Another dot in the blogosphere?

Waldorf “salad”

Posted on: November 20, 2018

The writeup embedded above about the rise of Waldorf schools in Estonia made for some interesting reading. But based on the reporting alone, I thought that it mixed various ideas just like a salad.

Actual salads should be healthy, but not all are. For example, two years ago CNBC reported a salad that had more calories and fat than a burger.

School policy salads are a mixed bag too. I like how the Waldorf schools in Estonia embrace the humanities, focus on cross-disciplinary integration of academic subjects, and emphasise actionable feedback instead of competitive grading.

But I wonder about their policy to avoid technology until students are in high school. When I first heard about the Waldorf way some years ago, it was about this approach.

Defenders of this approach might point out that technology is better in the hands of older and more responsible learners. They also say that technology is distracting and mind-numbing.

I would remind them that there are adults who do not know how to use technology responsibly, so it is never too young to learn. Our kids do not learn by avoidance; they learn by immersion. We are their coaches and lifeguards.

The same technology that hampers learning can also enable it. The difference lies in how students are guided to use it. And they must use it, not avoid it. Avoiding technology might reduce some problems (e.g., distraction), but it also creates other problems (e.g., unprincipled use).

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