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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we just started a parent & tot Waldorf program...DH went with her the first day & I'm very excited to go next week. he said they had an amazing time.<br><br>
He told me (because he & everyone else knows I am very very anti-behaviorism) that the assistant told our daughter "good job" and even "good girl" quite a few times. I'd like to call them and offer them some information on the drawbacks of praise and phrases like that. her class is very small, just a couple of kids, so I'm hoping if I approach them in a reallly nice way they won't mind accomodating me on it.<br><br>
Does Steiner/waldorf/anthroposophy have any opinion about praise with children? I know back then it wasn't like 'good job' was even being thrown around like it is now. and he has such a huge library of writing I wouldn't even know how to start checking. Do any Waldorf schools have a no praise policy or philosophy?<br><br>
thank you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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What? I have never heard anyone say they are anti praise before in my life?<br><br>
I am really interested on your philosophy of this.<br><br>
Also anti behaviorism? I am assuming you don't know a whole lot about "behaviorism"? and you have all kinds of ideas of what it is that are unrealistic?<br><br><br>
Being a behavior analyst as well as a waldorf and AP parent Im just very curious. I know a lot of AP people have issues with behavior analysis and I believe this comes from misunderstanding such as that behavior analysis somehow clashes with positive parenting.<br><br>
Is it just the basic belief that we should do things with no reward? Or a different definition of what reward means than mine maybe?<br><br>
I am just in shock I guess that someone would have an issue with someone saying "good job" or praising their child.<br><br>
I would maybe have an issue with it being said over and over because its not very descriptive. I would rather hear thanks for blah blah or o wow youre doing such and such so ad adjective here,<br><br><br>
Good girl I dont like and dont hear very often at all.<br><br>
Im just very very curious...<br><br>
I dont mean to come off negatively at all, if I am. MY way of thinking is for sure not the only or best.... Im not trying to start an argument or get you to answer so I can attack you or tell you my views I am honestly just curious and intrigued.
 

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This was an article in the 2003 fall issue of <i>Renewal: A Journal of Waldorf Education</i> talking about the negative repercussions of praise. It also quotes <i>Mothering</i> and Alfie Kohn. It details how praising a child takes away their internal motivation and satisfaction with themselves (doing things for the reaction of adults rather than their own pleasure). It seems that Waldorf (and many other non-traditional education systems) are anti-praise for this reason.<br><br><a href="http://www.quantumparenting.com/articles/14/" target="_blank">To Praise or Not to Praise</a>
 

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I am kind of on the anti-praise side, although I don't like anything which gets sort of automatic, either way.<br><br>
I think there is a difference between shared delight: consider a child taking his/her first steps. Everyone will be smiling and laughing and expressing pleasure; and unearned praise where perfectly routine behaviors are treated as achievements.<br><br>
A long time ago, a mom I know told me that she found herself thanking her husband for taking care of the kids for a couple of hours. And then she whacked herself on the head. They were his kids, too. Why should he receive thanks or special acknowledgement for taking care of his own children? Equally, children shouldn't be praised for washing their hands, practicing basic politeness, doing their scheduled chores and so on.<br><br>
On the other hand, if your kid cooks you a great breakfast on Mothers Day (or even not such a great breakfast), a big hug and kiss is certainly appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for asking yukookoo! I'm getting the idea that I may need to start from scratch with the Waldorf school, they may have never heard of it? I will definitely talk to them about it to make sure we'll be a good fit for the school after this parent/tot program.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yukookoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12389895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am assuming you don't know a whole lot about "behaviorism"?</div>
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I would say I'm an expert in parenting behaviorism because every time I leave the house I see people putting their kids in time outs, or threatening to spank them, or manipulating them through praise. I see it all day every day in mainstream articles giving behaviorist advice about reward charts or time outs. My friends who send their kids to public schools see it every day in the reward/punishment charts which apparently on every school wall (if your frog moves one lily pad, you get warning and loss of some priviledge, two and a 5 min timeout, and so on). Anyone who watches Supernanny can get such a huge dose of behaviorism that they can be pretty well versed in what it is. It's not hard to see it since it's absolutely everywhere. and every time I see it, I see it not working, ineffective, and hurting the child its being inflicted on.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yukookoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12389895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">and you have all kinds of ideas of what it is that are unrealistic?<br></div>
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my ideas definitely aren't unrealistic <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Naomi Aldort's book Raising our children raising ourselves promises to take the struggle out of parenting and it totally delivers. the other books that explain the philosophy are Unconditional Parenting, Connection Parenting, Playful Parenting, How to talk so kids will listen...., and Between Parent and Child, among others.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yukookoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12389895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is it just the basic belief that we should do things with no reward?</div>
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yes! in parenting and in school anyway. no rewards or punishments, Kohn explains how they are two ends of the same spectrum.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yukookoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12389895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would maybe have an issue with it being said over and over because its not very descriptive. I would rather hear thanks for blah blah or o wow youre doing such and such so ad adjective here</div>
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yes that's definitely a big reason, and a good one. but in addition to that is the more serious lack of interest in learning that results as well as the drop in self esteem as they become dependent on doing actions for praise rather than intrinsic motivation. I remember John Holt has a chapter called 'praise junkies' in his book Learning all the time. It's definitely a foreign idea at first, and it's like trying to explain how to see the air. I hope this has sparked an interest in investigating more! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There are lots of links to this type of thing, here are two<br><br><a href="http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/supernanny.htm" target="_blank">http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/supernanny.htm</a><br><br><a href="http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm" target="_blank">http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
knittinanny thank you for the link!!! perfect!<br><br>
Deborah, I am right on the same page as you. I am very enthusiastic a lot! we still express delight, gratitude, etc.<br><br>
I feel that praise is the opposite of validation, even though it is often confused as the same thing. So just because we (me & my UP parenting group) reject praise, we are definitely still enthusiastically communicating, even more so (we feel) becuase we don't have the behaviorism in the way all the time! We get a lot of concerns that without praise the child won't be validated, which is definitely untrue, we feel our children are truly validated! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I am doing a Masters study in motivation and education so I had to chime in - I've just finished my thesis - yaaaayyyyyy, sorry ...<br><br>
Anyway, to answer the question about Steiner and praise - Steiner theory follows two theorists work - Piaget & Vygotsky - in cognitive development and I know that they believe in encouraging intrinsic (internal) motivation through following appropriate stages of development.<br><br>
I haven't read anything directly in the Steiner literature on praise - it may be that they encourage intrinsic motivation through a variety of strategies rather than outlawing praise altogether. I'm sure if you presented your ideas to the school in an open way they might consider them.<br><br>
I have to admit that my feeling on behaviourist motivation is that it is very effective for <i>behaviour</i>. Cognitive motivational theories are much more effective for <i>learning</i>. I also believe that certain temperaments prefer different types of motivation - extraverts need more praise than introverts for instance. You might find the idea of Mastery Learning (learning engaged in because a person has a desire to learn) suits your ideas about motivation and there is very recent research supporting mastery motivation and teaching in schools. Hey, feel free to PM if you want me to rant more, lol
 

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I have always read about Carl Jung's work in Waldorf. For instance, focusing on Galen's temperaments as well as understanding extroverts and introverts, as well as using the Archetype images. I also see the idea of social learning and modeling as well so I see where you would say Vgotsky.<br><br>
I think that for the OP the important thing is going to be what you choose to do in your own home. Hearing good job or good girl (which I have heard in Waldorf) is not going to harm your child from others because the entire foundation of her growing up is coming from you. I would not worry too much about it, as you can't change what others will say to your child, but you can just brush past it and gently guide her elsewhere instead of focusing on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>fluttermama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12391324"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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I think that for the OP the important thing is going to be what you choose to do in your own home. Hearing good job or good girl (which I have heard in Waldorf) is not going to harm your child from others because the entire foundation of her growing up is coming from you. I would not worry too much about it, as you can't change what others will say to your child, but you can just brush past it and gently guide her elsewhere instead of focusing on it.</div>
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Thanks for the info! I am still focusing on this praise thing because if I choose to send her to a school we'd be paying that much for (after the tot program, looking to the future), I'd like to make sure they had the same philosophy about behaviorism. I think parenting is obviously the most important, but if I'm sending her to a school, they will have a lot of influence on her and I don't want to discount that influence just because I have more influence. I also have other educational options, we have a local Reggio school that has a no-praise philosophy in effect (and has Alfie Kohn on their reference/reading list), and there is also a huge homeschool community here, so I'm definitely personally focusing on this as a potential deal breaker for me in choosing Waldorf in the future. I think I'll sit down with them and ask them more about their philosophy (at this particular school), which I guess everyone does when exploring Waldorf? only with me, my philosophical concerns would be possibly new to them.
 

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Good ole Alfie... I agree with much of what he says, but I think he dumps out the baby with the bathwater sometimes too. While I can understand concern with overused phrases such as good girl and good job, I think a school that never gives any praise in any form would be negative.<br><br>
I understand the dislike for phrases such as "good girl" or "good job" which are vague, overused and rendered meaningless.<br><br>
However, I disagree with Kohn in saying that we should not pass value judgment. I want my kids to know what my values are and to grow up with them. So I will say "We don't hit; that's not kind. We use our words". Simply saying we don't hit does not pass on values to the child, does not give them the understanding to develop internal restraint.<br><br>
Additionally, I don't believe it's possible to not cast judgment. For example, if my friend comes over with a new haircut, I can say nothing lest I cast judgment. However, the simple and deliberate act of saying nothing is casting judgment in and of itself. I don't know a single woman who, if their close friend didn't comment on their brand new hairstyle, would not feel either ignored or negative. Simply stating facts "Oh, you got a haircut" would be perceived negatively for sure.<br><br>
I think it's the same with our children. I know people (and maybe you all on here have a different approach) who will not say "That's a beautiful painting" because it shows approval. They will only say "Wow! That's a lot of blue". Our children *need* our approval. They are wired for it. Why? They are wired for it because we are supposed to pass on to them our values and because part of attachment is approval.<br><br>
The problem as I see it is that this all has been taken to a huge extreme where praise is overgiven and becomes either meaningless or actually detrimental. Instead of being given selectively, it's given so much that children can't live without it, are not motivated without it etc - all of the things the mentioned authors said which are true.<br><br>
However, I feel we sometimes go from one extreme of the pendulum to the opposite extreme. We have one generation decrying the ills of being overpraised. Will we have another generation decrying the ills of growing up with parents always seeking to withold their approval and support? There needs to be happy medium.<br><br>
While it sounds like many on here have realized that and tho foregoing praise "phrases" are still showing enthusiasm (which is just another way of saying praise tho I understand it's being used because it's *another* and healthier way) there are many (maybe not on here) who are going to the opposite extreme and unnaturally going out of the way to avoid approval, praise, enthusiasm, anything that would show a judgment call of liking something.<br><br>
Partly why this is important to me is because of the Love Languages. Some psychologists say there are 5 ways people express and receive love - physical affection, gifts and surprises, acts of service, quality time and lastly thru words of encouragement. If you think about it, everyone you know is doing one of those things and you may have had a parent you felt unloved by because they were doing one of those while you desparately wanted another. We tend to show love in the language we feel most loved, not in the language the recipient feels most loved by.<br><br>
All that to say, to some children, words of encouragement are going to be vitally crucial. Now this doesn't mean you have to constantly be uttering overused and meaningless phrases such as good girl or good job. It does mean some children need to be told "Wow, I love the way you were so focused while painting that (if they were focused) and used that blue color so beautifully" or "I noticed I never need to ask you to do your chores and I really appreciate that you contribute to this family so willingly. I appreciate your thoughtfullness. You are so responsible and I feel certain that is a trait that will serve you well in life".<br><br>
Now why does something need to be said when it's something the child should be doing anyway? Because you *noticing* it means the world to them - makes them realize you love them, encourages them to continue in the right path rather than thinking noone notices or cares. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with showing love to people in that way. There's nothing wrong with wanting approval. That's where I disagree with Kohn. He's trying to do away with an entire love language. Yes, it can be abused and people can think they aren't capable if noone notices, but noticing the good others do is not in and of itself wrong. Using praise and words of encouragement selectively and *sincerely* is necessary for all and vital to some I believe.<br><br>
Just wanted to share another way of looking at it....
 

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greenmama2AJ, congrats on your thesis! I am a grad student too and looking forward to finishing anything!! Did Steiner explicitly draw on Vygotsky? I've read quite a bit about Vygotsky (and a bit of V in english translation, one of my profs here, Michael Cole, was instrumental in helping to translate and popularize his work in English) but wasn't aware Steiner was drawing upon his theories (were they even available in translation back then?). Or are you just suggesting that there are similarities between the two? Or that Waldorf can be seen as implementing some of the same strategies that Vygotsky et al seem to suggest? I can see how the social setting at Waldorf kindy is Vygotskian, using adult competence to encourage the children's development, the multi-age grouping for the same, focus on work as a learning activity, importance of cultural artifacts, etc. But frankly the grades don't strike me as very Vygotskian (from what I know of them).<br><br>
okay I know its pretty off-topic I was just surpirsed to see Vygotsky mentioned on this board.<br><br>
I'm on the non-praise side (but not excessively so, I certainly express genuine pleasure and thanks regularly, but I am very, very careful never to make those empty sorts of comments). I've never seen or heard the Waldorf teachers at my son's new school using "good job" type statements, they are more descriptive. They say that modeling and redirection are their primary methods in early ed-- which is not just a Waldorf thing, but is, I beleive, developmentally appropriate according to other progressive educators. Also, they were very clear with us (we asked a lot about discipline, praise, etc) that they are careful never to compare the children to one another, never to hold one child up for praise or criticism in front of the others, etc. I was highly uncomfortable with the behavior modification strategies used at many schools we visited. (time outs, shaming, excessive praise). Most people think its a great thing, so I found that administrators are pretty proud of their methods and share them readily.
 

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wow ok well I agree <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> completely.<br><br>
Ok 2 points to make haha I will try to be coherent although DD refuses to nap so it will be cut up typing while nursing and rocking and singing haha<br><br>
1. Praise as reinforcement just like any other reinforcement needs to be done in moderation. I have heard much more about not enough praise because typically when I see a case it's because there is a problem. I have learned so much from MDC <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Yes it is also very important to fade off praise and to not overdue it as well as to do it appropriately.<br><br>
Lets take toilet training which i know many on MDC dont do in a typical way, but the typical get a stamp or sticker when you potty int he toilet method does not turn into adults walking around with stamps on their hands. When I use the toilet no one tells me good girl, or good job or gives me a sticker.<br><br>
At the same time, if I am working on some sort of hygiene skill with an adult for example brushing teeth. The praise would be more about the feeling of clean teeth than o good job brushing or wow yey you did it, it would be like "o wow doesn't it feel so nice to have clean teeth" or "your breath smells.... whatever nice <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> "<br><br>
SO the same thing can happen in general with praise in your home. One of the principles or reinforcement or reward or praise is that the learner needs to be in a state of deprivation - dont get turned off yet keep readin - not in a negative way it just means not full or still wanting more. So if a child is praised constantly all day long for everything, praise will no longer work.<br><br>
It's a really good point and reminder. There is no need to use praise constantly. If there is a behavior that you would like to see increase then use praise, but there is reinforcement built into our society in all sorts of ways that most people dont even notice. I like to have clean hands so i wash them, but its not the ONLY reason i wash my hands.... ANyway behaviors are maintained by all sorts of things.<br><br>
So long story short, good point haha I agree <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
If I were working with your child and you came and handed me some of the articles linked here. I would take a look at them and work with it. I assume that your child's teacher would really benefit from the discussion the way I have <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
ok second point:<br><br><br>
Huge difference between Applied Behavior Analysis done well and done not well or bye unqualified individuals claiming to be qualified such as nanny 911 who has no training in behaviorism or behavior analysis. Thats like saying I am anti psychology as a field because I hate Dr. Laura. Dr. Laura is not a psychologist.<br><br>
There are NO standards in the field as of now. it's incredible sad. 9 out of 10 programs I see are not being done well, meaning the principles of applied behavior analysis are not being applied or are not understood by the "expert" Even many Board Certified Behavior Analysts are not GOOD behavior analysts. So MOST people I meet or talk to or work with think they know what behavior analysis is and have no clue because they have been told by an "expert" all kinds of things that are not representative of the field at all.<br><br>
I am not doing this in ANY way to promote myself or my website or practice, but on our website, we have a links page with some great links that explain more about behavior analysis. <a href="http://www.homebaseaba.com" target="_blank">www.homebaseaba.com</a>
 

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<i>Anyway, to answer the question about Steiner and praise - Steiner theory follows two theorists work - Piaget & Vygotsky - in cognitive development and I know that they believe in encouraging intrinsic (internal) motivation through following appropriate stages of development.</i><br><br>
I too am really surprised to read this! While I have heard Waldorf educators talk about how Steiner's view of development and W pedagogy jive with some of what Piaget concluded, I have never heard one talk about Piaget or Vygotsky as a primary influence. I believe that W education is quite un-Vygotskian, in fact. I would love to know more about what you have studied on that!
 

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At school or in a parent-tot class or just out and about I find it highly annoying to listen to adults giving meaningless (or superfluous) praise for normal things my son does anyway, and which he did not do for an adult audience, but instead because its what he wanted to do (he rides a bike not because he wants to be a "big boy" but because its wonderfully fun to do, he eats the meals we provide not because he's a "good eater" but because he enjoys the food and his body is hungry, etc). I do think that the Waldorf approach as I've seen it and learned about it *assumes* that children actually want to be an integrated part of the group, and thus wouldn't need a lot of external pushing (via praise or extrinsic rewards) to do things in the expected way. If children need correction it should be done gently and with the assumption that they would be behaving in the accepted/expected way if they could.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yukookoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12393962"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">At the same time, if I am working on some sort of hygiene skill with an adult for example brushing teeth. The praise would be more about the feeling of clean teeth than o good job brushing or wow yey you did it, it would be like "o wow doesn't it feel so nice to have clean teeth" or "your breath smells.... whatever nice <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> "<br><a href="http://www.homebaseaba.com" target="_blank">www.homebaseaba.com</a></div>
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haha, well thats pretty much how we talked about toilet learning around here-- no stickers or stamps or "poopoo candy" like his friends had-- b/c my son HATED to have a dirty or wet diaper- he actually had a lot of intrinsic motivation to use the toilet. So, when we discussed it (mostly we just provided him the toilet and the knowledge how to use it, as well as regular reminders at first) I talked to him about how he wouldn't have to wear diapers anymore, and he wouldn't have to be wet or poopy, and that he could be in charge of his body and wouldn't need my help, etc. I also did tell him (when he started using the toilet more) that I was glad to have less laundry and fewer dirty diapers to wash. And I am sure he could sense my pleasure in his using the toilet, I didn't try to hide that either.<br><br>
That said, I think our approach to encouraging self-care at home has been much more "montessori" than waldorf-- partly b/c I frankly get turned off by some of the waldorf parenting advice so I haven't read as much of it (not so much a problem for me with the pedagogical aspects, at least for early ed).
 

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Oh no, don't encourage me, lol<br><br>
I should clarify my poor explanation<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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By "follows" I mean that Steiner is <i>similar in orientation</i> to Piaget's and Vygotsky's developmental theories on learning and child development - not that it followed chronologically. Sorry about the confusion.<br>
Steiner wrote his book in 1907 or so *I think* and Piaget and Vygotsky were writing in the 1920's and 1930's. But they 'follow the same line of thinking', does that make sense.<br><br>
Although Piaget and Vygotsky are often contrasted, they really have a lot in common - they both believe in learning through social and pretend play, and they both have similiar views on the importance of cognitive development through internal motivation.<br>
Where they differ is in their thoughts on language development.<br>
Piaget believes this is a cognitive skill learnt at an age appropriate developmental stage, where as Vygotsky believes language development is crucially linked to cultural expectations. Steiner schooling follows Piagets stages of development - encouraging language and writing development starting around age 7 - but it also encourages cultural immersion and codes similiar to Vygotsky.<br><br>
There are many links between these 3 theorists.<br>
Steiner's stages of child development are closely aligned with Piaget.<br>
But their is a strong sense of cultural imitation in Steiner play - the idea that children play by mimicking their adults and should learn by immersion in the culture of their society - which is very Vygosky.<br><br>
In terms of praise and motivation - both Piaget and Vygotsky believe that external rewards should not be used.<br>
I agree that Steiner schools should encourage intrinsic motivation but I do wonder about the level of freedom allowed to pursue individual interest. For instance, children at Steiner schools are closely guided in their art classes. They produce amazing pieces of work, but it's mostly realist painting and art work - obviously heavily guided and instructed by the teacher. I get the sense that children would be told that there is a correct or incorrect way to draw the picture. While I'm not in every steiner classroom around the world, I would imagine that in a classroom environment like this "good girl" might be a phrase that is used on occasion.<br><br>
That's not to say that the steiner schools would be opposed to learning more about "no priase" environments, just that the reality is that most people use praise in a classroom environment.
 

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Greenmama, I find your take very interesting because while Piaget and Vygotsky are clearly developmental theorists whose work is incredibly influential, I would never have grouped Steiner with them. I was never aware of a waldorf teacher at my children's school's who had either studied in any signifucant way developmental theorists in their teacher training, or who would have drawn upon their work in practice. I think that the link is a real stretch. Was your work well received by your thesis advisor or commitee? Just interested.
 

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For anyone interested Mothering has a reprint available called The Hidden Price of Too Much Praise. I got it about a year ago and it's got some great points for thought.
 

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Greenmama, that makes more sense now. I was thinking the timing seemed off... especially since almost everything Vygotsky wrote (well, lectured about really, right?) was published posthumously. I also have thought about the connections between Waldorf pedagogy and Vygotskian theories (esp since I am TAing a practicum class right now where the college students are reading a little vygotsky and a lot of v-influenced stuff in these afterschool classes). But I certainly don't get the sense that there is a lot (or any) intellectual exchange between those educational camps.<br><br>
I have personally thought a lot about-- as the Montessori people call it-- the "prepared environment" and how that translates across some of these different theoretically-grounded pedagogies, all of which rely heavily on an adult-prepared environment negotiated by the children as a key learning tool. (again, making a distinction between W early ed and W grades, which seem quite different to me). It seems to be a big part of the teachers' working theory of motivation as well-- that children are driven to explore their environment and learn about it, so that the adults simply have to offer the opportunity, and children will grab at it.<br><br>
Oh, and my son LOVES Waldorf kindy. Thats actually the part I care the most about, it turns out, when I am thinking about my own child (and not children-in-general). And, BTW, his drawings at school look very similar to what he does at home. He loves to use lines. and he represents people all the time, and he has specific representational strategies that I know he's been working out on his own because we are really into providing him ample opportunity to do art at home. So I don't think, in his class anyway, that the teachers are guiding his visual expression much-- though I am aware that kids are not "supposed" to do line drawing yet in W schools (he's almost 4). He uses the corners of those block crayons...
 

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Rudolf Steiner College out in California used to have a comparative education theories course taught by a friend of mine. She also did guest teaching at other waldorf education institutes, but lately has been inactive due to health problems. She had been a teacher in a "special" school for many years and had an extensive background in waldorf and anthroposophy before going for a conventional PhD in education. Her courses were very popular and well-received.<br><br>
So there are a few hundred waldorf teachers who studied other leading educational theorists alongside their Steiner material.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Deborah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12404149"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So there are a few hundred waldorf teachers who studied other leading educational theorists alongside their Steiner material.</div>
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That is very nice to know. I value intellectual breadth and curiosity (perhaps obviously from my posts in this thread) and I would not have sent my son to his school if I had the feeling that the teachers were narrow-minded ideologues (they are not- they seem like very interesting, thoughtful people). I have also noticed that many of the teachers at my son's schools were teaching in other types of schools before they did their Waldorf training, so there is a lot of varied experience in the teacher community there. (not that all "mainstream" teachers get a robust theoretical background in their ed classes, but certainly some do).
 
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