Talk:Waldorf education

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Andreas Schleicher[edit]

In this review about the history of Waldorf movement is noted that Andreas Schleicher, director of PISA, is himself a proponent of the Waldorf movement. This is relevant to the section and, furthermore, it has been noted by himself in interviews (ES Andreas Schleicher sur la pédagogie Steiner-Waldorf | ÆTHER) and the fact that Schleicher is a proponent of the Waldorf education is cited by the Waldorf schools, and here.

But the edition was reverted by M.boli, arguing that Cited reference is mere trash-talk, not a reliable source. And attended Waldorf school as a child does not equal "part of the Waldorf movement.". We can discuss that, but the reference is a well stablished scientific webpage on skepticism, which notes exactly that Schleicher was a student at Waldorf, and that he is a promoter of the Waldorf idea. Which is true. So, the source is reliable, the comment is right and the facts are true. -Theklan (talk) 18:56, 3 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Please review our policies on reliable sources; blogs and other self-published materials do not qualify.
Schleicher is Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD. His work and that of this organization certainly does qualify as reliable sources. Clean Copytalk 19:50, 3 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Here is what the reference says about Schleicher,[1] translated from Spanish by google translate. Schleicher attended Waldorf school as a child. The claim -- completely without evidence -- is therefore PISA assessments are garbage and this is why Waldorf schools score well in science. The reference also detours into the notion that Schleicher relies on mystical nonsense for his work.

Coincidentally, these days and in apparent support of the massacre against public education undertaken by the extremist Spanish government, Andreas Schleicher, director of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD ), stated that there are too many teachers per student in Spanish public education.

This of course was received with delirious jubilation by what in Spain is known as "the media cave", a group of manipulative media and journalists that includes militants of fundamentalist Catholicism, social ultraconservatives, economic neoliberals, nostalgic for Francoism, neo-Nazis irredentist, caricature anti-communists and mixed rightists, all of them identified as having a colossal vociferous capacity inversely proportional to their arguments, and a total absence of good faith.

But it turns out that Don Andreas Schleicher is also part of the Steinerite sect. In fact, he is a graduate of a Waldorf school (we do not know if he is clairvoyant, but we suppose not, if he were, he would not have to do studies but only go into a trance like Steiner and consult the universal wisdom contained, say the members of the sect, in the “Akashic record”, which is where Steiner learned, without having to study them in real books, pedagogy without having educated a child, agriculture without having harvested a tomato, medicine without having treated a patient and economics without having worked a day in their life).

In any case, the seriousness of the PISA program (invented by Andreas Schleicher himself and according to which Waldorf schools are always examples of excellent education, what a surprise) is quite questionable. Again, Don Andreas can believe in any religion or superstition, but this should not set the course for him when he is in charge of a major OECD office.

I call hooey. This is not an authoritative source that says PISA is biased toward Waldorf education. It is trash talk which does not belong in an encyclopedia. -- M.boli (talk) 21:19, 3 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@M.boli: It would be interesting not to use words as trash talk in a discussion. Such an aggresive statement towards a good faith edition is out of context and out of the code of conduct we should have. There are some questions we should answer to know if the claim that Schleicher himself was a Waldorf student and is a proponent of Waldorf education is true or not and is relevant here or not. I would like to do this easily:
  • Did Schleicher study at a Waldorf school? Yes, he did. This is even cited in his biography here at Wikipedia.
  • Has Schleicher promoted the Waldorf education program? Yes, he has.
Once we know that in fact Schleicher was the co-ordinator of a programme which gave Waldorf schools the best score AND we know that himself is a proponent of this pedagogy AND we know that he studied there, we can decide whether this information is relevant or not. A way to know if we should include it is to see if this has been mentioned elsewhere. And it has been mentioned, so we can note this because criticism is also knowledge.
Is the source relevant? Well, this is a good discussion. I don't think this is trash talk, you think that a web devoted to scientific knowledge and criticism on sects is trash, but the burden of proof there is yours. I'm not judging in the source is the best one, I'm only saying that there has been criticism on this (true) and that all the points in the critic are true. I'm not judging all the other statements in the source, because I'm only using that one. We can let the critic (which exists and is fact-based) without source, but that would be the worst solution. -Theklan (talk) 18:53, 6 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I believe it is noteworthy. I added it with RS. Gandydancer (talk) 20:44, 6 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I removed it as having a paragraph in the middle of the "Science" section seem out of place. However, I'm seeing that other articles on schools and colleges have a "Alumni" section, that may be the way to go. --McSly (talk) 03:06, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ "El ataque a la educación y las escuelas Waldorf". Círculo Escéptico. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
OK, thanks as I wasn't sure where to put it. I'll add as you suggest. Gandydancer (talk) 04:38, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree with adding this statement on Alumni, as the criticism on their scientific education disappears. Now, what it was a bug becomes a feature making the claim totally out of context. -Theklan (talk) 15:27, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Study removed[edit]

When it come to science, we expect to see peer review and even then one study without follow up should get only a brief mention, if that. Plus it is quite old. Gandydancer (talk) 20:43, 6 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I have been reverted. In the first place, this study was self-published--that should send a red flag up right away. Furthermore, it is 18 years old--we have no idea if Wladorf is still teaching the same material. Per Wikipedia RS:

Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable, where the material has been published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses.

The editor needs to revert. Gandydancer (talk) 05:49, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

PISA, Schleicher, claim which should be removed.[edit]

Regarding the Science section and PISA: The dispute springs from this sentence: Several empirical studies have noted how this method appears effective and even exemplary when evaluated against age-matched peers using the internationally recognized PISA test of 15-year-old students in mathematics and science.

I think that sentence is just plain wrong and should come out. There seems to have been one study in one country, published in 2009, utilizing the PISA 2006 test. I find numerous references to Waldorf education and PISA, every one that contains any sourcing refers back to this one study. And that study showed mixed results: Waldorf students were a bit better in some aspects, a bit worse in others.

Of the three citations for that sentence about PISA, two are irrelevant to the claim. One is English study published earlier than the PISA-based study and contains precious little quantitative comparison. Another is a news report in Die Welt on a study of Waldorf schools in Germany which was generally positive but somewhat mixed. Schleicher seems to have been part of the German study. The third reference is the actual PISA study.

Regarding the El Círculo Escéptico blog post quoted above that one editor wants to cite: it contains only personal attacks and guilt-by-association. There is virtually no information and no citations. Oddly, their trash-talk is misdirected. They allege that PISA always finds Waldorf schools to be excellent. But to repeat: there seems to have been one study in one country 15 years ago. That's it. So they are flinging their venom at something that didn't happen. Showing further it is not a credible source.

Enough! I think the errant claim should come out. There is a Wiki-page Studies of Waldorf education, inserting a link to that page might be appropriate here. -- M.boli (talk) 06:00, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Well, you can google-search for Waldorf PISA and see that this claim is being used again and again, so there might be only one study, but the claim has echo chambers inside the Waldorf movement. If there's a source noting what the problems with this claim are, it should be cited here, even more if the claim is false/not true. The El Círculo Escéptico web is devoted to debunk sects and pseudoscience, so yes, it's normal to have information about sects (Waldorf) and pseudoscience (Waldorf). I would ask again not to say that this source is trash-talk, you are doing it again against the assumption of good faith. -Theklan (talk) 15:32, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I believe that we can use this study with care. I skimmed through it and was impressed with their methodology and coverage. The team met with teachers from 23 Steiner schools in England plus "the research team spoke to teachers from New Zealand, South America and several mainland European countries. It is old but on the plus side it was a government study and included a number of members in the research team. Gandydancer (talk) 19:39, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The study you are describing has nothing to do with the claim about multiple studies using PISA data (false) finding "exemplary" results (false). I agree with you it likely has value and could be cited, but citing it here in support of the errant statement is wrong. It is almost entirely not quantitative, based on interviews, with very little about the measured effeciveness of Waldorf education. -- M.boli (talk) 09:56, 8 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

“Discuss on talk page if you disagree”[edit]

I read through those news articles that were cited after “he asserted a hierarchy of races with a white race at the top” and the statement of “a white race at the top” is found nowhere in Steiner’s actual books or lectures and is just a very cherry picked statement, it’s also worded very strongly, as if it was actively trying to convince people that the reality of all Steiner schools is entirely racist. Either fix the wording or find some better sources. (talk) 16:18, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

That for Steiner white race was the top race is not in doubt. However, Steiner's take was humanitarian, and this distinguishes him from racists. So, he did not say that the white race has to oppress other races. tgeorgescu (talk) 00:58, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Firstly i have not seen any actual steiner books/lectures that even contain a heirarchy of races, and "he did not say that the white race has to oppress other races" is fine i guess in context but at first glance it looks extremely racist and in my opinion comes off as extremely biased. 2A00:23C4:DD8C:CB00:9C09:FDD5:BA9C:DC18 (talk) 18:24, 3 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It is weird, given his general humanism, but he really did echo the racial hierarchy thinking typical of his period. And also sometimes say that everyone was equal, regardless of race. Some cognitive dissonance there. Butterfly or Chuang Tzu? (talk) 14:26, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Analyzing Steiner's own works is prohibited by WP:OR. We simply WP:CITE WP:RS written by experts in their field (e.g. religion studies). tgeorgescu (talk) 14:35, 4 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think some article with a overarching negative tone wrote to incite clicks and emotions is written by an expert on religious studies, and even if the articles were they are clearly not written in a Wikipedia:IMPARTIAL way. There's obvious bias in these sources. 2A00:23C4:DD8C:CB00:596B:CAB7:2B00:BABE (talk) 18:46, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yup, we are biased against fringe views and pseudoscience. It's true that Steiner had a racialist worldview, but it is also true that he was well-meaning towards people of other races. I mean: both are true, and dodging one of these is not done. tgeorgescu (talk) 21:50, 5 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]