On Thursday, January 20th, our school founder, Barbara Bedingfield, gave an enlightening talk on the Four Temperaments. The lecture was attended by members of Suncoast Waldorf’s parent body as well as the wider community. After a brief introduction on Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, Mrs. Bedingfield touched on all four temperaments: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. She discussed the importance of exact observation in Waldorf schools – really looking at a child to observe everything about them, and how the temperaments are one way of looking at the child.
Although we almost always have some of each of the temperaments in all of us, often one is predominant. Recognizing this in a child allows the Waldorf teacher to know how to meet them, so that they feel understood. She outlined many of the ways Waldorf teachers can utilize the temperaments in their classroom. For example, the telling of the same story in four different ways with each way appealing to a particular temperament. In this way, stories can often be healing.
Of course, the most entertaining part of the lecture was Mrs. Bedingfield’s vivid descriptions and depictions of each of the temperaments. Everyone was naturally trying to figure out their own temperament as well as the temperaments of spouses and children. Mrs. Bedingfield explained that as a Waldorf teacher it is important to know and accept your temperament, so that you can work on evolving yourself. Good advice for all of us.