teaching it or not teaching it

AWSNA published this document. It’s real intention appears to me to be to advertise how great waldorf education is (unsurprisingly). Anyway, here’s one passage:

Participants were asked to characterize their relationship to anthroposophy. While a majority of the respondents reported a neutral or indifferent relation to anthroposophy and a very small percentage expressed negative feelings or rejection of anthroposophy, nearly equal percentages selected the options of “practicing or engaged” and “critical or skeptical.” An examination of the 65 responses written in the open-ended “Other” category reveals that a third of these respondents characterized their relationship to anthroposophy as ambivalent, as in the following: “Accept and reject certain aspects of it.” “Both positive and critical.” “Very skeptical on some levels, appreciative on others.” A quarter of the “Other” respondents reported that they did not know what anthroposophy was since they had never been taught it in a Waldorf school—an interesting response, given the criticism sometimes heard that Waldorf schools teach anthroposophy and thereby indoctrinate their students. [Emphasis added by me.]

Would it not be nice if organisations like AWSNA paid some attention? What critics claim, more frequently, is that waldorf is an education immersed in anthroposophy. That it is an anthroposophical education, based on anthroposophical ideas and that anthroposophy directs almost everything that happens in the school, what happens, when it happens, how children are treated, and so forth. This, ASWNA surely knows already. Anthroposophy being taught is a much smaller problem, if and when it exists at all; however, anthroposophical ‘facts’ might seep into ordinary school subjects — the teachers, after all, are Steiner trained… And, of course, eurythmy is taught, but perhaps AWSNA conveniently forgot about eurythmy.

In addition to this nonsense, I’m not sure why AWSNA thinks it’s a good thing that former students claim to know nothing about anthroposophy. If they don’t know what anthroposophy is, then how are they ever to be able to assess how much anthroposophy there really was in their school? No wonder they keep thinking none at all, especially if this is the only educational environment they have experienced.


4 thoughts on “teaching it or not teaching it

  1. ‘Waldorf educators do not teach Anthroposophy to young children, but they do incorporate questions of human nature and the universe into the curriculum. Religions within different cultures are introduced and studied in different grades. By providing opportunities for students to examine major religions around the world, they are able to develop their own understanding of the deeper questions considered throughout human history.’


    By examine they mean ‘… fairy tales and Saints in the young grades; moving on to Hebrew and the Old Testament in Grade 3; Norse mythology in Grade 4 …’ and so forth. I don’t remember this being taught in any way that resembled an examination of beliefs. More like an uncritical telling of tales.


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