except the eurythmy teacher

SWSF writes:

‘The misconceptions conveyed in the article about Steiner Free Schools need correcting. The suggestion that Steiner schools `dismiss` Darwin is absurd. The best way to celebrate the genius of Darwin or any other scientific thinker is to engage with his ideas and to place them in context. This is what good school do and it is what Steiner schools do. Contrary to the views of David Colquhoun and Edzard Ernst, Steiner schools are strongly pro-science. They are also pro-enquiry and pro-academic rigour. Young people today face the threat of having science-as-orthodoxy, what Sheldrake would call `scientism`, thrust upon them as a creed that may not be questioned. Our young people must be encouraged and equipped to question everything, including orthodoxy, just as Darwin did.’ [Emphasis added.]

Encouraged and equipped to question everything — except the eurythmy teacher?

And except all the other things Steiner waldorf schools don’t wish to see questioned? And with an exception made, of course, for all those things inquisitive children ask before they realise that their questions are systematically evaded by the teachers, as the children, according to anthroposophical dogma, are not yet spiritually mature enough to know more? (Can anyone find a more efficient way of eventually extinguishing a child’s desire to ask questions about anything?)

How, exactly, may I ask, are Steiner schools encouraging and equipping students to question everything? With a solid foundation of knowledge? With superior literacy and numeracy? There’s no point in questioning — even if the claim that they’re equipped to question were true — if you have no basis to stand on and no tools to utilize. Then all you end up with is mindless  and unfounded contradiction and spite. Something, I’m sure, most children, and even more so teenagers, can master without assistance of an ‘education’. That Steiner schools are ‘pro-academic rigour’ seems like qualified nonsense in general.

As Melanie pointed out on Twitter, it’s funny how they’re referring to Rupert Sheldrake in their effort to prove their scientific sanity. He’s doing ‘science’ on the psychic powers of dogs, among other things. Good thing for him that he’s not met mr Dog, because mr Dog would read his mind instantly (and might possibly find it suspiciously vacated? only Dog knows…).

In case somebody missed it, SWSF’s reply came in response to this TES article.

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12 comments

  1. I’m embarrassed by the SWSF, or Alan, as we should rightly call it. He’s let the movement down, he’s let his friends down, but most of all he’s let the psychic parrot down.

  2. .. or was that ‘out’?

  3. The psychic parrot has been let out of its cage!

  4. It’s now flying around blabbering about spiritual truths to the uninitiated. It might even start to reveal secrets from SWSF meetings.

  5. Completely disingenuous on their part. Questioning is NOT central in Steiner education, not even encouraged, not at any age. Until, apparently, you get to about 12th grade, then you can question … Darwin, and this mysterious thing called “scientism” (which I’m not persuaded even exists).

  6. Yes, and I’m sure it’s ok to question stuff like materialism. At least if you’re old enough to be allowed to know the word and how to spell it. 12th grade perhaps.

  7. Using the word ‘Scientism’ is just a form of sulking. There is good science and poor science, and spiritual science. Which isn’t science: it’s religion. It would save a lot of sweat if they just admitted that.

  8. great comment by Andy Lewis on the TES thread, where the SWSF have posted the same malarkey:

    “When Alan Swindell (coughs) from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship says that Steiner Schools are ‘strongly pro-science’ it is worth reflecting on how Rudolf Steiner thought he was ‘pro science’.

    Steiner believed he could extend science through direct contact with a spirit world. Through clairvoyance, new truths would be revealed to him – such as the facts that the British Isles float on the sea, humans are bipedal to aid praying, and that the spirit pumps blood causing the heart to beat.

    Of course, anyone who dismisses this as utter nonsense is guilty of the dogma of ‘scientism’. At least according to Sheldrake who believes your pets have extra-sensory perception.

    It is indeed scary that the government have given the green light to a barmpot crypto-religious organisation to take over our schools. And worse, an organisation that cannot be open about its true beliefs and intentions towards children.”

    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6290223

    I wonder at what point we’ll have gone too far, and Alan Swindell will sue us? He should bear in mind that Mr Dog always gets the White Rabbit.

    http://zooey.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/swsf-threatens-to-sue-critics-if-they-go-too-far/

  9. Oddly enough, nobody has gone too far so far. Apparently. Maybe too far was further away than mr Swindell could have dreamt in his wildest dreams. Maybe too far is all the way to the spirit worlds, which is why nobody ever gets there (or if they do, mr Swindell is not there to witness it). The ethereal kiosk has not gone too far and that is shocking, considering all tat has happened here. Would you believe it — yesterday I saw a gnome without a hat, Rudi fainted in a flower-pot and an intoxicated fairy babbled on about things too debauched to publish. And who dropped a bowl of ice-cream on the velvet sofa?

    I’m sure our entire existence is an example of going too far. Especially with the champagne consumption.

  10. Ps. Good idea to alert people to Andy’s comment. It’s far more sober than anything found here.

    I wonder if the psychic parrot or Ngok the penguin ever go too far?

  11. it was the penguin – flippers are no good for holding ice-cream.

  12. I should have known. No matter how psychic they are, the penguins, they make a mess.

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