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Old 12.03.2011, 10:34
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Steiner Schule

Does anyone know what the difference is between the Rudolf Steiner Schule as opposed to the public schools here?

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Old 12.03.2011, 11:31
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Re: Steiner Schule

I suggest you read this site about this sort of schooling in America for a start. If you can cope with the German, Google 'Rudolf Steiner School' and go through the principle of schooling there. It is based on a different approach to learning from that of the state schools here and to list the differences wouldn't really get to the core of the matter.
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Old 12.03.2011, 11:52
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Re: Steiner Schule

Google any Waldorf schools, and you will get a picture. Steiner is the theory behind Waldorf schooling. There seem to be three camps in our area in terms of different approach to edu: Montessori, Waldorf and Moser. Suits different expectations we have from schooling, different types of children and families and dif teachers.
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Old 12.03.2011, 12:29
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Re: Steiner Schule

It's kind of "let's all draw a tree and say how we feel while moving to music". Some people consider Walddorf / Steiner kids a bit "alternative" so depending on what career the kid wants, it might get in its way.

Oh and Steiner had some views that were borrowed straight out of the Nazi doctrine.
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Old 12.03.2011, 12:44
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Re: Steiner Schule

The Steiner School also does not provide an officially recognised qualification at the end of secondary school (neither the Swiss Maturité nor the IB). Something rather important to think about when one's children approach university age.
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Old 12.03.2011, 12:46
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Re: Steiner Schule

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It's kind of "let's all draw a tree and say how we feel while moving to music". Some people consider Walddorf / Steiner kids a bit "alternative" so depending on what career the kid wants, it might get in its way.

Oh and Steiner had some views that were borrowed straight out of the Nazi doctrine.
Your "let's draw a tree" made me chuckle, but honestly, that's how people refer to it in edu circles, it's pretty spot on. I wouldn't want to bash it, it really does fit some people and their views on edu, but I always thought kids ended up handicapped facing the fierce academic competition later on, when they are out of school. I wouldn't put my child in there, if I chose any of those schools, it would be Montessori, I think. The Steiner kindy we have nearby seems popular.

Anthroposophy was based on Nietzsche, wasn't it, so were the Nazi theories, but loads of theories were based on Nietzsche and not Nazi. I like his theory, one can do a lot of this at home with our kids but am not sure if schools would be a practical place to implement it so well (since they are facing the "other" world, exams, comparative testing, streaming, kids moving, etc). It's lovely to read about, though.
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Old 12.03.2011, 12:49
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Re: Steiner Schule

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Oh and Steiner had some views that were borrowed straight out of the Nazi doctrine.
Really? Like what? Or did the Nazis borrow it from theosophy? I believe lots of pseudo-spritual-occult beliefs were en vogue during Rudolf Steiner's era (ealry 1900s). (Stirring the pot Kittster?)


In regards to the Waldorf-Steiner school curriculum, how much of it teaches Anthroposophy or Theosophy, or is influenced by these?
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Old 12.03.2011, 14:39
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Re: Steiner Schule

You guys are great, thanks! Just the sort of information I was after. Thank you especially for the heads up regarding secondary school qualification recognition.
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Old 12.03.2011, 15:42
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Re: Steiner Schule

I think the most worrying thing about Waldorf education is the racist aspect of Steiner's teaching and it's continuing support in some contemporary Waldorf schools. If you google "waldorf school racism" or something similar there seems to be enough to raise doubts about Waldorf education's suitability for today's world.
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Old 12.03.2011, 22:01
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Re: Steiner Schule

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I think the most worrying thing about Waldorf education is the racist aspect of Steiner's teaching and it's continuing support in some contemporary Waldorf schools. If you google "waldorf school racism" or something similar there seems to be enough to raise doubts about Waldorf education's suitability for today's world.
I understand Waldorf-Steiner schools are given a framework to teach their own curriculums with, but do not actually provide the curriculum. I can see how some of the eugenicists of the past might have used the same framework, and how Steiner himself held eugenic views, but are there really any evidence they are teaching Steiner's racists views?
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Old 12.03.2011, 22:33
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Re: Steiner Schule

With regard to qualification: AFAIK, both my boss and a very skilled co-worker went to a Steiner school (for a couple of years).
It is a bit on the "alternative" side, but it seems to focus more on developing the social skills of people.
(Which, if we're honest, if what a lot of higher-end jobs nowadays require more than pure technical knowledge)
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Old 31.03.2011, 11:39
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Re: Steiner Schule

Well for an opposing view...
My kids went to Waldorf in the states and currently go to Steiner in Switzerland. Experience has been very positive. There is more of a focus on the Arts, but I don't consider that a bad thing.
As for results of the education, in the states on standardized testing, at the 7th/8th grade level, the average Waldorf student was in the 75 percentile.
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Old 31.03.2011, 12:09
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Re: Steiner Schule

In my experience working with kids of the 10-18 year old age group, I have mixed feelings on the result of a Steiner education. For the children who are inherently introverted, this type of schooling draws them out and gives them the confidence they need to speak out with original ideas. For the others though, the inherent extroverts, they become intolerable. When all day at school they learn that all their ideas are valid and everyone is equal on all levels, they become unwilling to accept any criticism. A certain amount of discipline is necessary to fit into our social structure and I fear that some of the Steiner kids will be disadvantaged later in life.
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Old 31.03.2011, 12:12
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Re: Steiner Schule

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As for results of the education, in the states on standardized testing, at the 7th/8th grade level, the average Waldorf student was in the 75 percentile.
This either means that the public schools in the US are on average not very good or the US versions of the Waldorf schools teach more and better maths and languages there... even if you do not understand the language, you get the pictures in the following video: German parents cannot move their kids from a Waldorf school back to the public system into the same year as they are years behind in some core parts of the curriculum (as in maths, German..). The journalists show the education of Waldorf teachers and find out that half of them would not be qualified to teach at any other school and can only legally do so as the education laws have a special exception for Waldorf teacher - they do not need to meet the scientific minimum rquirements all others need to. As Switzerland's education system is very similar to the German one, I'd guess it is not too different here. ("Frontal 21" is btw a high quality magazine on ZDF)



What I personally find much worse: Rudolf Steiner is considered a "Guru" and his writings are aparently not questioned anymore, but taken at face value. Unfortunately did he live in a time, where racism was completely normal. All other schools have moved on, but people who really believe in Steiner also believe in his writings on "black people are driven by instinct" ad "white people are mentally superior", "native americans were not strong enough to survive"... the quotes in the video are quite shocking - again, quality journalism from a well known source:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2t...orfschule_news
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Old 31.03.2011, 12:29
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Re: Steiner Schule

Steiner schule is one of the few places that will give your child a good grounding in Eurythmy.

Last edited by Phil_MCR; 31.03.2011 at 12:58. Reason: make link
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Old 31.03.2011, 12:36
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Re: Steiner Schule

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Steiner schule is one of the few places that will give your child a good grounding in Eurythmy.
Is that a cue for an Annie Lennox joke?

I went to a school which was founded on Theosophical principles in the 1920s. By the 80s it was quite academically sound. I objected to being forced to do two arty o-levels - there was quite an anti-science culture there.
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Old 31.03.2011, 14:39
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Re: Steiner Schule

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Steiner schule is one of the few places that will give your child a good grounding in Eurythmy.
I love the explanation on 3:10 onwards: Running around in weird clothes dancing letters helps you "to be more in touch with yourself"... I think dancing is fun and surely better for kids than many other activities. But I do not think what I see in this video should replace any maths or language education.


As a matter of fact did I have friends who went to a Waldrof school when I was a teenager - we made a glider pilot license together. All I can say is that I had an easier time to pass the exams than them - they simply did not have the knowledge to calculate the navigation questions well ("My first calculator! We are not allowed to use them at school!") and not the skillset to approach the rather dry and scientific topics well.
The other thing I recognized was that a far above average number of their classmates
a) were the kids of teachers
b) had issues to follow the normal curriculum on a regular school before.

In short: A fair number had parents who were convinced of Steiner and an equally fair number had parents who were experts on the education system and moved them to a Waldorf school in the last moment before they would have failed a class and would have needed to repeat it... so they were still able to graduate "on time" without losing a year. I would not send my kid to a class which is half full with the kids that failed elsewhere.
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Old 31.03.2011, 15:20
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Re: Steiner Schule

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Does anyone know what the difference is between the Rudolf Steiner Schule as opposed to the public schools here?

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My kids went to a Steiner nursery school in the UK and enjoyed themselves tremendously. They were allowed to be what they wanted to be. All the toys were natural - blocks of wood, pieces of wool and cloth. They built houses for themselves by draping the cloth over clothes horses and played with rag dolls. They all seemed to be using their imagination much more than children I'd seen in other playgroups. They had specific times for activities - eating, playing, singing - which all seemed to have a natural rhythm.

Some kids had problems, which the teachers dealt with quietly, mainly by exclusion i.e. one of the teachers/helpers took the child to a different room and talked through the issue until the child had quietened down and was ready to return to the children.

I was very happy with this system as they were not forcing my children to read at the age of 4 which was being done in the mainstream nursery schools in the UK. My children started mainstream school but picked up reading very quickly at the age of 6.

We looked into Steiner schooling from ages 6 to 16 but had the following reservations:
1. In the UK the Steiner school did do the A level qualifications, but some kids did fantastically well and others never tried. We worried that the children could just drift through school without getting valid qualifications.
2. The parents all seemed to be very arty - but we were boring science nerds. We just seemed to be too different from the others.
3. At the UK school there was no head teacher - all decisions were made by consensus amongst the teachers. Fine if all is going well, but when there were issues, parents had no visible accountable person to talk to.
4. Students had the same teacher for 4 or 5 years. Great if the child-teacher relationship is going well, incredibly difficult if not.

The Steiner school in the UK had open days which are worth going to to get a personal view. I personally never saw any teacher expressing any racist sentiments - the area I lived in had a very diverse population and the kids came from very varied backgrounds.
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Old 31.03.2011, 15:38
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Re: Steiner Schule

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Oh and Steiner had some views that were borrowed straight out of the Nazi doctrine.
No, Steiner was dead before the Nazi party grew to any significance. It is however true that some leading nazis admired Steiner (Rommel for example is a well know case, and Himmler also was a fan). But that didn't stop the Nazis closing down all Steiner schools when they came to power though. But to say that Steiner was somehow responsible for naziism is akin to being anti-vegetairain because Hitler was a vegetarian.
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Old 31.03.2011, 15:47
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Re: Steiner Schule

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No, Steiner was dead before the Nazi party grew to any significance. It is however true that some leading nazis admired Steiner (Rommel for example is a well know case, and Himmler also was a fan). But that didn't stop the Nazis closing down all Steiner schools when they came to power though. But to say that Steiner was somehow responsible for naziism is akin to being anti-vegetairain because Hitler was a vegetarian.
That is nothing Nazi - at the end of the 19th century did pretty much EVERYONE in Europe believe in racism: You could go to exhibitions in which Africans were displayed like animals in a Zoo.

So Steiner was not better or worse than anyone else at his time - the question is only weather or not this part of his teachings have been sufficiently changed afterwards.
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