Talk:Waldorf education

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Notice: Pete K is indefinitely banned from editing this article.
The user specified has been banned by the Arbitration committee from editing this article.

Posted by Penwhale for the Arbitration committee. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Waldorf education/Review.

Dubious claim[edit]

With the previous single source being an opinion article that is light on statistics, I think the statement "Waldorf education is the largest independent alternative education movement in the world." is intentionally misleading. I have edited it to reflect a more nuanced version that more accurately displays the contents of that source, despite its lede in addition to adding a more reputable source. Andrew (talk) 04:18, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Good change; thanks. HGilbert (talk) 12:51, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

I consider this article essentially an advertisement. The addition of two shorts paragraphs of criticism is not what is meant by NPOV. What is needed is a clearer discussion of their distinctiveness, and a lesser use of sources from within the movement. DGG ( talk ) 05:42, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean by " a clearer discussion of their distinctiveness"? As noted below, the extensive list of citations for this article come primarily from peer-reviewed academic journals, books published by academic or large reputable presses and tertiary sources like encyclopedias of education. While completeness and NPOV are always something to discuss in an article, there is no basis to say that the article is heavily based on "sources within the movement." That is simply untrue. Such sources have already been excluded per the arbitration decision stipulations. Jellypear (talk) 16:08, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
The phrase that caught my attention was "Waldorf education is the largest independent alternative education movement in the world.[6]". This is a broad generalization that depends on the definitions of at least two of the terms (independent and alternative) and needs to be supported by hard numbers/statistics. In fact, the citation appears to be an opinion piece originally published 10 years ago and the term "alternative" is added to this article where it doesn't exist in the article it cites. Furthermore, the article cited states, "the schools are state-funded in many northern European countries" which to me means they are NOT independent, thus lending credence to the original poster's characterization of this article as being advertising. 81.47.179.40 (talk) 22:02, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I see explicit discussion of distinctiveness in many areas, including: timing of the introduction of reading, block teaching, looping, textbooks created by students, not grouping by ability, qualitative rather than quantitative assessment, delayed use of media, eurythmy, early introduction of foreign languages, approach to physical education, phenomenological approach to science, values orientation, exemption from the ICT requirement, differences in student attitudes, achievement on PISA tests, career choices, community-building effect, philosophical basis.
All this comes before the Waldorf_education#Relationship_with_mainstream_education section, which (among a number of other things) quotes a major study of the education's contrasting state and Waldorf approaches as follows: state schools could benefit from Waldorf education's early introduction and approach to modern foreign languages; combination of block (class) and subject teaching for younger children; development of speaking and listening through an emphasis on oral work; good pacing of lessons through an emphasis on rhythm; emphasis on child development guiding the curriculum and examinations; approach to art and creativity; attention given to teachers’ reflective activity and heightened awareness (in collective child study for example); and collegial structure of leadership and management, including collegial study. Aspects of mainstream practice which could inform good practice in Waldorf schools included: management skills and ways of improving organizational and administrative efficiency; classroom management; work with secondary-school age children; and assessment and record keeping.
As regards sources: essentially all of the more than 120 citations are from peer-reviewed, reliable sources (standard, accepted journals and publishers); the only exceptions I see are 1) Statistics for numbers of the schools, an accepted use of in-house sources, and 2) extremely brief material in the Intercultural links in socially polarized communities section cited to the website of two schools in Tibet and in Israel, and solely referencing the situation of those particular schools.)
There has been a recent effort to integrate criticism into the relevant sections, rather than isolating this in a separate appendage, as WP:Criticism suggests this is best practice. Are there further, specific areas and sources you can suggest?hgilbert (talk) 09:08, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
There seems to be some confusion between this article and the Curriculum of the Waldorf schools article, which was the one originally tagged by DGG. The latter indeed draws primarily on "in-house" sources. This one does not rely to any significant extent on such sources.
I suggest that the tag be removed from this article and the discussion moved to the curriculum article, where responses and comparisons are indeed very lacking. hgilbert (talk) 16:41, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Rawson & Richter is a Waldorf movement source and it is used for many aspects of the curriculum subpage. The tag should be removed here but can be left there (where that Waldorf movement source is important for the page). I will take a look at the curriculum page and see if it can be improved by using a more diverse set of reliable sources. It would help to have more clarification to know where it viewed as being lacking or even non-neutral on that page. As for this page, the tag says the following two things are needed 1) "rewriting promotional content from a neutral point of view" and 2) removing any inappropriate external links. In order for this tag to stick, someone needs to point out "promotional content" on the page as well as any "inappropriate external links." Jellypear (talk) 20:57, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
Please see my recent comment above about the statement: "Waldorf education is the largest independent alternative education movement in the world.[6]". That kind of language is usually associated with promotional materials. It would be better to support it with actual statistics (a table of schools by country, for example) that compares it to other "independent alternative" education movements. And just out of curiosity, does Montessori count as independent and alternative?81.47.179.40 (talk) 22:12, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the statement sounds somewhat doubtful, particularly given Montessori's population. The citation, however, is to an article in one of the world's most respected education periodicals, TES, and is written by an established journalist who specializes in education. Given WP's WP:Truth policy, this seems to be a situation where the quality of the source might trump our uncertainty about whether the claim is true or not, especially in the absence of evidence that it is false.
The standard of comparison is also unclear. Do state-funded charter schools and academies count as independent? Are they independent if their governance and curricular decisions are independent, even if financing is provided from an external source? Are we counting officially accredited schools (which is how Waldorf counts) or schools that have chosen the philosophy, whether or not they are accredited (which is how Montessori usually counts)? McGavin, the author of the TES piece, does not specify the basis for his comparison.
Any suggestions for how to deal with the situation? HGilbert (talk) 00:30, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


Humanism and anthroposophy are an oxymoron[edit]

"Waldorf (Steiner) education is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy." Isn't humanism and anthroposophy a fine example of an oxymoron? 67.230.215.213 (talk) 06:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure you understand the term "oxymoron", but the answer to your implied question is in any case "no", the two are not incompatible, as the source indicates. HGilbert (talk) 17:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Recent problematic edits[edit]

  • In this edit (summary: "put studies before personal opinions not backed by evidence"), content was not just moved as the summary implied, but some content was also deleted - e.g. mentioning that a school faced a Federal lawsuit.
  • This addition, about attention "now" being given to diversity, introduced material sourced to an unpublished thesis of 2007 and to a 1993 book about festivals, so does not seem good or accurate.

I have reverted accordingly. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 12:46, 11 April 2014 (UTC)