Does Waldorf explain its pedagogy?
- I started but didn't finish this last week, in reply to a post of
Linda's. I think it was when she was talking to John. Sorry once
again to have lost the original post and can't deal with wading
through the 300 posts since then to find it.
Linda Clemens wrote:
>I'd say that the Waldorf movement very consistently identifiesYes. But the question of who Steiner was, and what Steiner's
>Waldorf education as a pedagogy based on the philosophy of Rudolf
philosophy is based on, is generally fudged, unless the audience has
been preselected for spiritual receptivity. The audience at a typical
Waldorf open house or parent lecture can safely be assumed not to
have any idea who Rudolf Steiner really was, and they're just fine
with keeping it that way.
>Waldorf education is a manifestation of the philosophy, andBoy, you are as good at the careful and inoffensive wording as anyone
>its focus isn't "occultism" or "mysticism", but the development
>of "free human beings".
in the Waldorf PR machine. No, the "focus" of the education isn't
occultism, but the *foundation* of the education is. Keith has
pointed to the philosophical underpinnings of more mainstream
education, like Rousseau and John Dewey, who did not need to posit
astral and etheric bodies and past lives, assign different missions
to different skin colors, and did not include a creation myth and
cosmology and hierarchies of angels in their understandings of the
needs of the developing child. (The analogy would be if perhaps in a
mainstream school, kindergarteners were repeatedly told Rousseau's
fable of the noble savage, painted it in watercolors, watched it
enacted by puppets, sang little songs about the noble savage . . .)
Of course, many forms of religious education have mystical bases,
assume the child as a spiritual being etc. RELIGIOUS forms of
education. The very simple corollary of this is that those parents
enrolling their children need to understand what the religion is
about. If you haven't noticed (though Bradford is convinced it means
we're "afraid of occultists"), more often it is that the parents
already have their own belief system which they're happy with and
wish to transmit to their children, and the odds of it being
anthroposophy? Slim to none.
>Steiner's concept of "freedom" is one in which a human being is ableYes, only the "I" they are talking about isn't the same "I" most of
>to give his true *I* or unique *self* developed expression in
>thinking, creating, and fullfilling the purpose of his own life, and
>Steiner's educational theories posit how to help develop free
>thinking human beings with attentive guidance to the developing
us are hoping for our children to be developing. It's something like
Bradford Riley's phantasmagorical half-dissociated hallucinative "I,"
and had I read a post or two of Bradford-ese before signing up for
Waldorf, I'd have quickly realized I should go look for a school that
would concentrate on the 3 R's and a healthy balance of art and sport
and extracurriculars, and snatched him quickly back from these people
with their nutty notions of doing "soul work" on my child.