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In plain English -- how does anthrosophy affect what kids are taught - Page 2

post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
Yeah, IMO, Waldorf is Anthroposophy made into an educational curriculum.
IMO too.
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We (trianed Waldorf teachers) were taught to respect the child's Karma with us more than the child's parents.
This is confirmed by many, many parents and their experiences. I have personally experienced this in a very negative way in a situation where the teacher was actually trying to separate me from my child - even suggested to one of my children that she would love to adopt them. This coming in the middle of a difficult divorce. :
Quote:
So, if the parents had problems with religion (i.e. 3rd grade Old Testament stories), then we were told to just teach the kid the "Truth" anyway, if not more subversively...
And that's exactly the problem with a religious or faith-based school system that doesn't clarify to parents it's religious underpinnings.

Pete
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
So, if the parents had problems with religion (i.e. 3rd grade Old Testament stories), then we were told to just teach the kid the "Truth" anyway, if not more subversively..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
IMO too.

And that's exactly the problem with a religious or faith-based school system that doesn't clarify to parents it's religious underpinnings.

Pete
The 3rd grade Old Testament stories are no secret in our school. Since it is my understanding that they've been pretty standard in the traditional Waldorf curriculum forever, its very peculiar to hear that attempts are made by some teachers to keep this from parents. AWSNA lists it as if it were pretty standard.

"Primary Grades 1-3 ..[]..Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories."

http://www.awsna.org/education-class.html


I do understand, though, if teachers teach it to the class even against a particular parents wishes. The curriculum in a Waldorf school is set by the teachers, and a parent doesn't have veto power over a particular course in the curriculum. If parents don't want their child to hear these stories they shouldn't chose a school that always teaches them, imho.

Linda
post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
The 3rd grade Old Testament stories are no secret in our school. Since it is my understanding that they've been pretty standard in the traditional Waldorf curriculum forever, its very peculiar to hear that attempts are made by some teachers to keep this from parents. AWSNA lists it as if it were pretty standard.

"Primary Grades 1-3 ..[]..Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories."

http://www.awsna.org/education-class.html



I do understand, though, if teachers teach it to the class even against a particular parents wishes. The curriculum in a Waldorf school is set by the teachers, and a parent doesn't have veto power over a particular course in the curriculum. If parents don't want their child to hear these stories they shouldn't chose a school that always teaches them, imho.

Linda
It isn't so much that they teach these stories that is the problem - I certainly don't have a problem with the teaching of stories from the Old Testament and yes, I agree a parent shouldn't have veto power over the curriculum if it is made clear to them (although "clear" may be debatable). The "religious underpinnings" I was referring to are the ones that allow teachers to decide this is the "truth" as Beansavi pointed out, and that it should be taught as truth. Is there something at the AWSNA website that describes that the Old Testament will be taught as "truth"?

Pete
post #24 of 62
But Pete, everything is taught as 'truth'. My child is studying Native American culture in the 4th grade with a special emphasis on the Northwest Coastal Indians and the stories they are taught are treated as truth as were the fairy tales, the saints and hero tales, the fables and the Old Testement stories. Everyone of these is a 'truth' to someone. I haven't seen any preference given to any of these.

What I like about Waldorf is the respect given to all 'truths' because they are universal 'truths' of mankind. The Native American storyteller came to my child's class and told his 'truth' about Raven. Last year, the Jewish families in the class shared their 'truth'. Next year it will be the Greek 'truth'. Until 8th grade when my child will have been exposed to the 'truth' from many cultures.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
But Pete, everything is taught as 'truth'.
Well, some parents have a problem with this... and Waldorf schools need to make this clear to parents. And the reason, I contend, that these myths are taught as "truth" and not myths (which would be just as - if not more - valid for children) is that myths about the spirit world, generated by Steiner, are truths to Anthroposophists. It prepares children to believe that myths are truths - it sets them up for a religious belief system that Steiner believed was absolutely necessary for children.
Quote:
My child is studying Native American culture in the 4th grade with a special emphasis on the Northwest Coastal Indians and the stories they are taught are treated as truth as were the fairy tales, the saints and hero tales, the fables and the Old Testement stories. Everyone of these is a 'truth' to someone. I haven't seen any preference given to any of these.
I think you have missed my point here. I'm not saying anything with regard to the content of the myths - indeed I specifically said that the "religious underpinnings" I was talking about has to do with relating these stories as truth. By suggesting myths, any myths, are truth, are to be treated as truth, it moves the curriculum from a fact-based to a faith-based curriculum. It promotes the acceptance of truth based on myth and softens the kids up for Steiner's own truths and Steiner's own confused representation of "facts".
Quote:
What I like about Waldorf is the respect given to all 'truths' because they are universal 'truths' of mankind. The Native American storyteller came to my child's class and told his 'truth' about Raven. Last year, the Jewish families in the class shared their 'truth'. Next year it will be the Greek 'truth'. Until 8th grade when my child will have been exposed to the 'truth' from many cultures.
This is a spiritual education - nothing more. Call it "universal truths", call it "wisdom traditions", call it "universal knowledge" - it still has no basis in fact - it is spiritual. Nothing wrong with a spiritual education - except that parents need to be informed when this is what is being provided to their children. When AWSNA says the children will study myths and the Old Testament, that doesn't tell parents that they will be expected to believe it.

Pete
post #26 of 62
Thread Starter 
Okay, think that what I was asking was answered. That was part of my concern -- that interpretations/beliefs would be taught as Truth, and that my wishes regarding my child's education would not be respected or that I might be misled/manipulated into allowing something I don't want.

I still can't decide about anthrosophy as a philosophy/belief system, as the descriptions I've read so far all seem so nebulous that I can't pin it down. I don't object to it, certainly, but I still don't understand it. Regardless, the above concerns give me pause about enrolling my son.

I will probably still go to the open house, but will be more likely to investigate the Montessori schools now.

Wishing I could find a preschool with a blend of Waldorf creativity and imagination and emphasis on the natural, Montessori independence and development of intellect, and common-sense "let kids be kids" without a lot of restrictive philosophical dogma or New Age trappings. Can't there be a happy medium between the traditional battery-operated, paste-the-precut-grin-on-the-pumpkin-drawing, stand in a straight line preschools and the other extreme??? Oh, while I'm dreaming, let it be free, with long available hours to accomodate my heinous schedule, organic meals prepared by a chef, and Jack adores it.
post #27 of 62
When I say 'truth' I do not mean literal truth. I do not believe that the children become adults who literally believe that the world was created in 7 days or that Raven brought the sun to the people. It is more in the Jungian frame where these are universal truths within all mankind that are told in many different forms around the world.

I don't think Waldorf has ever said that they were not spiritual. To me there is a difference between spiritual and religious. Spiritual is a recognition of the spirit within all humans while religious is holding to one particular religion's tenets. My husband is spiritual in a Native American way but he is not a Christian. I am a Chrisitian and my children go to Sunday school to learn about being a Christian as well as practicing it at home. At school, they learn about many religions and many spritual beliefs. In many ways the learn about other religions by living them for a short time. Last year the 'lived' as Hebrews and celebrated Shabat and all of the holy days. This year, they are living as Native Americans and celebrating their culture.

To me, it is like going to another country and actually living there as opposed to just going as a tourist. You don't really understand another group of people until you experience their day to day lives.

If you are an atheist and you have difficulty with how Waldorf does things, I would speak to an atheist at the school. I am sure there are some. There are several at our school. As well as Buddhists, Catholics, other Christians, Pagans and Jews. What we don't have a lot of is, is fundamentalists who believe in the literal truth of the Bible.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Well, some parents have a problem with this... and Waldorf schools need to make this clear to parents. And the reason, I contend, that these myths are taught as "truth" and not myths (which would be just as - if not more - valid for children) is that myths about the spirit world, generated by Steiner, are truths to Anthroposophists. It prepares children to believe that myths are truths - it sets them up for a religious belief system that Steiner believed was absolutely necessary for children.

It promotes the acceptance of truth based on myth and softens the kids up for Steiner's own truths and Steiner's own confused representation of "facts".

<
Quote:
"softens"? -frankly if you've noticed most of what most kids are exposed to in daily life, including school of course, they could use a bit softening. "Confused"?? now, that is YOUR interpretation and one quite judgemental of this man and his thinking.
[QUOTE PETE]
This is a spiritual education - nothing more. Call it "universal truths", call it "wisdom traditions", call it "universal knowledge" - it still has no basis in fact - it is spiritual. Nothing wrong with a spiritual education - except that parents need to be informed when this is what is being provided to their children. When AWSNA says the children will study myths and the Old Testament, that doesn't tell parents that they will be expected to believe it.

Pete
-PETE, is there testing in school that you are aware of that shows the children are 'beleiving' it? -- I mean, lets face it, most parents dont realize their kids are growing up to believe in this 'confused' system of consumerism and Greed and selfishness yet when they are at school anywhere in the country thats what they're getting. It's not so much in the books of course, Sntm, but all around them with the other kids, the lifestyles, the talk, the clothes, the media, the food. It's just my opinion ( and others I know too) that Anthroposophy isnt what you need to worry about.
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraess
-PETE, is there testing in school that you are aware of that shows the children are 'beleiving' it? --
:LOL In Waldorf schools? You're kidding right? :LOL
Quote:
I mean, lets face it, most parents dont realize their kids are growing up to believe in this 'confused' system of consumerism and Greed and selfishness yet when they are at school anywhere in the country thats what they're getting.
Really, THAT'S where they're getting consumerism? In school? Any parent that has ever taken their kid to the market knows where consumerism comes from - and it isn't from schools - it's from TV. But that's really not the topic here.
Quote:
It's not so much in the books of course, Sntm, but all around them with the other kids, the lifestyles, the talk, the clothes, the media, the food. It's just my opinion ( and others I know too) that Anthroposophy isnt what you need to worry about.
Again, consumerism isn't the topic - the topic is the teaching of myth as "truth". But while we are on the topic of discussing consumerism, Waldorf schools are producing great little consumers - children who will take every bit of nonsense they hear and believe it is the truth. And what will they be ready to consume - Anthroposophy. Sure, eurythmy can straighten crooked teeth - why wouldn't kids need to believe that by the time they're adults?

Pete
post #30 of 62
Why would one demand that children be kept from listening with open hearts to the myths, sagas, legends and tales from our rich world cultures? How could it possibly harm them to drink in the wisdom of these stories?

If there were any evidence that Waldorf kids were turning into budding little anthroposophists, I could understand the concern. But overwhelmingly they are not.

The evidence just isn't there to make this highly emotional (and irrational) argument geared to frighten parents away from Waldorf Ed.

Serena
post #31 of 62
Steiner wanted religious instruction to be taught by visiting experts (priests, rabbis, etc) who would, obviously, approach their subject as 'truth'.
This is indicative of the tolerance for different ways of thinking that is an important part of a good Waldorf education.
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
Why would one demand that children be kept from listening with open hearts to the myths, sagas, legends and tales from our rich world cultures? How could it possibly harm them to drink in the wisdom of these stories?
I didn't say it would. I said if the stories and myths are taught as truth, then parents should be told. I can tell you that not every story and myth and Bible legend is based in wisdom Serena. Some are just plain silly nonsense. That Eve yielded to temptation and then deceived Adam, for example, and consequently spelled the end of paradise for humankind - is not a story I particularly want my kids (my daughter especially) to be taught as TRUTH without my knowledge. I think it's a parent's choice if this stuff should reach their child's ears and when, and how. Waldorf does not have the right or permission to teach these things behind parents backs as TRUTH.
Quote:
If there were any evidence that Waldorf kids were turning into budding little anthroposophists, I could understand the concern. But overwhelmingly they are not.
I haven't seen evidence to suggest they are not. I have said before that I feel a fair percentage ARE becoming Anthroposophists - at a far greater rate than public school kids are. What are you looking for, some number that suggests 50% of Waldorf kids become Anthroposophists? I don't think even Catholic schools get those types of numbers.
Quote:
The evidence just isn't there to make this highly emotional (and irrational) argument geared to frighten parents away from Waldorf Ed.
I'm not trying to frighten parents away from Waldorf ed - although that is sometimes the result. Waldorf needs to tell parents what they are doing - specifically! Waldorf does not tell parents, and when parents realize this, they are frightened away. Part of this is from the "what else aren't they telling me" queston - and this is a very valid question. These are NOT Waldorf parents, BTW, but parents who in all likelyhood would have left when they found out (eventually) anyway. That they are learning of these things now is saving them lots and lots of disappointment. It isn't my fault that Waldorf hides its agenda - it's Waldorf's fault.

Pete
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldorf teacher
Steiner wanted religious instruction to be taught by visiting experts (priests, rabbis, etc) who would, obviously, approach their subject as 'truth'.
This is indicative of the tolerance for different ways of thinking that is an important part of a good Waldorf education.
As a Waldorf teacher, how would you distinguish "truth" from "belief" from "knowledge"?

Pete
post #34 of 62
Um, I went to a Catholic school. It actually made me more of a Protestant. I got all A's in my religion classes.

Some of the kids will undoubtedly turn into anthroposophists but the vast majority will probably not. Home will influence them more than school.

Also, if you don't believe that public schools teach consumerism, then you are deluding your self. They even watch a special TV 'news' show to promote comercials.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Some of the kids will undoubtedly turn into anthroposophists but the vast majority will probably not. Home will influence them more than school.
I would question that - 8 hours a day of Waldorf for 12 years (perhaps less in some schools) seems like a considerable influence to me... But yes, undoubtedly, some kids will turn into Anthroposophists.
Quote:
Also, if you don't believe that public schools teach consumerism, then you are deluding your self. They even watch a special TV 'news' show to promote comercials.
I don't doubt that consumerism is alive and well in both public and Waldorf schools. I think, however, the primary source for consumerism for society today is TV.

Pete
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
As a Waldorf teacher, how would you distinguish "truth" from "belief" from "knowledge"?

Pete
Honestly...I couldn't begin to answer that.
There is a way in which myths are more real than history, in that they reveal the way people of a time and place thought, as opposed to what they did. My wife, the mathematician can tell you how 2+2 doesn't necessarily have to make 4.
There are so many levels of those terms.
How could something be offensive to you, but not make somebody else bat an eye?
I'm not a huge fan of relativism, but a Catholis priest's truth is very different from mine.
Your truth is different from mine.
If you're really interested, I'd suggest you read Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, also called A Philosophy of Freedom.
Awesome book.
post #37 of 62
Waldorf teacher: I had written a response to pete's retort to my mentioning consummerism in the topic of myth yet didnt submit it. Basically, I did end up writing that like you say :everyone's truth is different.
tying up consumerism and myth- The myth of consummerism in public schools or any other private school, as well as in general life.
Our school is very environmentally respectful, serving vegetarian foods, having the kids be an active role in composting their lunch scraps, maintaining a gardening building, linked to two Csa's of which much of the community at waldorf supports, as well as their anti- media stance to which parents sign contracts -- all things I think quite standard in most if not all waldorf schools. put that together with a strong emphasis on story-telling of old legends and myths, and a philosophy which is interested greatly in the health and bettering of the human spirit and what do you have?
.....surely, A "truth" that must be constantly subjected to criticism by someone with their own Agenda.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldorf teacher
Honestly...I couldn't begin to answer that.
There is a way in which myths are more real than history, in that they reveal the way people of a time and place thought, as opposed to what they did.
As a teacher, you must know that children don't look at "truth" in this way. Children hear the stories described as if they actually happened. Children don't look at them as myth with some element of truth revealed. That's why Grimms is popular with Waldorf and Aesops isn't.
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My wife, the mathematician can tell you how 2+2 doesn't necessarily have to make 4.
There are so many levels of those terms.
And that's very nice, but some parents would like to know that their kids are getting the 2+2=4 without any suggestion that this may not be necessarily true. Certainly you must see a pattern here - the myth as truth and the truth as myth. Blurring the lines between truth and myth (or belief or knowledge) is a spiritual exercise when it is applied to children. It's something that is better reserved for college level - not for 5 and 6 year olds.
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How could something be offensive to you, but not make somebody else bat an eye?
The only thing I find offensive is that parents are being deceived about the education their children are getting. If Waldorf was clear about teaching Anthroposophy - there would be nothing offensive at all about it. I absolutely believe in freedom of religion and everyone's right to believe whatever they want. I don't believe in anyone's right to misapply those rights onto other's children.
Quote:
I'm not a huge fan of relativism, but a Catholis priest's truth is very different from mine.
Your truth is different from mine.
You've completely missed my point, I suspect. I respect that we have different "truths" as you call them - I would call them "beliefs". But Waldorf does not get a free ride when they don't explain that their beliefs make up the curriculum and that children will be taught those beliefs. If you understand that your "truths" are different than my "truths" then what in the world justifies that you would teach your "truths" to my child without my permission or knowledge?
Quote:
If you're really interested, I'd suggest you read Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, also called A Philosophy of Freedom.
Awesome book.
Yes, thanks. It was one of Steiner's earliest works (1894) and predated Steiner's ideas of Anthroposophy by almost a decade and the foundation of the Anthroposophical Society by almost two decades. His subsequent material produced a rather less free philosophy - IMO, a very constrained philosophy. But everybody points to POF as the work that defines Steiner - not so. It is his later works and interests in the occult and esoteric Christianity that have become his legacy.

Pete
post #39 of 62
From WordWeb dictionary:

Truth:
1) A fact that has been verified
2) Conformity to reality or actuality
3) A true statement
4) The quality of nearness to the truth or the true value

From Websters:
True:
1) Conformable to fact
2) Not false or erroneous
3) Free from falsehood

There really is no wiggle room for truth as in "your truth" vs "my truth". But I understand that what people who talk of truth here are really saying is "belief".

Once one blurs the line between "belief" and "truth" as Steiner did, then we have a situation, as in Waldorf schools, where one's beliefs replace the truth. When we think about how this affects our children's education - especially when it is applied without parent's knowledge, I would suggest that all the composting in the world won't make up for this error in judgement and ethics.

Pete
post #40 of 62
[You've completely missed my point, I suspect. I respect that we have different "truths" as you call them - I would call them "beliefs". But Waldorf does not get a free ride when they don't explain that their beliefs make up the curriculum and that children will be taught those beliefs. If you understand that your "truths" are different than my "truths" then what in the world justifies that you would teach your "truths" to my child without my permission or knowledge?

Maybe I missed it.
You know me (sort of), and you know very well that I am a strong advocate of disclosing what goes on at Waldorf school, but something as simple as time and resources prohibits this...you know that.
How long would it really take to let somebody know everything that goes on in 12 years at a school. Come on.
Find out what the play is like before you buy a ticket, and if it turns out to be intolerable, grab your hat and go...but don't ruin it for the people who want to stay, or for those who may want to go in the future.
And try not to assume that your 'disclosure' bugaboo is a problem outside of your very limited experience in Waldorf; or with the VAST majority of Waldorf families.

Yes, thanks. It was one of Steiner's earliest works (1894) and predated Steiner's ideas of Anthroposophy by almost a decade and the foundation of the Anthroposophical Society by almost two decades. His subsequent material produced a rather less free philosophy - IMO, a very constrained philosophy. But everybody points to POF as the work that defines Steiner - not so. It is his later works and interests in the occult and esoteric Christianity that have become his legacy.

It is my understanding that Steiner himself said that POF would be his most enduring work.
I know you are aware of it, but have you ever read it and worked with it?

Pete[/QUOTE]
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