Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers unavailable from publishers.

How disappointing that the “Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers” – well-used by teachers in Steiner schools, is currently unavailable from its anthroposophical publishers. At a time when important decisions are being made about the approval of Steiner Free schools, a reasonably-priced source of information has disappeared.

The Floris Books website says that the book is “currently re-printing” and will be available in September.

As well as a guide for Steiner teachers, this book is invaluable for parents, concerned and curious citizens, and those in authority who need information about exactly what aspects of anthroposophy are considered appropriate for use in Steiner schools.

I have referred to the book many times as a way of communicating the fact that far from being left out of classrooms, Rufolf Steiner’s anthroposophy is incorporated in lessons on a daily basis, and in all its occult glory. The book has been reprinted “numerous times due to demand” so the Steiner movement cannot deny it is a reliable source of information.

Yes, teachers really do refer to a book which mentions the “Third post-Atlantean epoch”(page 37). That is where our taxes are going.

Atlantis gets a mention, and so do “Occult Science”, Angels and repentance, the “ether body”, “cosmic and earthly incarnation”, and the important reminder for teachers that “Literature is not a religion lesson” among other gems.

My copy was printed in 2011, and has Appendix M on page 90;“How to make it difficult for anyone else to teach your class – ever!”

“I hope colleagues will forgive the irony of this title…” says Kevin, and he and goes on to explain how difficult it is for a teacher to take over a class because “the immune system of the group rejects the alien presence in its life stream”. This section includes advice such as

 8. Make a point of cultivating the strongest leaders in the class so that they see you as their special ally, the only adult who understands them.”

18. Keep a glowing personal profile about each child, but never allow anyone access to lesson notes or records because, as an inspired educator, these are unnecessary for you (anything indicating what the class might have learnt, or covered in Morning Lesson should be “lost” before you leave the school.”

Kevin says he regards these pieces of advice as “indispensable for the bond the class and teacher must form if class teaching is to work”, and says that although presented in caricature, some have something positive in them.

It may be intended as a caricature, but is a good illustration of how the  problems reported with Steiner teachers develop from such unprofessional behaviour.

When the reprinted version appears it will be interesting to see if the references to Atlantis and other obviously  anthroposophical ideas will remain. I have a feeling they may not be included, and that appendix M may also disappear.

Still teachers will be able to refer to other titles for tips on including anthroposophy, such as “The spiritual basis of Steiner Education” by Roy Wilkinson.

In the meantime, any Department for Education officals or Ofsted inspectors who wish to see my copy of this book may do so. How can inspections be made rigorously, if inspectors are not familiar with the tenets of anthroposophy?

There are a couple of copies still available on a popular on-line book site.

Another important reference book is

The Tasks and Content of the Steiner-Waldorf Curriculum Paperback – 12 Jun 2014

by Martyn Rawson (Editor), Tobias Richter (Editor), Kevin Avison (Editor), Johanna Collis (Translator)

A very detailed account of the way Steiner schools endeavour to introduce as much anthroposophy as possible into each subject, as I have mentioned before.

I hope the DfE and Ofsted have at least one copy of each of these books in their offices, and that SOMEONE has read them.

 

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3 comments

  1. alan

    Kevin Avison is the main person advising Steiner schools in Britain on how to make sure they ‘pass’ Ofsted inspections, i.e. how to try to appear ‘normal’ and hide the stuff they don’t want people to know about, bearing in mind that the Ofsted inspector doesn’t want to get in trouble with his own superiors (Whitehall doesn’t want its ‘free schools’ policy undermined by scandal, which could lead all the way to … a famous palace and beyond) and that “the key policy area will be that of ‘safeguarding young people'” (demonstrable by documents apparently, oh and by not having visible bits of roof about to fall off). I’m quoting from the SWAS Briefing Sheet 1 – Preparing for Ofsted Inspection, written by none other than our Kevin.

    in that document, he specifically refers to his own Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers. If no-one at Ofsted outside of the cult has read that handbook (whether it’s out of print or not), they are failing in their duty. Ofsted should for obvious reasons be fully aware of how schools are advised to handle Ofsted inspections.

    I do wonder whether the ‘individual lesson plans’ for individual pupils haven’t got markers for ‘personality type’ and ‘incarnation problems’ on them somewhere, perhaps in symbols or code. Maybe someone could scan one, obscure anything that might identify the pupil, and post a link to it?

  2. alan

    Curiously, Avison is also co-author of the 2008 book Inspecting the Inspectorate: Ofsted Under Scrutiny (ISBN 1906837007), published by the private think tank Civitas, which is said to be close to Michael Gove.

    Civitas was pushing to have another body replace Ofsted. Must be worth checking out who was involved alongside Avison.

  3. Dan

    Another useful book from the USA is The Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education: The Cosmic Christ Impulse by Rene Querido. Rudolf Steiner Press, Fair Oaks, CA, 1995. Querido was one of the founders of Rudolf Steiner College, the main teacher training seminar on the West Coast.

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