Списание Осем

School with no grades!

A revolutionary pedagogic method by Nana Goebel, managing Director at "Friends of the pedagogical art of Rudolph Steiner"

photo by Vladimir Machokov
photo by Vladimir Machokov
Mrs. Goebel, are the students from Waldorf School successful and how do they cope when they enter an university?

- How successful our students are, is clear from the results they show. Let me give you an example from Romania. In the last two years their exams were changed because of corruption in the evaluation. Now the control is much enhanced by video surveillance, etc. result is that only 44% of Romanian children cope with the exams. In Waldorf schools, the percentage is between 88% and 92%. Why is this so? Young people there know more than the students in other schools. They do not have problems to study in a university afterwards. Well, they are a little bit different from the other kids. They are responsible young people, they can speak, express freely, they have no fear and that is why they often say things which they think and sometimes are not politically correct. Sometimes people get angry at them. But this has nothing to do with their cognitive skills. It is related with the fact that they develop their position to life themselves and decide what to accept and what not on their own. In Norway, testimony for completed Waldorf School is accepted as admission exam for University. Teachers love Waldorf students because they have interest, study with desire and ask questions.

More and more children become dependent on computers and computer games. Why is this so and what can be done?

- To understand this, I will compare them with the normal games. In preschool because of the Waldorf pedagogy children are encouraged to play with materials that are not ready or completed. Why? So they can give new meaning of the things themselves. For example, they take a towel and create a story for King and Queen and all of a sudden, the towel becomes the Queen and etc. On the next day the same towel could become the sea. That means that the children are stimulated to use their own fantasy but also that develops the mind. Quick and well developed mind is the ability to manage on your own. When we provide the young children with fixed materials to play with or worse - computers, everything is done and virtual. The child needs only two or three fingers to press the buttons. Contrary to the expectations, the fine motoric does not develop properly. On the contrary - there are studies in the USA which show that computer games, especially those with criminal content, stimulate the development of certain motoric, that is needed for the use of weapons. The imagination of the child is being limited. The independent activity has no place in these games because the content is predetermined. That means that the computer games kill the soul of the child at a very early age. Even if it is very difficult, the computers should be banned in preschool. The same thing, but in less amount, happens when watching TV. The child gets ready pictures
and cannot build their own fantasy, or develop the world. Nowadays, there are researchers who proved that the finished images lower the activity of the brain.

When is the right time to introduce the computer in the child's life?

What can we do for our children to go to school with pleasure?

Should there be grades in school?

Read the full interview with Nana Goebel who will answer those important questions in issue 2/2013 of magazine Ossem!