comment on alan swindell’s comment

(Because I really am too lazy and uninterested to create a user profile, I gave up. And as I had already written the comment, I didn’t feel like wasting it. So it — albeit a quite insignificant contribution — ended up here instead.)

Alan Swindell writes in a comment (Saturday, March 02 2013, 9:26AM): ‘The only `belief system` that has a place in a school worthy of the name is the belief that children must be educated to make their own choices and find their own way in life, learning to question everything.’

Well, then, that settles it. Or not. Perhaps someone should ask Alan Swindell if there’s any evidence Steiner education manages to do this. To make your own choices, you need knowledge and skills. Does Steiner education accomplish giving the students this? You need, as Swindell puts it, to be able to ‘question everything.’ Are Steiner schools encouraging this?

Children aren’t educated to make their own choices, and this is particularly true of children who don’t naturally fit the Steiner education model; they’re educated to tolerate the choices Steiner education sages, in their supreme wisdom, have already made for them.

(I know they insist it isn’t like that. But I still see very little evidence of that claim being true. Basically, waldorf pedagogy supposedly builds on a true picture of child development; that’s it. It tells you what children are, regardless of the needs, interests, and so forth, of the individual child. This is as confining as standard pedagogy — perhaps even more so, given a significant risk that Steiner education is applied in a religious manner.)

It’s rather unfortunate that a representative of Steiner education would even want to be disingenuous regarding the fact that an esoteric belief system — anthroposophy — does underpin Steiner education and informs both ideas on child development and the educational practices. It would cost very little to be open and honest about this — and if Alan Swindell truly cares about choice, accurate information is paramount. (As usual, children are left without a choice. But at least their parents can exercise it, if they are allowed to.) You can’t both say that information about anthroposophy is available with a mouse-click and then in essence deny its importance — by deflecting the discussion to an entirely different kind of belief (in children’s choices, et c) — because this is completely confused.

8 thoughts on “comment on alan swindell’s comment

  1. This is a great post, Alicia – and it’s important. It’s unfortunate that Swindell feels the need to lie. I used to think he was rather better than this. it appears the vicissitudes of life haven’t taught him anything.

    ‘The only `belief system` that has a place in a school worthy of the name is the belief that children must be educated to make their own choices and find their own way in life, learning to question everything.’

    One of the ways to enable young people to ‘make their own choices’ is to give them the skills they need to have any choice – something which, in my experience of the school my children attended, where Swindell was a class teacher, Steiner teachers are singularly ill-equiped to do. How have you convinced yourself otherwise, Alan? It’s just fantasy.

    I can’t agree that Swindell was particularly known for encouraging children to question everything – very much the opposite. Dogma always gets in the way. It’s only a matter of time before someone in Exeter points this out. It may be a sad conclusion.

  2. Personally, I still don’t understand why anthroposophists are so darn embarrassed by anthroposophy. Is there something wrong with it, or what?

    Just a question I keep pondering and I wonder if there will ever be an answer.

  3. From the dictionary:
    Swindle – Deprive of by deceit – The act of swindling by some fraudulent scheme.

    I can’t be the only one who noticed this… right?

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