The Hague Circle’s meetings are among the most important meetings in waldorf education. This is a report from the most recent meeting, which took place in Dornach a month ago. Claus-Peter Röh, a leader of the pedagogical section at Goetheanum
addressed the dynamic between “upper” and “lower” in both teacher and child, and how these can find balance and freedom through a continual interplay between these two realms. Bringing in contemporary phenomena such as technology in education, Claus-Peter described the modern human being as wanting to live at the threshold of the extremes, rather than in a state of harmonious balance. The teacher needs to provide a steady, well-balance middle realm, so that children who are still in a dreamy state and not yet incarnated, as well as those who are too densely incarnated can find a right relationship to their own, individual incarnation. That means the teacher has to know what each child needs in this process. “How can I help the child in his or her incarnating activity?” is the question for every teacher with every child.
This is the kind of stuff Steve Sagarin needs to squeeze into his waldorf education elevator speech. At least a hint of it. This is it, and this is what people need to know about waldorf. Worryingly, there’s then a description of ‘freedom’ for — I believe — younger school children. Freedom is ‘when the child experiences freedom in doing what the teacher expects.’ That’s a way of defining freedom that would only make sense to waldorf educators (and anthroposophists) and when parents are attracted to waldorf because if offers ‘freedom’ they are better off for being aware that the definition used is not the standard one. Granted, children do have to do what a teacher expects — at least some of the time. But is it right to call that freedom for the child? Is wanting to do something differently from what the teacher expects… unfreedom? Isn’t it just a part of normal development, that of the child wanting to explore his or her own desires. (You see how easy it could be to be deemed wrongly incarnated or not ‘natural’ in some way or another — see recent discussion here and at Steve’s blog — when these ideals are applied. By the way, the above quote indicates that it might actually be the teacher’s task to stop inappropriate activities causing premature — too dense — incarnation; reading is one such activity.)
But I really think you should read the post. There’s one guy from the Witten-Annen teacher training in Germany who claims waldorf education — in contrast to mainstream education (the german model of it) — is for the human being. The participants studied class lesson 14. A lady from New Zeeland talked about the earthquake: ‘The school lost many children to loss of homes, businesses, and jobs. Sue spoke of a subtle change in the souls of the people – a new possibility for relating to the spiritual world.’
Edit: forgot to say thanks for the tip. So, to the person who sent the article, thanks!