or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › how does temperament shape classroom decisions?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

how does temperament shape classroom decisions? - Page 2

post #21 of 55
Hi Canndw
Well , as I mentioned before, I think it's quite a clumsy tool.
I feel charater traits are influenced by many factors, such as confidence and esteem, as well as external events. They are a fluid and changing phenonomen, and when put in a box, particularly by someone who may not be as aware as one would want, these "temperaments" could become a self fulfilling prophecy which a child is stuck with, and which the teachers use in so many ways
There are more subtle ways of definition, and imo the temperaments, or humours, are primitive and clumsy and I felt uncomfortable when this was the way my kids had choices made about them, like where they sat, what parts they had in plays, what instruments they were encouraged to play etc.
post #22 of 55
I have been able to understand my children more because of the temperaments.

I have a choleric child and by learning about the strengths & weaknesses of that particular temperament, I am able to understand him more. What makes it even better is that the teacher is working on his strengths and weaknesses as well. Whereas, had I been at state school I would have thought he was just a head strong kid, who saw everything his way, was a bad tempered ladybird and that there was no time for compromise at all.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetrain View Post
Hi Canndw
Well , as I mentioned before, I think it's quite a clumsy tool.
I feel charater traits are influenced by many factors, such as confidence and esteem, as well as external events. They are a fluid and changing phenonomen, and when put in a box, particularly by someone who may not be as aware as one would want, these "temperaments" could become a self fulfilling prophecy which a child is stuck with, and which the teachers use in so many ways
There are more subtle ways of definition, and imo the temperaments, or humours, are primitive and clumsy and I felt uncomfortable when this was the way my kids had choices made about them, like where they sat, what parts they had in plays, what instruments they were encouraged to play etc.
I agree that it is a clumsy tool. It is also an inadequate one, and I suspect the reason that Waldorf classrooms are often so poorly managed compared to other sorts of private school classrooms. Any method of looking at a human being that is reductive, simply doesn't belong in a school setting in my opinion. Any beginning psychology course will investigate why personality typing is flawed (even Myers-Briggs which is much more nuanced than the four temperaments.)

I think that personality tests can be fun, and can give us a starting point to think about our own characters. As a pop psychology tool, it's fine. But to use one to impose in on a child strikes me as misguided and is one of the biggest deal breakers about Waldorf for me. Don't all other personality typing schemes require participation from the subject?

I have not seen an Olympiad, but if it is true that "phlegmatics" are grouped together, I have to strongly agree that it is is cruel. Inadvertantly so, perhaps, but in its effect, cruel. Has anyone else seen this at an Olympiad? (I am hoping the American schools don't do this!)
post #24 of 55
I was told about this in teacher training, so I'm sure it is done in American schools, though I don't know if it is done in all of them. Why do you think it is more cruel to phlegmatics than any other temperment?
post #25 of 55
canndw you said
"The story you relate about "grouping by temperament" at the grade five olympics I have not observed. Our school attends the games at a place where the students are put in five groups, not four."
How unusual. Four groups at all the schools I know, representing four city states, Athens, Sparta, Corinth and Thebes; the temperaments are used to decide which children go in which city, the emphasis being the hope that children from different schools bond, being of the same temperament. They wear coloured ribbons representing their city/temperament.
So often, you will see many stocky, plump children grouped for instance, who do well in wrestling perhaps; these will be the phlegmatics.
I remember the olympics so well and is really is blatent.

canndw, what were the unusual groups at the school yours were then?

Orangewallflower, thanks for an excellent post, which mirrors my views entirely.
post #26 of 55
Dashmama you say
"Why do you think it is more cruel to phlegmatics than any other temperment?"

Sanguine: Spring, Yellow, Superficial, Nerves, Air, Socially Aware, Caring.

Choleric: Summer, Red, Destructive, Dictator, Blood, Fire, Selfless Leader.

Melancholic: Fall, Mauve, Self-pitying, Bones, Earth, Considerate, Understanding.

Phlegmatic: Winter, Blue, Lazy, Glands, Water, Reliable, Faithful.

It is always recogmnised, for obvious reasons, that the desirable temperament to be is sanguine....even the kids instinctually or not,knew this.
Are you a trained Steiner teacher?
post #27 of 55
These are the four temperaments, as Steiner saw them, from the Open Waldorf site http://www.openwaldorf.com/temperaments.html



Melancholic, physical, earth

The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender
Build: tall, bowed-head, bony
Walk: slow with a drooping, sliding gait
Eyes: tragic, mournful
Relationships: poor, has sympathy only with fellow melancholics
Food: finicky, especially likes sweets
Memory: good concerning self
Interest: self and the past
Clothing: dark, drab, solid colours is difficult to please
To stimulate: explain how others will suffer if he/she is not compliant
Parent and teacher attitude: show sympathy and empathize with suffering

Phlegmatic, etheric. water

"those with more protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children"
Build: big, fleshy, rotund
Walk: plodding, ambling (has a steamroller-like quality)
Eyes: sleepy, often half-closed
Relationships: friendly, impassive, reserved
Food: eats most everything and is always interested in food
Memory: good concerning the world Interest: the present, without getting involved
Clothing: conservative
To stimulate: speak directly to the point, use shock tactics
Parent and teacher attitude: show calm strength


Sanguine, astral, air


"the sanguine are the most normal" (body shape)
Build: slender, elegant, well-balanced
Walk: on toes (dances like a butterfly )
Eyes: lively, dancing
Relationships: fickle
Food: nibbles
Memory: like a sieve
Interest: the present, here and now
Clothing: new and colorful
To stimulate: ask a personal favor
Parent and teacher attitude: show friendly interest, but be firm

Choleric, ego, fire

those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric"
Build: bullnecked, upright, short legs, husky
Walk: firm, heels dig into the ground with each step
Eyes: energetic, active
Relationships: friendly as long as he/she is in command
Food: spicy
Memory: poor
Interest: the world, self, and future
Clothing: individual and outstanding
To stimulate: issue a challenge
Parent and teacher attitude: recall events and deeds (the next day), be firm, strong, and to the point
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetrain View Post
Dashmama you say
"Why do you think it is more cruel to phlegmatics than any other temperment?"

Sanguine: Spring, Yellow, Superficial, Nerves, Air, Socially Aware, Caring.

Choleric: Summer, Red, Destructive, Dictator, Blood, Fire, Selfless Leader.

Melancholic: Fall, Mauve, Self-pitying, Bones, Earth, Considerate, Understanding.

Phlegmatic: Winter, Blue, Lazy, Glands, Water, Reliable, Faithful.

It is always recogmnised, for obvious reasons, that the desirable temperament to be is sanguine....even the kids instinctually or not,knew this.
Are you a trained Steiner teacher?
I am a trained, public school, science teacher, who has had some Waldorf teacher training, which you would have known had you bothered to read my earlier posts.

As I also posted previously, I was taught that it is better that a person have a balance of the 4 temperments and that the teachers work to achieve this. I was never taught that sanguine is the desirable temperment, only that most young children are sanguine. I think this is a bias on your part.

I also previously mentioned that I am married to a phlegmatic man. He totally identifies with being phlegmatic and is not embarassed by it at all. That's why I asked the question I did.

I am really rather annoyed that all my previous post to you went unread. I just figured that I didn't have anything you wanted to comment about, not that I was being completely ignored. Having had some Waldorf teacher training, I think my experience is totally relevant to the conversations we've been having. But apparently I'm too small a goat for this troll.

I'm out of here. Please go ahead and just write me off as another duped, cult member.
post #29 of 55
DashsMama - I feel the same as you. What really grips my .... is that the OP thinks that we all wish to have sanguine children??? I mean come on what is she inferring fgs?


And you dont have to answer me on here if you have chosen not to 'tripperty trap' over the bridge!
post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
As the OP, I appreciate everyone's thoughtful answers. I didn't know that it was a contentious topic when I asked the question--it's just an aspect of Waldorf education that I didn't know anything about until I got the reading material from our school, and it interests me to know how it's actually put into practice.

I will say that, as I've read your responses and thought more about it, the idea of a teacher, privately, using temperaments to, say, organize classroom seating seems fine--just one tool among many. However, the thought of my son being told "You're choleric (or phlegmatic, or melancholic, or yes, even sanguine), so therefore you are x,y,z...really bothers me. I still don't know to what extent that's actually done in our Waldorf school, or in any typical Waldorf setting, but it gets my hackles up to think of it.

My husband and I try always to be mindful of not labeling our children, whether those labels are good or bad. Kids have so much labeling to struggle against already--the idea of them being handed those labels by their teachers is bothersome to me.
post #31 of 55
Sigh...trip trapping back over the bridge...

The children are not told what temperment they are. That would be emotionally harmful and hurtful, and to my knowledge, is not ever done.
post #32 of 55
Pippilongstocking and dashmama, if you seriously think I'm a troll why don't you report it?
Trolls are posters who haven't had real experience, or don't want real discussion , right?


I think it's naive to assume that the children don't twig that when they participate in the olympics , wearing different colours, they don't have an idea of why.
One past student said that they all wore bells round their necks with ribbons the colour of their temperament.
As in all anthroposphical choices in Steiner waldorf, it is subtle and not overt.

I have a different view about it from the other people here.

So sorry I missed all the details of your posts Dashmamma, sometimes I'm in a hurry.
I'll make sure I read them throughly next time.
You're absolutely right, it was slack of me.

It does bother me that as a trained teacher, you can't see that being labelled phlegmatic might distress a child's parent more than another label?

Callicarpa
, temperaments are discussed with parents by the way.
post #33 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DashsMama View Post

The children are not told what temperment they are. That would be emotionally harmful and hurtful, and to my knowledge, is not ever done.

If that's the case, then I don't see the harm. I don't mind if someone tells me that they think my son is a particular sort of personality type. I just don't want them to tell him that. It wasn't clear to me that it's not done, and it's very helpful to know that.
post #34 of 55
Quote:
It does bother me that as a trained teacher, you can't see that being labelled phlegmatic might distress a child's parent more than another label?
Call me thick, but no, I can't.

Is lazy really a worse negative character trait to watch out for than being superficial, destructive, or self pitying?

I agree with orangewallflower that the temperments and other pop psych personality tests are limited in their use in the classroom. But in my experience, they are used everywhere. Teachers are desperate to find ways to help them manage their classes, and this is just one more tool at their disposal.
post #35 of 55
All I can add to this is that discussion of temperaments is always a big favorite in our school for parent education. Parents sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to handle children who don't share their particular ways of thinking and acting, and considering temperaments, and hearing stories from teachers about using this understanding in reaching children, is frequently helpful to them.

I would agree that temperament, by itself, is inadequate to decide how to deal with a class or with individual children. As a tool in the toolbox, I think it's a good one.

The point I've taken from my readings of anthroposphy is that balance is the ideal. Thus, the "best" is to have elements of all four temperaments, NOT to be a clear, extreme example of any one temperament.

David
post #36 of 55
I use Merrill-Reid as a tool quite frequently. According to this model, there are 4 general personality styles:

--Amiable: Tries to calm the waters.
--Analytical: Thinks everything through.
--Driver: "Go, go, go, go, go!!!!"
--Expressive: Social Butterflies

It helps me a lot in determining how to work with children. (As well as figuring out reasons for "why" when one is driving me bonkers). If a child spends a lot of time wandering in the classroom, he might be analytical. The choices may be too much for him and he's trying to decide between too much. Knowing that as a starting point will help me help the child. I might limit his choices or help him narrow them down. "Do you want to do a math or a language work?"

From there, he might be able to choose. If not, I might present him with 2 or 3 ideas of things he has shown an interest in lately. "Would you like to try the 45 bead layout or continue working to the next chain?" (Not asked as an either or like it's his only 2 options, but in a suggestive way).

That would be much different approach than if an expressive is walking around unsure what to do. Then it might be a matter of deciding what person she wants to work with.

If I ask the wrong questions to the wrong students, it might be stressful, since it seems that I didn't really understand their dilemma. I can be wrong...an expressive might be unsure what to do. An analytical might be thinking about who to ask to work with. That's where observation and watching what students are looking at while deciding is very important before I talk to them. However, the models of personalities help me identify a lot of "why" reasons as well as identify what things might stress out the person. Appealing to pure logic will not work as well with an extreme expressive as it would an extreme analytical.

I do not see either personality type as better than the other, so that makes a distinction where I don't stereotype either group. I want every child to grow up to be who they are and I let them reveal to me where they fall. It's still a very good model to have so I can help a child.

Matt
post #37 of 55
Hi Matt,
May I ask if this is a common Montessori tool or did you learn it on your own? I am curious because they seem to be opposite philosophies in so many ways, and it would be interesting to know one of the few commonalities. (I say this knowing really little about Montessori.)
post #38 of 55
Dashsmama,
The reason that the phlegmatic typing bothers me more than others is that it is such the typical stereotype of a fat person.
post #39 of 55
Thanks for the description of the Merrill-Reid system, Matt. I've never heard of it before, but you helped make my point, I think.

orangewallflower, interesting about the "fat" thing. I've never actually met a fat phlegmatic. My two are both thin. My son's teacher, who identifies as "phlegy" is also very thin. The 3 student teacher's I went to school with, who identified as phlegmatic, were all thin too. Because of this, I was a little surprised to read in this thread that at the Olympics all the fat kids were grouped together. If this is true, and the teachers are deciding temperments by physical traits alone, then I too would have a real problem with the temperments being used. I'm a very fat, choleric. I hope I wouldn't be placed with the phlegmatics simply because I'm fat. Though, I suspect my big, bossy mouth would take care of that problem for me. LOL! Thanks for answering my question.
post #40 of 55
Canndw,
Hi.
Did you have any more thoughts about the Olympics?
What are the five groupings they have at your school?

All the schools I've ever come accross have the four cities, so I'm really intersted to your description of five, what's the fifth?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Waldorf
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › how does temperament shape classroom decisions?