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Does Waldorf explain its pedagogy?

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  • winters_diana
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2005
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      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 identifies
      >Waldorf education as a pedagogy based on the philosophy of Rudolf
      >Steiner.

      Yes. But the question of who Steiner was, and what Steiner's
      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, and
      >its focus isn't "occultism" or "mysticism", but the development
      >of "free human beings".

      Boy, you are as good at the careful and inoffensive wording as anyone
      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 able
      >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
      >child.


      Yes, only the "I" they are talking about isn't the same "I" most of
      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.

      Diana
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