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Archive for juni, 2010

According to statistics for 2009/2010 published by the national School Board, Waldorf parents in Sweden have a higher education than parents at other (primary) schools.

The School Board:

Föräldrar till elever i fristående skolor har högre utbildning

Hälften av eleverna i grundskolan har minst en förälder med högskoleutbildning och på fristående skolor uppgår denna andel till över 60 procent. I waldorfskolor uppgår andelen till drygt 70 procent tätt följt av riksinternatskolor där 68 procent av eleverna har minst en förälder med högskoleutbildning. ”

Parents of pupils at independent schools have higher education

Half of the pupils at primary schools have at least one parent with higher education and at independent schools the corresponding proportion is over 60%. At Waldorf schools, the proportion is slightly over 70%, followed by boarding schools, where 68% of the pupils have at least one parent with higher education.

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When the Swedish royal family considered what school to choose for Crown Princess Victoria when school time approached, like the parents of Kenneth Chenault, now CEO of American Express, a former Foreign Minister of Norway, father of Jens Stoltenberg, present Prime Minister of Norway, Helmut Kohl, former German Chancellor, and the parents of Diana Kerry, sister of former Presidential Candidate John Kerry, they considered putting her at a Waldorf school, in their case the main Waldorf school in Sweden, not far from castle of ”Drottningholm” where they live.

Security reasons played a role for not – unlike the parents of Diana Kerry, the present Prime Minister of Norway, and Kenneth Chenault, and others – doing it.

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Since the beginning of the year, the Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo, Norway and the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Alfter, Germany publish a research journal on Steiner Waldorf education.

The journal, RoSE: Research on Steiner Education is an on-line, bilingual (English and German) peer-reviewed academic journal with the purpose of serving the theoretical and practical development of Steiner Waldorf education in ways that are relevant to our contemporary globalising world.

RoSE wishes to establish links and dialogues between Steiner education and other alternative as well as mainstream educational discourses and practices. The journal publishes articles based on empirical as well as on theoretical or philosophical research.

Reviews of books, Doctoral and Master’s Theses are also part of the journal. The journal welcomes both critical and appreciative approaches to Steiner education, as long as they adhere to general academic standards. While the journal finds references to Rudolf Steiner’s works natural considering the purpose of the journal, the journal also welcomes papers that do not refer to Steiner as long as they are otherwise relevant to the journal’s purpose.

Articles that engage in rigorous dialogue between Steiner philosophy/pedagogy and other, particularly contemporary, pedagogical, psychological or philosophical approaches are especially welcome. The journal publishes two issues per year. Submitted papers will be anonymously peer-reviewed by two members of the editorial board, or by academic colleagues especially chosen by these members.

The first issue of the journal was published in January 2010. The second issue will be published in November 2010.

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The last years, an intelligent, sensitive and girlish former scapegoat during the 1980’s at a Waldorf school in Sweden, Alicia Hamberg, has increasingly full-time engaged in lightheartedly promoting criticism and defamation of things related to Waldorf education and anthroposophy on the net.

One subject she promotes criticism and defamation of is biodynamics.

In one forum – using the name of (in her case) the misantropic brother ”Zooey” in the Glass family from novels by J.D. Salinger as acronym – she spreads information about criticism and defamation of biodynamic farming at a blog on the internet, and repeatedly links to new critical comments by commentators at the blog.

What she does not tell is that she herself the last years has made hundreds of positive and appreciative comments at the blog of the main biodynamic wholesale dealer in Sweden, ”Saltå Mill and Bakery”, telling how much she likes the biodynamic products it distributes.

This year, she has told elsewhere on the net:

An acquaintance, who has heard me rant on about anthroposophy for ever, once said that it really is ironic that I at the same time demand that (biodynamic) flour from Saltå is used when pizza is baked (or at least always complain about the conventional flour from ”Kungsängen” (a large producer of flour) and its ugly packages).

And it is a little ironic. I blame it on the influence of my mother. She could never be satisfied with things that satisfied others. Like ordinary flour.

After discovering that Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamic farming and of anthroposophy (whose thoughts she has heckled extensively), as a boy at times stood out as autistic to his environment, she however has changed her opinion of him, and repeatedly has told how much she likes the internal architecture of Goetheanum, a building he designed, and thinks that a recent large exhibition (Der Spiegel) about him, at present showing in Germany, also should be shown in Sweden.

As with her views in general, the internal logic of her argumentation in her individual postings is not always that overwhelmingly consistent.

She has commented that she thinks Rudolf Steiner (whose works she both promotes and heckles …), if he was to comment on her, would appreciate her more than this blogger.

While she for long used a picture of her small long haired dog, that she describes as ”Mr Dog” and the only King in her country, with an empty wheat flour package from ”Saltå”, the biodynamic wholesale dealer, in his mouth as avatar on the net, she now has replaced it with a pinkish flying gull, the main character in the novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull from 1970, learning about life and flight.

So, she works to piece together the different disparate and opposing parts of her life and views to something in time maybe more unified. One can only wish her luck in her endeavour.

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According to an independent study in 2005, Waldorf pupils are least hostile to foreigners of all German pupils.

The study that was done by the Criminological Research Institute in Niedersachsen, was made at the request of the Greens in the German parliament, to investigate the extent of right wing extremism and hostility to foreigners among pupils at German schools.

Hostility to non-Germans

Acording to the study, of German pupils with two German parents, 24.7 % of the pupils at ”Hauptschulen” (main schools) expressed hostility to non-Germans.

The same holds for 20.2 % of the pupils at ”Realschulen”, 16.3 % of the pupils at ”Gesamtschulen” and 8.4 % of the pupils at ”Gymnasien” (High Schools).

Among pupils at Waldorf schools, the percentage of pupils who expressed hostility to non-Germans was lowest among all German pupils, 2.4%.

Right wing extremist views

The results were similar with regard to extremist right wing views.

The percentage of pupils who expressed extremist right wing attitudes was 9.5 % at ”Hauptschulen” (main schools), 6.0 % for pupils at ”Realschulen”, 4.8 % at ”Gesamtschulen”, and 2.8 % for pupils at ”Gymnasien” (High Schools).

The corresponding figure for pupils at Waldorf schools was 1.2 %.

Reference:
Dirk Baier, Susann Rabold, Christian Pfeiffer (Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen): Ausmaß, Ursachen und Entwicklung von fremdenfeindlichen und rechtsextremen Einstellungen bei deutschen Jugendlichen. Stellungnahme zum Antrag der Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen betreffend der Bekämpfung des Rechtsextremismus in Hessen (Drucksache 16/6708)

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A US dissertation in 2001 on the moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings found that Waldorf-educated students scored significantly higher on a test of moral reasoning than students in public high schools and students in a religiously-affiliated high school. Waldorf students were also far more likely to volunteer opinions about the survey and research in general, suggesting possible improvements in the survey technique and offering new possibilities to resolve the moral dilemmas raised in the survey.

Reference
Hether, Christine Anne, The moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings, Ph.D. dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, 2001, 209 pages; AAT 3044032

Source: Waldorf education article at Wikipedia

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A british study comparing the drawing ability of children in Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori and traditional schools has concluded that

”the approach to art education in Steiner schools is conducive not only to more highly rated imaginative drawings in terms of general drawing ability and use of color but also to more accurate and detailed observational drawings,”

while another, international study has found that Waldorf pupils average higher scores on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Ability than state-school students.

According to the study, this

”suggested that Waldorf students were more creative than their state school peers. Particular credit for this was given to the maturational-readiness and nurturing curriculum of the Waldorf Schools, which includes: having the same teacher follow students from grades 1 to 8; de-emphasis on academic performance in early grades; use of art in instruction; and other teaching and curriculum considerations.

Source: Waldorf education article at Wikipedia

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