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My apologies ahead of time for quoting here on this thread from a different thread. However, I assume that since this is off of the MDC and everyone could search it and read it if they wanted, I would post it here. I hope this doesn't cause any arguments or disrespect. None intended from me!! This doesn't seem like too controversial a topic, but I don't know that since I am just beginning a serious investigation for personal use, of Waldorf, to decide if it's a good fit for my family.<br><br>
beansavi wrote on the original thread on June 2005. It comes from a thread now closed and currently now discussed on the Personal Growth forum.<br><br>
QUOTE: MUSE: Something we're struggling with a bit right now is the "labeling" of children that goes on; is this universal in waldorf? When ds started in kindergarten the teacher referred to some children as "melancholy" and some as "sparky". We said, hmm, are there any other types of children besides that and she said no. She wouldn't let on what category she put our son in, but I'm guessing sparky, and that that had all sorts of negative connotations; cheeky, mischievous, 'too much energy'. Now he has a new teacher and she says at the end of the day, when he is bubbling and excited and talkative, that he had "not good energy today", and then one day when he was sick, exhausted, had black circles under his eyes, said, "he had a very good energy level today". As in, boys (in particular) are supposed to be quiet, subdued, passive little things. Not at all what we signed up for.<br>
Is this typical?[/quote]<br><br>
Sorry to take so long in responding...<br><br>
Yes, Muse, this labelling is the foundation of my Waldorf teacher training, and it effected everything from the way I taught a lesson, to where I seated children in relation to each other, etc. The labels are:<br><br>
Choleric-leader, fiery<br>
Melancholic-sensitive, prone to the blues<br>
Sanguine-flitting from one task to the next, losing interest quickly<br>
Phlegmatic-methodical, precise<br><br>
(These are brief descriptions.)<br><br>
Some children are considered in Waldorf blends of two, and also considered to change over the course of childhood.<br><br>
--------------------------------------------<br>
Here's my comments (Rachel):<br><br>
I'm trying to learn all I can about Waldorf, so you'll see my other posts starting tonight 3/19/08 elsewhere on MDC.<br><br>
I wanted to post about this personality labeling. I've read a few books on my own about personality/termperament typing. In college I was a fan of the Choleric/Melancholy/Sanguine/Phlegmantic typing based on Hippocrates' system.<br><br>
Then, before I had children, but while I was thinking of getting pregnant at my own age of about 26 (I'm now 33) I started reading David Keirsey (Please Understand Me II) and it rang so much more true for me. It's similar to Meyers-Briggs Temperament typing but it is different and Keirsey does discuss the differences. I know also that Keirsey's work is very popular in education circles--the staff in one of our Michigan county school administration buildings all learned the basic Keirsey typing system under a simplified version of it called True Colors which uses Gold, Green, Blue and Orange. Meyers-Briggs is the foremost version used throughout the world. I wouldn't be surprised if Keirsey's overtakes that at some point. My mom interviewed for a job at a human resources legal advisement firm and they used the Keirsey test to evaluate her for consideration for employment with them.<br><br>
One thing that I like about typing (and I would only use Keirsey at this point, but I'm no expert) is that it allows us to understand a person somewhat better, mainly how we can interact with them. Good for when you're just getting to know someone. I think it is important to use it consciously, and not for labeling, but for learning. I will be thinking about whether typing lends too much of a danger for labeling, or if it still holds any value when a conscious person is connecting and interacting with a child or another adult. Keirsey did say that a person is likely to change throughout their life. A person can test differently at different times. But, maybe it's interesting to note that I haven't thought in these terms for some time now, and that relating consciously to people with needs-based communication like Non-Violent Communication or generally authentic language finds me less interested in typing someone and more "responding" in the moment. On the other hand (again) I do remember some things about my husband's general Keirsey personality type that helps me keep perspective about why certain things are important to him. Do I need reminding? Yeah, sometimes, because those things are not important to him and I have to remember that my way is not the only way. I appreciate how Keirsey's system doesn't make one type seem better than another (whereas the interpretations of the Hippocratic system I mentioned earlier did at times seem a little down on the Melancholics and Phlegmatics). Keirsey details so many different traits about each type, both the positive and "could use some work on this"--done mostly in the context of how the types relate to each other; it's very much about how the types relate and can relate better.
 

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I'm not sure exactly what your question is but this is our first year in kindergarten and my son has never been "labeled". I have studied a little about the temperaments, even brought it up once with the teacher because I find it quite interesting but I haven't found the teachers to really use it or at least talk about it where we are.<br><br>
On a side note, I don't find the temperament labeling to be all that demeaning but if you study a bit about it, it can be helpful in dealing with a child in certain situations or choosing which tasks/activities in the classroom may complement which children the best. It is supposed to create a more harmonious classroom setting from what I understand.<br><br>
On a final note, bear in mind that I was paranoid about all of these scathing things happening in our school after reading those threads but have been delighted to find things quite the opposite for us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hmm, that was me you quoted at the beginning there and it was so interesting to re-read 2+ yrs later. We're hs-ing now and seriously thinking about sending DS back to (a different ) waldorf school and I'm very nervous about some of the same issues popping up again.<br><br>
Also interesting to look back and reflect on ds's personality; no way is he a choleric! In fact, I really can't put him in any one of those categories. I'd say he's pretty well balanced kid, but back then had some sensory integration issues that were going undiagnosed (the black circles were a big sign, but no teacher ever noticed them, and we didn't recognise/treat any of this till a yr ago).<br><br>
I'm guessing this all comes down to the teacher; how old fashioned or dogmatic they are, or how much other training and education they've done to have a broader perspective. I'm definitely nervous about the labelling of boys energy as negative, heard way too many bad stories about boys' experiences...but that's another thread probably.
 

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Temperaments can't even be spotted before grade school, so if teachers are using this stuff in kindergarten or nursery school they are way off-target to begin with.
 

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What I saw and heard is a little different take. The temperaments were raised in kindergarten, but it was explained that it was a "at the moment" snapshot, and that very definitely people's temperaments change to a greater or lesser extent throughout life, and very often the kindergartener's temperament changes-it wasn't a lifelong "label", it was more of a rough sketch of personality, for lack of a better word. The temperaments aren't shared with the students, and personally I never found any reason at all to worry about them being "labeled". I can tell you that the labels I hear now most often from the teachers are things like "artistic", "logical", "a leader", "calming voice", and haven't heard the so-called "Waldorf" temperaments mentioned in years. All teachers have their own shorthand for the temperaments of their students. Some students can't sit still, love a challenge, or are the first to throw their hands up when teacher asks a question. Some are passive, some are assertive. Some wither to be corrected, others have their head in the clouds, some boisterous, others don't like noisy commotion......Some of the labels very common in schools these days are "visual learner" or "kinaesthetic learner". Sure, people can be pigeon-holed by too much attention to "labels". But they can also be poorly served by ignoring their tendencies and characteristics all together.<br><br>
The way I see temperaments used in my children's school is simply to offer some tools for teachers to better engage with or involve the students. It helps the teacher see ways to maybe smooth social interactions between students. Teachers are expected to be mindful of their own temperaments because that's seen as just as important.
 
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