The Lion is About to Roar

Waldorf Principles

Fwd: In Your Neck of the Woods


From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:25 pm
Subject: Fwd: In Your Neck of the Woods

From: Diana Winters
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:14 pm
Subject: RE: In Your Neck of the Woods
To: waldorf-critics@topica.com

Christine wrote:

I say to your face, Diana Winters, that you are a SNAKE.

On anthroposophy_tomorrow, it was worse - I'm a B**** :)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/1813

but now I'm so scared of Christine's lawyer that I think it best to link rather than quote :)

Christine, I agree that I should probably have cc'ed you, it would have been more courteous. It didn't even occur to me. On anthroposophy_tomorrow, the critics are quoted virtually every day, and you yourself forward a gazillion things from other lists to anthroposophy_tomorrow! so this hissy fit seems a bit overblown to me.

Both lists are public, Christine. Perhaps you didn't realize that? Anyone on the web can read it, whether or not they're subbed to the list. You can read this one any time you like, and I can read yours any time I like (until or unless you guys decide to make it private - a very simple option, if you all would rather your conversations were not quoted or discussed elsewhere). There have been several running dialogues going on between the lists, for a few weeks now. Tarjei, for instance, quotes from this list virtually every day, he just posted in reply to Walden since I started writing this a few minutes ago.

Boy, this turned nasty fast, didn't it? You might consider adopting Linda Clemens' air of amused detachment, or hell, maybe she's calling a lawyer too.

Diana

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:25 pm
Subject: Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

Diana,

Forwarding items from one post to another is one thing, but attributing your own interpretations as to the writer's intentions, "fantasies" "dreams of" etc. is the wrong kind of manipulation, Diana. Don't take my statement lightly, either. One of the best law firms in the world is right in front of my house and there are plenty of young hot shots who would love a juicy internet libel case.

The nastiness has all originated from your side, Diana. I have always expressed understanding that there have been and could have been mistakes on the part of individual Waldorf Teachers and that all educational practices, in so much as they are practices which affect children who in effect belong to the society at large, should be constantly examined and re-evaluated. For example, your objection to left-hand switching has gotten me very interested in left brain/ right brain mainstream scientific study and analysis to the point where I plan to start going back to "regular" college to work on it.

But the way you think you are so cleverly "exposing" bits and pieces of what other people think only serves to amply illustrate the shallowness of your own thinking. You actually cannot or will not do the intellectual work involved, so you prefer a "hit and run" or "guerilla tactic" method of attack.

Meet me in the street, Diana - my educational psychology findings against yours. You will be suprised at what "mainstream science" is really thinking these days.

Don't look for "instant iced tea" type answers, though. We're both going to have a LOT of homework to do!

Christine

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:01 pm
Subject: Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

In a message dated 2/10/2004 9:42:50 PM Eastern Standard Time, Diana.Winters writes:

You have every right to daydream, in public, about a future where everyone agrees Waldorf education is so wonderful that it should be mandated. And I consider it worthwhile to point out that, to those of us who are not anthroposophists, such talk is, to say the least, alarming. Waldorf charter schools - which, in the US, means publicly funded schools - are exactly what you are dreaming of - the spirituality there is indeed "mandated" by the government for those children.

JESUS CHRIST, DIANA - YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN!!

I NEVER said that I was "daydreaming about a future where "everyone agrees Waldorf Education is so wonderful that it should be mandated."

YOUR WORDS -

Waldorf charter schools - which, in the US, means publicly funded schools - are exactly what you are dreaming of - the spirituality there is indeed "mandated" by the government for those children.

I SAID:

Subj: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles
Date: 2/9/2004

Hi Mike!

The purpose in writing this was not to criticize you or Tarjei or anyone else. I have always been the sort of person who gets real mad and just wishes I could roar loud enough to get the other person to back down and say I was right no matter what. But I think I had a high school teacher who was the one who really took time to show me how important it is to try to reign in those feelings (imagine trying to teach that to a 16 or 17 year old Leo girl!) and to try to develop an argument based on what the other person was actually saying.

I certainly am no great example of this, even thirty something years later, but I have a paranoid feeling about this WC/PLANS thing and it arises in me that we need to be able to fight fire with fire and leave an extremely clear record of our position and our reality. They may seem like a somewhat isolated group of right wing fanatics, but their kind of "information" spreads faster than truth and I am sure that Waldorf Schools and potential school communities are having to deal with a backlash from this mess all the time. Part of my intention in writing little "treatises" is to possibly give someone somewhere a response that they may not have the time to write themselves. So, if you all think there is any value in it, please pass it on to anyone that you think might need it. If you think corrections are needed first, please let me know.

As I said to Tarjei, this "mud" sticks to us all and we might not be able to foresee down the road how many people will turn up their noses at us if we even mention the word "Waldorf". If Waldorf schools get branded (wrongly and unfairly) as a "racist Nazi cult" which the WC/PLANS group is coming perilously close to doing, every one of us will be suspect and will have to spend the rest of our lives trying to explain, defend and exonerate ourselves. That is why I think we should be watching the court cases very closely and if anyone is directly involved or knows someone who is, try to insist that those buzz words not be allowed into the proceedings.

In my personal opinion, this is one of the biggest problems caused directly by the Waldorf School movement ever allowing Waldorf Education to be brought into a public school classroom in the first place. It was a stupid move. These are the things I think are wrong with the idea:

1. It brings Waldorf Education under the scrutiny and to an extent, under the control of the state government. While there is nothing about Waldorf Schools or Waldorf Education that needs to "hide", there are many aspects of our methodology which are ahead of their time and require a great deal of effort on our part to give the background and reasoning for. There are many elements of state education that we do not want to participate in, for example, pledging allegiance to a national flag. In this unparalleled time of flag-waving, the lack of the flag in the classroom is enough to raise antipathy from any government entity. Also elements such as the Sistine Madonna, morning verses with the word "God" in them, candle-lighting and other "rituals" of our day all envoke religious school practices and make state orthodoxy very uncomfortable, to say the least. Remember, these people want the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance itself!

Technically, Waldorf teachers come from many different backgrounds and from the inception of the first school, Steiner made it clear that a good teacher did not necessarily have to have a state teaching credential, but there were other criteria of character and life experience that were more important. The fact that some Waldorf teachers do not have state certification, some not even a standard Bachelor's degree is not something that sits well with the government, either.

2. The financial paradigm of tax funded education is wrong and against the social principles on which the Waldorf schools were founded.

3. The state schools as they exist today, since the 1960s have become self-proclamed bastions of secularism. Legal measures have been used ruthlessly to strip every religious element out of the public school classroom. The concept behind this (ostensibly) is to ensure that all children can feel comfortable in a public school setting and do not have to face potential ostracism due to their families' religious beliefs or lack of beliefs. Considering the amount of "Christianity" active in the public schools from around 1850 to 1950, there is a justifiable basis for this attitude.

If I had a kindergarten age child and, for whatever reason, had to or wanted to put him or her into a public school, I would be appalled if it were run as a Montessori school. The reason is that Maria Montessori's EXPRESS purpose in her educational philosophy was to make all children good Catholics. Whether the methods and techniques of a private school system are "good" universally, the very existence of a "religious" or "spiritual" background is enough to justify keeping them out of the public school classroom.

Perhaps some day far in the future, Waldorf Education will be so universally desirable within society at large, that it will be mandated for all schools. But I have a feeling that if society moves in a more "spiritualized" direction, at least here in America, the rabid Christian fundamentalists will pounce on it first and we will see a "Christian" public school system the likes of which will make the early 20th century seem positively enlightened.

I've got to run. More later.

Love,
Christine

AND I CLARIFIED THIS WITH:

Subj: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Waldorf Principles
Date: 2/9/2004

I meant in a few more centuries, when (hopefully) the entire view of the human being will have matured. I certainly don't mean the infantile, egotistical views of "spirituality" that many people entertain today.

AND:

[link: "Waldorf Principles"]

Subj: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Waldorf Principles
Date: 2/9/2004

Sorry again - to clarify - not mandated by Government- but by the totality of the social environment. Please try to understand I am fantasizing a very different human community than what we live with today. You are trying to fit it into today's world and social/ political reality. That is not what I was trying to say. It's like French schools teach in French because the people in their society speak French. The government doesn't have to "mandate" it by law. Schools in a more "spiritual" society will teach in a more "spiritual" way because that will be the "language" of the people in that society.

Who knows what a few hundred years may bring about? : )

I NEVER EVEN SAID THAT IT HAD TO BE, OR I WISHED IT TO BE WALDORF EDUCATION, PER SE - I WAS COMMENTING ON THE REASONABLE EXPECTATION THAT THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM MOST WIDELY PRACTICED IN ANY GIVEN SOCIETY OUGHT TO BE AND IS THE REFLECTION OF THE MORES, BELIEFS AND MOST WIDELY HELD OPINIONS OF THAT GIVEN SOCIETY'S CITIZENS.

DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?????

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:49 pm
Subject: Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

In a message dated 2/10/2004 10:08:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Diana.Winters writes:

I'm sorry, I still don't respect an attempt to dig up some kind of justification for left-handed switching, since I am already very clear that the practice is unkind to children. To me, it is not an intellectually - or morally - justifiable exercise, to start from the premise that because Rudolf Steiner said it, I should go looking for some justification for it elsewhere. It isn't worth looking for - the practice should stop - and that is my starting point on that issue. So, I admit, I am not busily researching left brain/right brain cognitive science or neuropsychology. If this makes me shallow, you can have the point.

Diana,

I haven't spent my life looking for ways to be "unkind to children" or to support unthinkingly any ideas that are "unkind to children" no matter who expressed those ideas. However, as much as modern parents tend to be adverse to anything that may cause discomfort for their children, the process of both learning information and developing the resources of both mind and body in a way that optimises the individual's chances for success in the learning process is fraught by nature with uncomfortable moments and processes.

The child who wants to learn to play football is going to be in for some very uncomfortable moments and very uncomfortable processes of training and adapting both mind and body to acquiring the skills and theories of the game.

The child who wants to become an architect is going to be in for some very uncomfortable hours of struggling with advanced mathematics and physics.

The child who wants to dance ballet may actually experience bleeding toes.

The child who wants to go to college for anyone of a few hundred career opportunities in this society is going to have to learn a very uncomfortable amount of discipline and sacrifice of momentary pleasure for a much longer term reward.

The child who wants to learn to type or play the piano, violin, flute, drums, etc. is going to have to experience the discomfort of using the "weaker" hand (whether left or right) to the point where it becomes capable beyond it's "natural" state.

The parents of a child who want him or her to achieve self-discipline, self-direction and self-value in later life are going to have to allow that child to go through many and varied "discomforts" in all of the learning processes that will be involved. Very little in life comes without some form of "discomfort" and most people who value the concept that every generation needs to achieve something for itself in order to find fulfillment, accept that there will be such "discomforts" along the way.

I don't KNOW that writing with the left brain is more efficacious than writing with the right brain, but I think there will be mainstream evidence to support this idea. What is even more exciting, TO ME PERSONALLY, is that mainstream science is ALSO starting to recognize the value and application of right brain thinking - it's strengths and how it compliments and supports left brain thinking. This is truly exciting, in that it supports the validity of the kinds of "right-brain" activities that Waldorf Education has held in esteem for the better part of a century, during many decades when only left brain functions had any mainstream recognition in education.

Even if mainstream educational psychology were to "prove" that writing with the right brain was essential for successful linear and analytic learning throughout the course of a developing human's education (I am positing an "if" - I am NOT fantasizing a "when"!) Even then, I would agree that methods would have to be found and implemented that were designed to protect the self-esteem and emotional safety of each child involved. But since no such definitive pronouncement has been made, my personal opinion in the matter is that teaching to both sides of the brain is best and if there is an obstacle in any child to developing in the "normal" range of their capabilities, then therapies should be decided on a case by case basis with educators, parents and specialists involved.

Christine

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From: at
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:12 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

So Diana is essentially saying that before she ever asked us any "questions" about the practice of switching left-handed children in Waldorf she was already clear that she would not "respect" any answer she might encounter, no matter how well reasoned, how well researched or how scientific they might be. Well that is certainly telling. Now why is it such a common complaint on the WC list that you can't "talk to" (at) anthroposophists? The question is usually raised in such a way that it implies that anthroposophists are the problem, but if "talking" means what it usually does, then pretending to start a conversation when you are unprepared to listen to any response is probably more at the root of the problem.

Daniel Hindes

In a message dated 2/10/2004 10:08:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Diana.Winters writes:

I'm sorry, I still don't respect an attempt to dig up some kind of justification for left-handed switching, since I am already very clear that the practice is unkind to children. To me, it is not an intellectually - or morally - justifiable exercise, to start from the premise that because Rudolf Steiner said it, I should go looking for some justification for it elsewhere. It isn't worth looking for - the practice should stop - and that is my starting point on that issue. So, I admit, I am not busily researching left brain/right brain cognitive science or neuropsychology. If this makes me shallow, you can have the point.

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:24 pm
Subject: Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

In a message dated 2/10/2004 11:14:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, momof2gals writes:

Truth is the ultimate defense against libel. You cannot libel someone if you are telling the truth about him or her.

That's one of the useful things about a court of law (in it's intended ideal state, anyway). It is supposed to provide a forum for the truth. If someone makes a statement that is INJURIOUSLY negative toward someone else, then they must provide proof that the statement is true or face whatever legal consequenses are deemed appropriate by the court to make amends. (Sorry for the caps, I have an old e-mail provider and my font formatting doesn't usually show up, so caps are my only means of emphasis.)

The words "racist" "Nazi" and "cult" are significantly INJURIOUS to the reputation and work of any group in the United States and most countries of the world today. Allowing these words to be attached to Waldorf Education or Anthroposophy cannot be permitted. The words must be clearly defined in their usage and specific examples of application provided. Speculation will not suffice. I have outlined in my previous post what are the definitions that I believe are commonly and universally accepted and why examples of specific applications cannot be found.

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:27 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: In Your Neck of the Woods

In a message dated 2/10/2004 11:20:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, at [Daniel] writes:

then pretending to start a conversation when you are unprepared to listen to any response is probably more at the root of the problem.

Exactly! which is why I responded so snidely when I pointed out the "pigs and mud" quote to Daniel! I was angry at the realization that she simply wasn't listening to a word he was saying and refused to even acknowledge that he was actually working on a reasonable answer to her question.

Aaarrrgghhhhh!!!!!

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