Waldorf Critics - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#91 of 109 Old 04-08-2006, 05:30 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
My reservations with Waldorf education are only indirectly related to Anthroposophy in that I feel the Waldorf teachers should have more training than just the works of Rudolf Steiner. I think Steiner was very enlightened for his time and he had many good ideas, but like allot of clairvoyant people, he was on some of the time but certainly not all of the time. I think Waldorf teachers should study about other forms of education as well as other types of child development theories. They absolutely, positively should up date themselves about things that were not around in Steiner's time(or where but not identified yet) like ADD, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Dyslexia,Dyspraxia, and just in general learn more about different learning variations instead of just saying a child is "not incarnating properly in their bodies” every time there is a problem.
I completely agree--although I don't necessarily agree that Waldorf teacher training is the problem. I think it is a mistake for schools who hire the teachers to presume that Waldorf teacher's training is enough background or qualification by itself to become a good Waldorf teacher. That's not to say there aren't great Waldorf teachers who don't have much "mainstream" educational background, but I think these would have to be very accomplished self-learners who are also gifted in their insights about children. There are Waldorf teachers like this.

But I completely agree that if schools operate as though just anybody and everybody can enter Waldorf teacher's training, cold, and emerge as a qualified Waldorf teacher, they're deluding themselves. The Waldorf teacher's programs I'm familiar with make it clear that a four year degree at college or university is an important prerequisite (though I think they're flexible if the candidate can demonstrate compensatory experience.) I know at our school, the resumes and educational background of the faculty body is far superior to that found overall in public schools.

And there are several well-trained and knowledgable specialists who are brought to the school as resource specialists or given as referrals to parents. They are both anthroposophically trained and working to keep up-to-date and knowledgable about these issues you've mentioned. I wouldn't be so concerned that every teacher isn't up on the latest (it's a specialized area, and no teacher can devote that kind of time to staying expert on all the issues). But every teacher should be humble that they don't know everything, and open to input from others how best to help in these special cases.



Quote:
The other reason I and allot of the parents I knew pulled their children out of The Waldorf schools that my son was in is all the unsupervised free play. There was just too much bullying, hitting, and bad behaviour going on with not enough intervention. I might have thought this was just the schools my son was in (in different parts of the country because we moved) but I read the” Bullying in Waldorf schools” thread and there was allot there that sounded very familiar to me.
I don't blame them. Hitting, grabbing, or anything like that was never tolerated in my childrens classes, though there have been bullies in the class. There was always an intervention, though.

There was a great deal of bullying in my children's public ed schools, and most often (when it came to my attention, anyway) there was *opposite* reaction--the 'blame the victim' dynamic used to drive me bananas. I remember once being driven nearly to the point of mouth-foaming lunacy talking with a school administrator who tried that with me, and my child wasn't even the victim! So I empathize completely how maddening it can be trying to get through to people sometimes.

But if the argument is put forth as if "Waldorf schools don't intervene in bullying", it of course triggers argument and denial. Painting everyone with a broad brush usually does. Statistically speaking, I don't think it's a supportable position to say that Waldorf has an unusually difficult problem with it.
LindaCl is offline  
#92 of 109 Old 04-08-2006, 06:54 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
What?

<snip>

If parents agree with the goal of the education, and at least have agreement in a broad, general sense with Waldorf's concept of child development, of course it's perfectly valid to complain if the school or teacher gets off track, or even if there are important adjustments that should be explored if something just 'isn't working'.
I was speaking of parents who very much embrace it - not just in a broad or general sense - but do have other valid complaints like you describe. Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#93 of 109 Old 04-08-2006, 09:24 PM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have been reading this thread, and others in this forum with great interest. We have an opportunity to get into a Waldorf methods magnet school for kinder next fall. We will be finding out which schools we got into next week. I feel fairly certain that we will be accepted into the Waldorf school, but I am uneasy about it. I'm really trying to make an educated decision, but there is so much information to wade through. TBH, at this point I am hoping that the OTHER magnet school, which is more like a standard public school with extras, admits her, and I will not need to decide if this type of education will work for my daughter. I wish there were more public school or "watered down Waldorf" parents and graduates to talk to here about their experiences.
Lousli is offline  
#94 of 109 Old 04-08-2006, 10:46 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lousli
I have been reading this thread, and others in this forum with great interest. We have an opportunity to get into a Waldorf methods magnet school for kinder next fall. We will be finding out which schools we got into next week. I feel fairly certain that we will be accepted into the Waldorf school, but I am uneasy about it. I'm really trying to make an educated decision, but there is so much information to wade through. TBH, at this point I am hoping that the OTHER magnet school, which is more like a standard public school with extras, admits her, and I will not need to decide if this type of education will work for my daughter. I wish there were more public school or "watered down Waldorf" parents and graduates to talk to here about their experiences.
I know people who've had bad experiences, but also people who've had good ones - just like those you've seen here. But what's a "watered down Waldorf" parent ? As I said in another thread, if you're not needy of community and healing, yourself - if you're attracted to the school only for its educational methodology, you're a lot more likely to have a good experience and be able to focus on your child's needs rather than your own. Maybe that's what you mean by "watered down Waldorf" parents - those who aren't there for their own spiritual needs. And it sounds as if that's you - so I wouldn't worry too much about possible negatives at this point. You can always change later, I would think - seems like there will always be people wanting to change spots... I hate to seem so wishy washy, but there are definitely positives to be found in the delayed academics and all the imaginative play in kindergarten. I'd find out how much pressure or expectation there's going to be in the more traditional public school program before you make a decision - that could be important. There's a set of articles about those issues on this page:
preschool/kindergarten - It's a page in my (non-commercial) homeschooling site, but most of the articles pertain to school programs. You'll find a strongly stated Call to Action statement there from the Alliance for Childhood - signed by over 150 educators and researchers! - demanding "a reversal of the pushing down of the curriculum that has made kindergarten into a de facto 1st grade". If your daughter is the type of child who already has enthusiasm for letters, numbers, and/or reading, she'd probably be okay in a public kindergarten - but I'd want to make sure she'd be getting a whole lot of imaginative play and free time, which is not the norm these days.
- Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#95 of 109 Old 04-08-2006, 10:52 PM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, by "watered -down Waldorf" I mean public Waldorf school. Sometimes called that because the philosophy/spirituality aspect is downplayed due to the requirements of being a public school. I was nak'ing when I wrote that post, I am more specific about my concerns in the "questioning" thread...
Lousli is offline  
#96 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 12:10 AM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lousli
Oh, by "watered -down Waldorf" I mean public Waldorf school.
Oh! I assumed that was the kind of school you were wondering about - the "Waldorf methods magnet school." Never heard that term before. - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#97 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 12:37 AM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That is the kind of school I was wondering about. Okay, I think I'm not being clear. Let me try to explain. I am interested in public Waldorf school, and that is the type of school that we are looking into (one of our current two choices). I have heard it referred to as watered-down Waldorf, and that might be meant in a negative way, but in our case, it is not. I feel that the school being public may protect us from some of the things I have concerns about, namely the spiritual aspects. I wanted to hear from other public Waldorf school parents because I have already made the decision that private Waldorf school is not for us in any way, shape or form (the first and foremost reason being that I personally can't afford, and don't believe in paying $10k a year for school). Okay, does that make any more sense?
Lousli is offline  
#98 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 01:19 AM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lousli
That is the kind of school I was wondering about.
Ah! Well, in my opinion a "watered down" version would be great for a lot of people - although that's not what the friends I mentioned earlier were looking for at first at all. But you might want to know that one of the leaders of PLANS (the Critics List people) was first a founding parent of one of the public school/Waldorf schools, and what she objected to was the spiritual mix that ended up being central there. So you might want to ask questions and see if yours is one that will be a good fit. I have a feeling, from what others have said, that there might actually be some public ones now that really are more secular, and I think a lot of that would depend upon the level of Anthroposophic influence there - in other words, the background of the people who have set it up and are running it.
- Lillian
PS: I'm leaving in the morning for a week or so, so I'll probably be offline.
Lillian J is offline  
#99 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 03:57 AM
 
muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: here, now
Posts: 2,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm coming from a different situation since we're in the UK and in a Waldorf school which is largely subsidized by the government. They are working towards full subsidization, which would make it the equivalent of a public school. While I wouldn't describe it as "watered down" Waldorf, I would say they are less dogmatic and more flexible than many waldorf schools.

I also have to admit I went into the school very ambivalent about anthroposophy and much of the waldorf approach. Having been there for a couple of years I'm surprised to find myself more and more drawn to it. I've seen how it's worked for DS and for many of the children there (not all of them), and I've also seen what's happened to other children I know who are in public school. It is remarkable to see the two different groups of kids alongside each other.

I think Lillian is spot on, that if you enter the school because you think the educational approach can work for your child, then you will be okay. On the other hand you sound highly sceptical. I would go on your gut instinct toward the school and the teachers and whether you feel "right" there.
muse is offline  
#100 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 12:01 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I should add on to what I mentioned earlier:

Quote:
But you might want to know that one of the leaders of PLANS (the Critics List people) was first a founding parent of one of the public school/Waldorf schools, and what she objected to was the spiritual mix that ended up being central there.
That was a special concern to her because it contradicted her own religious views - but there was more to it than that. Another concern was the way she saw those spiritual beliefs strongly guiding everyday policy and decisions, attitudes, etc., about individual children - and generally without parents being aware of the way this works. That was also the main concern a friend of mine who taught in one school had. The decisions are often made within closed sessions of the College of Teachers, and they're based on Anthroposophical beliefs. It can feel pretty demeaning and powerless to be kept out of important meetings where a problem of your child's or a complaint on your part is being addressed. SO: this is why it's important to be able think of the schools just as schools, and something you're paying good money for - not as your community and not as your child's only hope of having a good and wholesome education - or else you can give away your power and not support your child in the way he deserves. If a child complains, listen and act. Public schools are not all bad - children who have left Waldorf schools often do very well on all levels in public schols. It's important to keep that in mind - it's far from the end of the world if a child ends up in one. Your child's Waldorf experience might be absolutely GREAT - or not! I know people who've been quite happy all the way through. But you have to keep your vision on your child - not on the school and and certainly not on yourself as a "Waldorf parent". If things are not working out, it's not a fault of your child!

And now Im really having to get on the road for a trip. Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#101 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 12:13 PM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you Lillian, I think you just hit the nail on the head as far as my concerns go! I'd like to be active in my daughter's school, to help support her and her school, but I don't feel that I need to use it to find a community. I'm very happy witht he friends I have and don't plan to stop associating with people just because our kids go to different schools. I am concerned about the beliefs of Anthroposophy being used to guide my children without my explicit knowledge and understanding. I feel that in a public school using Waldorf methods this will be downplayed, but not entirely absent. I have a lot of thinking to do...
Lousli is offline  
#102 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 12:47 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Plans have slowed down here, so I have a little extra time before leaving. I should be clearer about something I said:

Quote:
Another concern was the way she saw those spiritual beliefs strongly guiding everyday policy and decisions, attitudes, etc., about individual children - and generally without parents being aware of the way this works.
I don't think there's an attempt to keep parents in the dark about Antrhoposophical beliefs - there are study groups you can join, although my understanding of them is that they're groups in which you're there to really seriously study it in a systematic way, not just casual meetings in which someone simply lectures and explains exactly what principles and beliefs are being applied in the running of a Waldorf school. If that were done, I think people would understand a lot more - but it won't ever happen, because they don't take it that casually. - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#103 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 01:49 PM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We had a member of the local Anthroposophical society come to one of our parent evenings to talk about Anthroposophy. He came because some of the parents wanted to learn more in a casual environment. I feel like our school has been pretty upfront about anthroposophy and how education fits into it. Education is such small part of it. Most people I have met who consider themselves Anthroposophers, consider it a philosphy and not a religion. In fact, most of them identify as a particular religion (some are Jewish, some are Christian, some Buddhist, etc.). The teachers do use this philosophy with their teaching but it is not taught to the children. Montessori is a philosophy also but I believe that it is very narrowly focused on education while Anthroposophy covers many areas such as gardening, etc.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#104 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 01:56 PM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you all for answering my questions so thoughtfully and honestly.
Lousli is offline  
#105 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 02:29 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Lousli, I believe the Waldorf magnet school you're exploring was the second one involved in the PLANS lawsuit.

I know of some differences between it and most Waldorf schools. There is much less of an anthroposophical emphasis among the faculty working as a body, though there is more community interest in that direction than you'll find in the general public.

And they follow the outline of the typical Waldorf curriculum overall, but with some changes. I don't think that Saint stories are used in the second grade, for example. I think they replace them with hero stories from other sources.

You probably still find St Nick in the K and Moses in 3rd grade. The school district officials have vouched that the curriculum in this school is 100% compliant with state guidelines governing so-called "establishment" related issues in the classroom, but I know that some people feel uncomfortable that any of this is allowed in schools at all.

If you don't mind my asking, what is it that appeals to you about this particular school's philosophy? What makes you interested in a Waldorf method school?
LindaCl is offline  
#106 of 109 Old 04-09-2006, 08:51 PM
 
Lousli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am interested in the imaginative play, the oral tradition, the arts and crafts, the language instruction, music, dance, etc. I have taught in a public school and i have seen how much has been stripped away over the years in favor of teaching to the test and tons of academic pressure and homework at an early age. I'm trying to find something that is the best of both worlds, public and private.
Lousli is offline  
#107 of 109 Old 04-10-2006, 11:55 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My husband, as a blues singer, found the 3rd grade curiculum our child went through, to be very helpful. My dh never went to church and never learned any Old Testement stories so many of the old blues songs never made any sense to him. I mean, he has no understanding of who Sampson and Delilah are or Moses, etc. I big part of culture was missing from his upbringing. So even if these stories are not viewed religiously, they have an impact on culture in more areas than you know.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#108 of 109 Old 04-10-2006, 12:02 PM
 
RomanGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Across the pond
Posts: 2,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This article from salon.com might be of interest to some people.

http://dir.salon.com/story/mwt/featu...ndex.html?pn=1

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
RomanGoddess is offline  
#109 of 109 Old 04-10-2006, 10:37 PM
 
Deborah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
Posts: 6,632
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
This article from salon.com might be of interest to some people.

http://dir.salon.com/story/mwt/featu...ndex.html?pn=1
Here is a response to the salon.com article--
http://www.waldorfanswers.org/OnSalonArticle.html

I'm not totally enthused about this response. It is very long, it gets into a lot of complicated stuff and I doubt if many people will be willing to read it all the way through and figure out what is actually being said.

Unfortunately, however, it is very easy to take snippets of stuff that Steiner said and make him out to be a horribly bigoted nasty weirdo. He wasn't. I've been reading stuff by Steiner for (oh my!) forty years now. In all that reading, I've rarely run into remarks that are bigoted, even by today's stringent standards.

What I've noticed being done, is that the critics have a fairly small stable of outrageous quotes which are trotted out (sorry for the screwy metaphor) over and over and over again. The claim is made that these are a small selection of a huge number of biased remarks, giving the impression that every other word coming from Steiner was an example of blatant racism. Nope, the outrageous quotes are all there is, basically. Out of 350 large volumes, totaling over 80,000 pages, the total selection is pretty much what you all have probably already encountered.

Further, many of his remarks on the topic of race and ethnicity are arguing in favor of inter-marriage, and against nationalism (including German nationalism).

To give one example out of many, when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was first published and promoted as proof of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy, Steiner was one of the few folks around who immediately identified it as fraudulent and spoke out against this document as an inciter of anti-semitism.

Deborah
Deborah is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off