Issue 10/23

We need trained thinking!

Stefan Grosse

The required training of the thinking certainly also happens indirectly through knitting and making music, but only indirectly. Waldorf schools have specialised in their profiles over the decades. There are inclusive schools, schools with a vocational education programme, schools with small and large classes under one roof. I consider it important that there should also be Waldorf schools that explicitly promote academic learning.

This could be an upper school that starts after the Waldorf class teacher period in year 9 and leads up to the school-leaving certificate in year 13. It should lead to a subsequent academic education programme. The school would have three profile strands: one in the natural sciences, one in the humanities and one in the arts. Given the appropriate resources, art could be divided into an artistic and a visual arts programme, and a computer science programme could also be considered. The current variety of subjects would be reduced to six core subjects, for example. The core subjects would be intensified, whereby the school-like 45-minute cycle would be eliminated by working on content in open project periods in free learning groups. Teachers would act more as advisors than before, guiding pupils through the topic using the Socratic method, i.e. in dialogue and striving for clear definitions. The lesson content would be based on the Waldorf curriculum, but would focus on different areas depending on the profile, meaning that thematic areas could be expanded so that new content would have to be added. The idea from developmental psychology that led to the selection of content in the curriculum would remain the same. Such a school would communicate the idea of achievement. It would respond to talents. Pupils can experience that they are high achievers. This can have a liberating effect, strengthens self-esteem and leads to resilience.

The idea of such a school is not as new and unusual as it might seem. Oslo City Steiner School has been doing this for many years, so the model has already passed the practical test. In order to successfully carry out such an experiment in Germany, qualified teachers and sufficient financial resources would be needed. A foundation would have to be enthusiastic about such a project and provide long-term funding.


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