Originally Posted by orangewallflower
Linda, so do they divide by temperament for every overnight trip? Why were you with a group of "plegmatics"? Why were they divided this way?
No, not every overnight trip. Just the overnight trips where kids will be divided into groups because circumstances demand it. The fire marshall will allow only so many beds in one room. Why was I with them? Because I volunteered to come on the trip. And why were they divided this way. Well.......I think it's one of those "had to be there" situations. It was sheer genius to group them together. Let's just take one example: sharing the common bathroom. These weren't a bunch who enjoyed socializing in the bathroom, and they weren't prone to hurrying along when they were alone in there either. Methodical, thorough, going through their own personal ritual, and in no hurry ...each one of them was like this. But just one bathroom, and only so much time in the day. Starting out, they each intuited immediately that this was going to take structuring. So-and-so is the slowest, so she goes last. Another one has takes a long time to brush teeth due to her dental appliance. Another one's hair takes an hour to dry. You get the picture....they thought through the issues, they did the logistical plan, "you go first and you can dry your hair in here cause it will take an hour before you can go to bed and then the bathroom is still free for the next person." No whining about the other person lingering, no teasing about being a slow poke, no banging on the door to hurry up. It's like each knew intimately it just wasn't right to rush somebody, maybe because they hated to be rushed or maybe because it was futile anyway, I don't know.
I didn't even think they may have been grouped by temperament until I was with them for a day, and a real strong picture of the temperament formed. Getting them from one activity to another took tremendous concentration on my part, knowing this was just their way kept me from getting frustrated or irritated with them or the situation. Just getting them up in the morning--that wasn't going to happen without intensive management and oversight on my part.
I just know with this group, it was good to put them together because they could be who they are without feeling intruded upon or intruding on others whose insides tick at a very different "tempo". It saved a lot of social melodrama as often happens kids who can get so contentious over other people's quirks.
|I will say it again, I think this is the very core of why classroom management is so often weak in Waldorf school- reliance on personalty typing. It may be that it does no harm to sit certain students in the back, others by the window, never "cholerics" with "melancholics", but it doesn't do much good either. My anecdotal experience tells me that the best Waldorf teachers are ones that have previous teacher training and with it effective methods for keeping a class involved and working well together. Good classroom management comes in spite of Waldorf training, not because of it.
I agree with you that broader training than Waldorf helps teachers be better. But I don't know any teachers who rely on this like a formula, not at all. It's just general concepts and some general "try this" type tools. Every time an example or illustration is offered to describe Waldorf it comes out sounding like an Do It Like Just This of step-by-step instructions. Teachers who are very new or excessively formulaic in applying things they learn in education may try to teach like that, but this is equally true of Positive Discipline or any other named method.
My children, for example, have at one time or another been seated in every possible position in the classroom. They have, on average, six or seven different teachers in a given week. They all have their own ways of doing things despite drinking from a common well, and some of them are more effective than others.