Waldorf Doubter's Thread - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Learning at School > Waldorf Doubter's Thread
happygardener's Avatar happygardener 08:18 PM 08-19-2002
[QUOTE]Originally posted by momofgurlz
Your question about left-brain, right-brain development and neurology are not of interest to Waldorf teachers, who are looking at where the child is *spiritually*. A good example of this is evident in the way Waldorf teachers handle/react to children who are left handed. Left handedness is considered, in Waldorf, to be a sign that the child had a very tough past life ... that he or she may have been a manual laborer. Left handedness is viewed as something that MUST be changed, in order to alter the negative karma that the child carries with him or her. That is why Waldorf schools are probably the only schools in the developed world who insist that left handed children write with their right hands! (How that effects the children is an interesting neurological question.)

As a person participating in Waldorf teacher training, I thought I would jump in with another perspective. I am not an expert or guru of any kind, just sharing personal experience.

At a recent summer intensive, many of the experienced classroom and kindergarten teachers who were teaching the intensive (teachers from the US, Europe, and Brazil) reiterated over and over that it was important that we avoid mindlessly devouring all that we were given, especially about anthroposophy. We were encouraged to do our own soul searching, research, and come to our own understanding of things.

As a former staunch and extremely vocal Waldorf critic, I really appreciated this. So far I have not heard anything about the necessity of "changing" left-handed children to become right-handed--and if I do I will re-post about it!

Cheers, Leann

lorrielink's Avatar lorrielink 08:49 PM 08-19-2002
i would just have to comment on bad karma-manual labor. since when is manual labor a "bad" thing. are they saying that all farmers in a previous life where bad people?
happygardener's Avatar happygardener 02:54 AM 08-20-2002
Originally posted by fionnsmom
i would just have to comment on bad karma-manual labor. since when is manual labor a "bad" thing. are they saying that all farmers in a previous life where bad people?
I think this is kind of an unusual interpretation of left-handedness--in part because farmers, carpenters, etc. are spoken of well in Waldorf education, as well as manual arts ranging from handwork to gardening to carpentry being included in the curriculum. Participation in work with the hands is seen as beneficial for a number of reasons, educational, spiritual--as well as learning the value of the things we encounter in life, such as the food on our plate (someone grew it--how much work does it take to grow a vegetable, to dig a plot, plant and tend seeds, weed, harvest?) and the table the plate is sitting on (someone had to cut the wood, saw it into planks, put it together, sand it, finish it).

One thought I have is that perhaps the statement about left-handedness indicating manual labor in a past life might not be accurate. Many people say things they think Steiner said, sometimes they even publish it. Sometimes they just repeat what others have said they have heard or read.

Anyway, just my 2 cents!

Leann, who trained as an auto mechanic and loves digging in the dirt!
lorrielink's Avatar lorrielink 04:16 AM 08-20-2002
i think im just going to put down the whole bad karma connected to manual labor thing down to someones misinformation. im certainly glad thats not a common thing with the waldorf way.

i like all the things you said about appreciating food, where it comes from and the whole process. this is something ive lived by for several years. not because of some spiritual revelation or nething like that. but by living very close to nature and knowing people who think like that as a normal way of life, not something they had to work at in the first place KWIM? it seems very parralell with cultures that have never been industrialized in the first place. very interesting, thank you.
TraceyMc's Avatar TraceyMc 09:23 AM 08-20-2002
I just spoke to dd's waldorf teacher about the the left hand thing, because my dd is left handed. She said no one on our school would try to make her right handed and she had never heard of the manual labor thing either. I hope it is something someone made up because it kind of goes against the whole waldorf theory of working with the hands doesn't it? Wouldn't that be bad karma for the whole thing??:

happygardener's Avatar happygardener 11:29 AM 08-20-2002
Just so folks know, I am still very much a questioning mind about stuff I am receiving in my teacher training. I think it's good that all parents are--and each family in the light of their own circumstances makes the decisions that works best for them.

Glad you all are so open!

I Believe in Fairies's Avatar I Believe in Fairies 03:31 AM 08-24-2002
I was left handed when I entered *public* school in 1977 when I was four. My kindergarden teacher would smack me, belittle me, and even slapped me for using my left hand. She's now the principle of the elementary *public* school in the town I was raised in.

My Great-Grandmother strapped my Mom's left arm to her body to make her use "the correct arm". MInd you, this woman had been a teacher in one room school houses across the midwest at the turn of the last century. She was greatly in favor of birth control, women's liberation, and extended breast feeding. She was one of the founding members of Planned Parenthood in the SF Bay Area.

Left-Handedness was considered a sign of Satan during the Witch Hunts. That stupidity arose because the bible says that when Jesus went to Heaven He sat on the *right* hand side of God. Christian mythology then said that Lucifer has sat on the left hand.

One of the many, many reasons I would not have made it out of the Burning Times alive.
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