Notes from Goldstein’s lecture
“The phlegmatic child may be inclined toward laziness; he does a lot of sitting and loves to eat potatoes and pasta so that it is difficult for him to move and remain alert.” In arithmetic, he “enjoys the constant activity of adding numbers” and in music, he prefers “instruments that don’t have to be tuned or fussed with, such as the piano.”
The choleric is fiery and “likes to barrel through things.” He or she usually has a somewhat stocky build. In arithmetic, “division is a choleric activity,” and in music, the drum is his instrument of choice. The choleric child is always looking for a fight; he can be “a thorn in the teacher’s side,” so the teacher is advised to befriend the cholerics or the class will suffer tyrants instead of selfless leaders.
The four phlegmatics in Goldstein’s class sit in the back of the classroom because, she says, “If you put two phlegmatics next to each other they get so bored that they come out of themselves. It’s hard for a phlegmatic child to sit next to a choleric, because the phlegmatic needs a lot of quiet.”
Human values in waldorf education Steiner
In waldorf education we greatly value the ability to enter and understand children according to their temperaments.
We arrange the classroom setting on this basis. For example we try to understand who is Choleric and place them together. Thus the teacher knows that one corner contains all the children who tend to be Choleric. In another the children who tend to be phlegmatic sit together; somewhere in the middle are the sanguines and somewhere else the Melancholic’s are grouped. This method of grouping has a great advantage. Experience shows that after a while the phlegmatic become bored with sitting together that to get rid of their boredom they start to engage. Cholerics on the other hand start to beat up on each one another and this too quickly improves. It is the same for the fidgety sanguine and melancholics get to see what others look like absorbed in Melancholy. Working with children in this way allows one to see how like reacts favorable to like. This is true even from an external point of view, apart from the fact that it allows teaches to survey the whole class much more easily because the children of similar tempurametns are seated together. And now we come to the essential point. Teachers must go so deeply into the nature of the human being that they are able to deal in a truly practical way with cholerics, sanguine and melancholics. Naturally there will be time when it is necessary to build a bridge as I mentioned between the school and the home. And this it must be done in a friendly tactful way. Image that I have a melancholic boy in class and I can barley do anything with him. I am unable to go into his difficulties in the right way. He broods and withdraws, he is self occupied and plays no attention to what is going on in class. If one applies educational methods that are not based on knowledge of human being one might think that we should do everything possible to get his attention and draw him out. In general however this will only make things worse, the child will brood even more. All such cures which arise from superficial thinking, are of little help. The best help in such cases is the spontaneous love that the teacher feels for the child, because this arouses an awareness of sympathy and stirs the child’s subconscious… As teachers we must carry all four temperaments in a harmonious balanced activity. ..