reading these critiques, positive and negative. It seems to me that this thread is staying on topic except for the pleas to get back on topic.

The negative critiques have led me to question Waldorf more than I would have and have led me to want to read more about anthroposophy. So far, however, I have not been swayed away from waldorf.

Linda - good definitions.


dd, age 2.5, picked this one :
post #138 of 165
I wanted to add that in trying to understand the main criticism of waldorf (lack of disclosure about Anthroposophy) I don't find that as an issue for my particular school.
While attempting to maintain some sort of online anonimity for my children's sake I would like to render two points. From the web page of our school are 2 statements
  1. .....Waldorf School seeks to create the highest quality education for children by providing a creative, supportive learning environment based on the philosophical and pedagogical indications of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education aid the unfolding of each child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities
  2. Our full-time faculty members are all Waldorf-trained, some with over 20 years of experience. The school is guided by the College of Teachers, which has a strong commitment to work out of Anthroposophy

So I don't see the big cover up happening here So is it fair to assume that all waldorf school operate out of deceit?
post #139 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi

Again, let's get back onto the topic of the thread and critique some resources!
What you might want to consider is that threads often meander at mdc. They are like trees swaying in the wind; they don't always stay in the same place but they also aren't uprooted unless there is a big storm. I have often seen threads move and sway away from the exact topic the OP wrote about and so the OP will go and start a new thread. The new thread will be much more specific because the OP has learned from the old thread what not to ask.


Peace

post #140 of 165

A look at AWSNA

since the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) has been mentioned in this thread I thought it might be interesting to look at their site, this section in particular:

http://www.awsna.org/awsna-membership.html

First, there is a description of the various levels of membership. Going down a bit you find a description of how a school should be founded, that the process should not be rushed and this:

{under the heading: establishing study groups}

Quote:
Communities serious about starting a Waldorf kindergarten or school also establish anthroposophic study groups. The anthroposophical work in a community is very important because Waldorf Education arises out of the soil of Anthroposophy. It is into this soil that the roots of the school will grow and derive nourishment. Communities that do not have active study groups in Anthroposophy remark that in the long run their schools seem unfed at a deeper level. Some complain that their schools feel "unsheathed," as if they stand too bare in the community. There can be nothing compulsory about the study of Anthroposophy, for it must live in the realm of inner freedom. Nevertheless, schools do best if Anthroposophy is being cultivated in the community around them in a healthy and free manner. The school itself needs to have a healthy fertile relationship with Anthroposophy if it is to grow and thrive as a Waldorf school. For more information about the study of Anthroposophy or to learn of anthroposophical study groups in your area, you may contact the Anthroposophical Society in America.
Nana
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