Television, videos, and education

By Lance Gardner (Lance) on May 10, 2011

This is an article recently written by my son's first grade teacher at a private Waldorf school. I have published it here with his permission; it was originally written for the school newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.

First, let me introduce the author of this article:  Mr. Phil, the current first grade teacher at a Waldorf school. Mr. Phil as the children call him is educated in the Waldorf method of teaching, and has taught at Waldorf schools for many years.  He also enjoys music, juggling, and of course humor (how can you teach children without a good sense of humor?).  Mr. Phil does not do much with electronics, so do not expect a wonderful lengthy online conversation with him; I will have to take over that role, with the length of my responses depending on my other priorities (such as my son, whose well-being always comes first). 

Now a brief synopsis of a Waldorf education: A Waldorf education is much different than other types of more standard education, and includes a lot of art, music, handwork, creativity, imagination, play, and physical outdoor experiences.  The teaching methods are also different, and do not rely on rote memorization of mathematical tables, letters, and other academic skills.  Waldorf uses no electronics in their school, and prefers using natural materials such as bees wax for molding and shaping, yarn, felt, wood, and similar materials.  This means they learn to use their imagination, hands, and actually learn their numbers and writing instead of relying on a computer or calculator.  This type of education is one that I personally find much more effective at creating a balanced child, and therefore adult, as well as promoting more natural learning as opposed to strict memorization of facts and figures. 

Out of concern for the school and their children, I will be vague about locations, names, and include no photos in his articles.  You may C-mail me if you have more direct questions and I will try and give reasonable answers.  If you are interested in learning more about Waldorf or finding a school near you, you can easily do an internet search.  For additional information, check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/index.asp

National TV Turnoff Week was April 18-25 this year (2011). 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen-Free_Week

http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/index.html#TOC

http://www.screenfree.org/

 

 I hope you enjoy Mr. Phil's article:

 

In light of our upcoming TV Turnoff week (especially since I am a great skeptic), I decided to do a little of my own research.  In the mode of my Great books education, I began with the Great Books.  I wanted to ask the authors of the finest works of Literature, Philosophy, Science, and Theology how much TV is too much, and how much they actually watched. 

First, I consulted Plato.  Can you believe that he learned through discussions?  He actually spoke to Socrates and Aristotle!  They would assemble a group and sit (or even walk) while discussing the ideal state, or justice, or art.  His best student, Aristotle, even went so far as to say that the lowest form of drama was the spectacle!  

Well, what do they know about good art?  I checked in with William Shakespeare, who authored many comedies, tragedies, and even a few histories.  I wondered where he got such a fine imagination: surely from watching Comedy Central, Lifetime, and the History Channel.  Nope. He came up with these stagings on his own.  In fact, he never once watched a single television show!  

Okay, I agree, maybe good drama can be written without the influence of TV, but not science!  Everyone knows that some TV shows can be very educational.  Ask anyone why their children are watching TV, and they'll tell you: "They really learn a lot of nature and science stuff."  I took this argument to Marie Curie.  She was a pretty busy, working mother of two daughters.  I figured she must have let them watch quite a bit of TV so they could learn science (and stay out of her hair).  Nope!  She built a jungle gym in her backyard. 

I realize that these are only three figures in history who did not watch television, but upon further research, I found out that not a single author of any of the Great Books ever watched a single minute of television.  Hmm.  What would we do without it? 

Related articles:
children, education, television, videos, Waldorf

About Lance Gardner
I have an interest in just about anything that gets me outside, as well as anything that is alive or grows, and in making things. So my hobbies include gardening, outdoors, photography, dogs, woodworking, and most importantly raising my son.

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Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Smart man! KyWoods May 27, 2011 6:16 PM 18

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