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Snippet of What is Waldorf Education? PART 1

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The Waldorf School was developed out of Austrian Philosopher Rudolph Steiner's philosophy of education. Realizing far before most that the decisions of society and of the cultural masses were manipulated by the upper economic and political echelon, Steiner focused on developing a holistic pedagogy circling the three main learning capacities: thinking, feeling, and willing — which he addresses in the concepts of head, heart, and hand work. All children tend towards one of these, and the role of the teacher, and indeed of the curriculum, is to dynamically apply lesson-time to the individual student's greater capacities. But this is an encapsulation, one which doesn't account for Steiner's theories on how these capacities are also favored by different ages, and how all must be refined to some degree or another, because no profession only accounts for a single one of them. If you're interested, you'll find answers to all your questions on the Waldorfy Station, right here on Vurbl.
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thinking, feeling and willing. What what were his feelings around those three things? And how does that relate to Waldorf education? Well, as I said, it's to do. Those are the three different capacities that people have as ways of learning in the world, and everybody is weighted one way or another. So basically, our age is more focused on the thinking, poll, the head poll, the brain, the math, computer work. It's very obvious that Ah, lot of education is based only on that. And we Children go to school earlier and earlier and learn to write and read. You see books teaching three year olds, two year olds, that sort of thing. The middle is the heart or the feeling realm, and that is it's not so simple. It's not just artistic work. It's the realm where I suppose you could say it's right brain kind of thinking. It's the realm where you have feeling sympathy. Empathy, Um, where Children come in immediately attracted to the good and the beautiful and the true, and then the other pole is the practical, the part where it's called hands. But it's really to do with the limbs and the doing And that's the most mysterious on the hardest to understand because really that doing or will poll or Limpopo or hand poll? It's not just running around the block or random movements that are developing that. It's when one learns to make decisions from the thinking pole and actually use your doing practical side to manifest it to finish what you start to actually see something through. Yeah, I have just a anecdote to speak Thio with that my own experience going to a world of school and taking handwork and would work for eight years, although would work starts a little bit later because it would be really challenging to work with woodworking tools, a little Children. But I remember so distinctly the learning persistence and that relation to willing and wanting to complete a project and then the feeling of completing it and how good that felt and that I distinctly remember connecting with these classes. So it's it's hard for me in a way, to imagine not having that as part of my education because it then connected into the other subjects. So, you know, not only was I learning Oh, I have tow, you know, So up the sides of this hat to finish it, but then to go and finish writing a sentence. Okay, well, what are the pieces that I need to put together to finish this piece of what I'm working on? So it began to relate into other areas beyond just handwork and would work Yes. And that's very obvious that first of all, in all my years of teaching, I don't think I ever had a child who didn't love handwork. That's partly because you were such a good teacher. Thank you. But really, when you think of what comprises learning, learning off anything, not just handwork begins with enthusiasm and with joy, as opposed to forces from the outside. You have to learn this because you won't get into Harvard when you ready for college or whatever it is any of those forces. So if you can help a child find joy and enthusiasm in learning and then the second ingredient that's absolutely necessary is the ability to focus and put your attention on what you're doing and handwork. All the skills and handwork are almost designed for that purpose. Yeah, that was definitely a learned quality for me. I don't know if you could remember I e was not the best focusing on guy really had to practice on that realm and through the practicing of, you know, making a handwork project. It was something that I really was able toe learn over time. And the other thing that hand work shows us Mistake's could get fixed in a very concrete way, so you don't have to have any fear of learning because you can fix it. And I guess that's problem solving, problem solving. And then the other thing that is pertinent to the thinking, feeling and willing is that Steiner's picture off child development is not just that well of human development is that we have those three capacities and you want to not dampen somebody who's strong in the thinking pole or strong in the will poll. You want to develop the others. But in development of human growth, they are different periods in your life where each of those capacities are more strong and so world of education takes that into account. So, like, for instance, a young child like your sweet little boy is more strongly living in the limp poll in the doing pole, the ability to practice and practice and try again. That's how a child learns to walk and to crawl and to talk. They fall down and they get up. They fall down and they get up. And that is the pole off the limbs or the willing pole. And that's what develops The world is practice and, of course, handwork or learning a musical instrument. You practice, you learn to knit and it's really hard, and you try again and you practice and you do the next row. And then you do the next row. And that develops that capacity not just to randomly do something, but eventually to do something with intention and with consciousness on DSO that that area last solar child's about seven imitation they're doing the doing. That's how they learn through imitation, copying the grownups around them, running, jumping. So I guess that leads me into. I've kind of heard something about it before that there are different stages. I mean, all of older education from what I've gathered is about approaching education from this viewpoint of needing to meet the child at the developmental phase that they're at, and I've heard that Steiner has different stages. He does he have names for the different stages. I know the first ones one through seven. Could you speak to that a little bit? Yes, it is 137 and it's basically seven year blocks of period because that is a a rhythm of growth in human beings. So that first period is the early childhood doesn't have a particular name. 7 to 14. The main capacity that the child or yeah, that the child is living in and that you would use as a tool for teaching is the middle of the heart sphere or the feelings fear any subject that you're teaching if you can bring it to the child. With that in mind with storytelling, I think somebody said either it was Stein Oh, some well known world of teacher that you really should try and bring the Children to laughter and to tears in every lesson. So you're trying to really work with their feeling life with their sympathy for the hero of this story, with their outrage for the wicked person, and even in a math class, you would bring things through the story. You're trying to appeal to the child's ability to see pictures in the world rather than through concepts. So you you laying a groundwork off big, beautiful pictures of the world, which will be the groundwork for the next stage when they go to high school or even starting in middle school. Really, which is more focused on the concept and the thinking side. And that's why you hear about learning before processes in math, through stories off the number gnomes that become quite popular. But it could be anything searching for Jules rather than a workbook off 10 minus seven is three right? I feel it could be an interesting comparison to make for adults to think of watching a Ted. I know if you've seen Ted talks, you watch a Ted talk video and you can imagine sitting there and just watching the video and you're yourself just watching. You have no emotional reaction to what you're seeing and then imagine watching a Ted talk and, like you said, being brought to tears and laughter within the same 10 minutes, you're probably more likely to feel connected. And remember what you saw on that Ted talk than the one where you had no emotional kind of reaction or connection to. So then, after this 7 to 14 time where the Children have bean fully awakened in there, feeling life and are living with excitement in the world comes the next stage 14 to 21 which could begin in middle school. Especially now that we are. Everything's a little bit more advanced than it was in Steiner's time. So middle school through 21 is this age mawr, where it's the thinking poll that is the vehicle for learning. Now, during all these different polls, all three of these different capacities have to be strengthened. It's not that you abandon the fact that you want to be able to complete a task by the time you're older. Hopefully, during all this time, the will forces have been developed enough, and even the will forces is maybe is a bit of jargon. But the ability to do what you say you're going to do has been developed, and your empathy and ability to connect with the world has been developed. And now comes the time where you already to form concepts and make connections in a thinking way with ALS, the stuff that bean laid as groundwork. So an example that's often given is, for instance, say, the cycle of water. A little child may say, Why is it raining? And we are tempted to say, Well, the water evaporates off the pond, and then there's condensation, and there's these currents that go up into the clouds and condensation happens and a scientific explanation, whereas really, you could just give them a picture and say, Well, the warmth of the sun and the sun fairies are carrying the water for it because it's so warm and they want to go and visit the clouds. And you could make a picture of it without being sentimental. And you may not feel comfortable saying fairies, but you could. You could give a picture off what's actually happening in a picture form without using scientific description. It's a way of creating imagery imagery, and then when the child is older and they're in high school or middle school, they will be ready to actually learn the scientific that water expands and it goes, etcetera, etcetera in a more scientific way. That's that period off the thinking. So there's another way of describing the development. Other than thinking, feeling and willing. And that has to do with the human being as being more than just a physical body, and we, or in some way unconsciously aware of that. We all know that we are more than just our body, and you become especially aware of it when you're sick, whatever illness you have, and it's often the case with cancer patients, you have to remind them to say, I'm not cancer, I am still Glynn. I just happened to have a physical condition. Right now. I'm not a cancer patient, so we are aware that we arm or than our physical bodies. And Steiner has very detailed descriptions off the different levels off our being that developed through different ages. It's probably not time to go into all of that, but we confined time in another episode, I'm sure if you like, but really at the 21 year period, somewhere around there is the stage where we have fully incarnated all our different, energetic forces. And he calls the 21 year a period as our ego is fully, um incarnated. And so from then on you are acting as an adult and hopefully you have balanced all your forces. And when you say forces your meeting that kind of willing feeling, thinking as forces. Sorry, I should have said capacities. When you have balanced all your capacities by then, um, and it's not that anyone becomes fully balanced. They are always people who tend to mortar the artistic way of expressing themselves in the world and others who are more likely to be thinkers. But the real genius is, if you think of someone like Einstein, the real geniuses, in that way use the artistic and the willing forces along with their thinking. So this is something Saint Francis said. And before I read it, don't get stuck on the fact that he's using words like laborer, craftsman artist literally, because we all are sometimes laborers, and we sometimes do things in a craftsman way. He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist. So if you think of all the geniuses Einstein, Beethoven, Michelangelo so they may have been craftsman or laborers or artists, but the ones who accomplished things in the world that lasted forever. We're artists, right? I mean, you could even relate that Teoh, like you're saying architecture or today, even technology. Yes, and technology completely and technology? Yeah, because you're having to use all of those capacities to be able to develop something so great as a person. You may be stronger in one or the other, but that's what I think Waldorf education is trying to do is to try and give the child the freedom to become who they really are and to be free off external influences. And so the teacher's job is to learn from the Children and to a Steiner said some way. Also, the teacher's role is to remove hindrances so that the child can become and bring the gifts that they bring with them and develop those to their full capacity. The other thing is, you know, all of education. The way I'm describing it is kind of the ideal. There's a world of education and then there is the people who do it eso in any particular world, off school or situation. They are the teachers and the parents and where the school is and how much it costs and there are the people who are do it doing it. And we don't always all managed to manifest our ideals completely ideally. So it's appropriate that you look and see what else is there and who the teachers are in the other schools and who's going to suit Who is your child? What is going to suit your child? A. Zilong as you are doing that with the freedom and the knowledge of what you're looking for right sometimes homeschooling, maybe fine, depending on your child and what's available. Not sure that I would say World of education is the answer for every situation. But I would say that the training and the intention is to meet each child where they are and help them to develop into the best that they can be. And perhaps all teachers in their hearts feel that. But some are less free to do that, and some are constrained by outside testing and rules and regulations, or are limited by their view of what a human being is
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