I first thought about posting this as a comment to my previous post, but I think it deserves a post of its own. It comes from the comment thread on the Quackometer post. I think I’ve blogged about this document, published by a waldorf school, before. I think it’s absolutely essential to understand how things might work — and you will get a glimpse of a kind of reasoning that waldorf teachers don’t engage in in front of (non-anthroposophist) parents.
Sam on March 17, 2012 at 10:27 am
Daisy asked ‘Is bullying more common in Steiner schools? Not a clue. I don’t know how we could prove this one way or another.’
p9, Bullying Presentation to Faculty – Handout
May 13, 1999
Alan Howard Waldorf School
Prepared by Cynthia Kennedy and Betty Robertson
We have labored over this section and it has been written and rewritten a number of times. Can a child’s karma or destiny be that of a victim or bully? Is it a child’s destiny to seek certain experiences to build his or her self-esteem and inner self? Should a potentially abusive situation be stopped, and if so, at what point? We do not know the answers; however, when dealing with bullying behavior we thought that caution is necessary. If intervention can change the experiences that our children encounter then conceivably it is not entirely destiny we are dealing with. And perhaps all the children are better served if they are given tools to better handle aggression, be it their own, or their peers.
For a child who is being victimized, it must be the teacher’s role and responsibility to determine how much victimization is healthy to enable the child to be strengthened through the experience and at what point the exposure is excessive and detrimental. This situation is something that all teachers must struggle with, and the obligation becomes that much more onerous given that, in all likelihood, most of what a child is subjected to will be unknown to the teacher.
It appears that the bully, primarily through child rearing, arrives at our school with a predisposition to aggressive and bullying behavior. The research is not clear as to how much these children can be helped without the support of the parents. However, parental commitment is one of the qualities expected of any Waldorf family so there may be more success with our families than the average. In addition, we understand that doing biography work with the affected child(ren) and families may increase understanding and help the situation. Curative work, including assessments and curative eurythmy, perhaps in consultation with specialists like Anthroposophical doctors, may provide additional information to both the family and teacher(s).
Is it any wonder that critics have a lot to say about bullying in waldorf schools? Is it any wonder that we keep insisting that karma plays a role? Is it any wonder when we don’t take the words of waldorf proponents that bullying is no bigger a problem in waldorf than elsewhere and that it is — of course! — out of the question not to intervene when a child is being badly treated? Is it any wonder at all? The quoted passages were not somehow invented by critics — they contain the words of waldorf professionals themselves!