Oddly, I never managed to reply to this short comment posted by Diana on the critics list in october (October 29, 2012). I saved it as ‘unread’ in emails and didn’t return to it until now. I believe it neatly sums up so many things in one short comment. Unfortunately, I don’t know who it is that Diana is quoting, presumably it is some waldorf parent or other. It doesn’t matter much. Here’s Diana’s insightful comment:
“‘awakened’ as compared to the rest of the children – they are both younger siblings so they’ve been exposed to a lot more of the world/tv/adult concepts than most children their age”
Unfortunately, this parent has obviously already been influenced by Waldorf baloney. Notice the Waldorf jargon about “awakened” children and the whole nonsense about exposing children to “the world” and “adult concepts” that Waldorf teachers proactively fear monger about. (“Adult concepts,” with its frisson of sexual hysteria, actually means things like Big Bird, or the purple dinosaur or the ABC song.) The teacher blames her problems in the classroom on TV. Blaming television (and parents who let their children watch it) and “the world” because you can’t manage rowdy children is BS. The parent should remove her child. It’s unlikely the teacher will agree to actually discipline the boys that are causing problems. Her discipline model – letting rowdy children pound on younger or less aggressive children – is a hallowed Waldorf tradition. The teacher has been ecouraged to believe that evil outside influences (not her) are to blame if she has trouble managing her classroom. She’s also been taught to sow conflict among the parents – blame other parents who let their kids watch TV – in order to deflect criticism from herself. Anyway, if a younger child is being victimized as a result, remember Steiner spoke about karma. “Steiner is difficult.”
Notice the teacher (or some Waldorf bliss ninny) has convinced her that as “younger siblings,” these out-of-control children have somehow been “exposed to more of the world.” Um, a lot of children have older siblings …
I find this particularly useful as it explains how waldorf philosophy helps the teacher to transfer responsibility for not managing the children and the situation in the class to external factors — nothing is ever the school’s fault (or responsibility). Children needing to ‘punish’ each other — unresolved conflicts, karma, not the teacher’s business to interfere with. Discipline problems, management problems, difficult children — the fault of the world, modern media, anything but the school, which, if parents weren’t so disobedient (and did keep their children sufficiently secluded), would be a peaceful haven away from the world. And, in case someone might have thought so, Diana is not joking when she mentions an ABC song. Premature intellectual pursuits, not only television and computer games, lead to unbalanced development. The child becomes difficult as a consequence of knowledge and learning, when according to anthroposophical ideas — and dogmatic waldorf teachers — the child is not yet ready for those, not yet at the correct stage of development for such activities.
For some reason, the fact that unwanted behaviour can arise as a consequence of boredom and intellectual under-stimulation — in turn directly caused by the pedagogical approach itself — rarely seems to occur to the believers.