At Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK.
Hosted by Michael Hall School for the new entry of 2016.
By Dr Robert Rose
The MA at Canterbury Christchurch University (CCCU) is in Partnership with the Steiner / Waldorf Schools Fellowship. For the new entry of 2016, the MA will be hosted by Michael Hall School.
The MA began in June 2013 with students from many different backgrounds. All of whom have varying degrees of experience in both Steiner and Mainstream education giving them unique insights into the workings of both. This has lead to some very lively conversations over the last academic year.
The MA is not a teacher training course as such, but for those who are interested in research-based teaching it may be a key ingredient to the future of Waldorf Education. It is a research-based course which aims to compare and evaluate Steiner’s essential educational philosophy with contemporary thought. It is intended that this would have a fruitful impact on teaching practice as well as on education research.
The MA is co-taught, with the main tutors being present at all sessions. Teaching with others is a very engaging experience which gives participants insights into the connectedness of Steiner / Waldorf education to the rich variety of educational thought today and shows how all educationalists have similar concerns in common. This is an important part of the MA as it demonstrates how education is not defined by the National Curriculum and that Steiner education has many “kindred spirits” in the World. There is also an excellent working relationship with the tutors from CCCU, something which the participants appreciate and shows that all educationalists are attempting to help humanity.
The MA is designed to be very manageable, with one weekend per module every term plus reading and an assignment of about 4000 words. The modules can be seen in the brochure located at the Steiner / Waldorf Schools Fellowship website, which can also be attained form me at email@example.com.
The course begins with the module on “criticality and research” (not as foreboding as it sounds). Different tutors introduced different aspects of research methods. There is a brief introduction to Waldorf Education as a global phenomenon which includes a power point presentation of the rich variety of Steiner / Waldorf schools around the World. This gave rise to a consideration of the relevance of contemporary research methods to Steiner Education and a brief introduction to Steiner’s own research methods.
The second module is on the importance of the teacher Self in education. There are talks and practical exercises on the question of “moral leadership”, together with an introduction to Steiner’s idea of the Self in connection with “ethical individualism” and “self-development” and the significance for teachers. All of this was done in connection with modern research.
The third module is on “theories of child development” in modern research and in connection with Steiner’s ideas of the different human phases. This module contrasts Steiner’s views on child development with other thinkers such as Vygotsky, Bruner and Donaldson.
The fourth module is on the topic of Spiritual and Moral Education. This looks at the Government’s directive in this area and Steiner’s contribution to it. The lectures consider Steiner’s idea that this aspect of education is the “most important” and most “central part” of all forms of education and how it is vital in a healthy functioning society.
The fifth module is about Education Policy. In relation to Steiner / Waldorf Curriculum, this considers the questionable criticisms that it is a form of indoctrination. The module provides balanced evidence that Steiner was against indoctrination / pseudoscience and that if anything Steiner / Waldorf Education attempts to expand the nature of education and science.
The sixth module is the topic: Education, Culture and Society. The module takes a broad view in attempting to understand Steiner’s contribution to culture and society – considering how it meshes in with the historical changes since the Enlightenment and what it has to contribute to the further evolution of society.
The seventh module is a research based dissertation and is the culmination of the MA. Participants engage in formulating a research question which is of deepest significance and relevance to them personally. The module begins with a research methods weekend where modern methods are introduced and compared with Steiner’s own methods. These are then individualised in relation to the participant’s personal research question.
The MA could play an important role in the future of Steiner Teacher education. On the one hand it implicitly addresses many of the criticisms of Steiner / Waldorf education that are currently circulating, but without making them the focus of the study. It affirms the academic credibility of Steiner / Waldorf education as well as the serious way in which academics can understand Steiner (rather than the way of the pseudo-academics who just want to criticise rather than understand). On the other hand, the MA also gives teachers and others the opportunity to get to grips with the core ideas in Steiner and compare them with others, showing similarities as well as differences. This could make an important contribution to Steiner / Waldorf schools movement generally as well as deepen the academic credentials of Steiner Education and Anthroposophy in the World.
The MA could be of value to teachers from Steiner / Waldorf or Mainstream education as well as administrators or simply those interested in the subject. It may also be a good stepping stone for those aspiring to leadership positions in the Steiner / Waldorf Schools movement.
The MA is now recruiting for the next year, so if you would like further information or wish to express an interest in this course please contact:
At the Parent and Child Woodland Group this morning, we discovered huge pumpkins and marrows and tiny gourds, apples, tomatoes, flowers and seed heads. We stopped at a pond with a fish in it and watched the waterfall. The children helped to pick Echinacea and Lemon Balm to make tea. They then had a feast of blackberries and songs were sung whilst chopping and sawing wood.
Ring time was held under the shelter of a beech tree, where traditional songs were sung followed by tea and a porridge. The children helped to add the raisins and chopped apples and stir the yummy feast.
Most importantly there was a lot of splashing around in puddles!
After a busy two years working on their Waldorf Curriculum as well as a maximum of seven GCSE exams, the students of Michael Hall are yet again celebrating excellent GCSE results. With 30 students sitting a total of 194 exams, we are delighted to announce that 93.84% were graded at C or above. 73.3% of year 11 students gained 5 GCSEs including Maths and English and an impressive 36% of the results were A or A* grades. Of the compulsory subjects, English achieved 30% A and A*, with 90% A-C; Maths achieved 83% A-C and Science overall 93.5% A-C. Fantastic results!
Students excelled with a raft of high grades: Flora Durgerian achieved 2A*, 5As and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component; Yijia Wu achieved 3 A*, 3 As and 1 B; Lorenzo Van Breda achieved 2A*, 4 As, 1 B and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component ; Kanto Ohara-Maeda 2A*, 4As and 1B Max Durdant-Hollamby 3As, 3Bs and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component ; Zoe Jordan-Tank 3A*, 2As, 2Bs and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component; Freddie Lewers 3As, 4Bs and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component; Koren Livesey 3As, 4Bs and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component; Finn Purdy; 3A*, 2As, 1B and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component; and Evangeline Van-Manen 5As, 2Bs and a 5/5 in the English Speaking and Listening component.
Congratulations to all our students, their teachers and parents for their hard work and well deserved results!
Audrey Reggio, our Upper School Coordinator & Examinations Officer
Well done to all of our pupils who worked so hard and achieved so well in their A levels this summer. 47% of our students gained A* or A grades, with 93% having grades between C and A*. We were delighted that our students had a 100% pass rate for their A2 examinations.
Our congratulations go particularly to: Nathaniel Carpenter who gained A* A* A and is off to Imperial College London, Rohan Stevenson (AAA), Adriana Lasheras-Mabanta (A* A B), Eluned Gulbekian Faram (A*A B), Ava Wesson (A* A B) Laura Manning (AAB) Miranda Blaxland-De Lange (A* A B).
We are particularly pleased this year with our Fine Art results where, out of 10 students 5 received A* and 4 received an A. Special mention should also be made of Lennox Smith in his AS results achieving A grades in every unit that he took and to Jani Pritchard of the same year who took his German A level in one year and achieved an A*
Congratulations to all of the pupils and to the staff at the School for working so hard to support these results. It is important to note that, in addition to taking these examinations and achieving such impressive results the students have spent 50% of their time on a Waldorf, non-examined curriculum providing greater breadth and depth to their education.
Audrey Reggio, our Upper School Coordinator & Examinations Officer
Class 11 Social Practical - A trip to Botton Village
Last week, from the 27th of June to the 4th of July, the whole of Class 11 travelled up to Yorkshire with our class guardians and Madame Coote to pay a visit to Botton. This class trip is one that happens every year with each Class 11, and is known as a Social Practical. In other words, a practical trip during which we gain a broader social awareness and experience, learning key skills to take on board and apply to other people and situations in the future. The reason Botton is the chosen location for this kind of trip is because it is a Camphill Village Trust Community, where people with learning disabilities (known as residents) live alongside co-workers and support the community there by working together. Our task at Botton would be to help out in the community and come to an understanding of how it all works in the week we spent there.
Botton itself is comprised of a small village and the few farms dotted around it, all nestled within the gorgeous expanse of a valley in the beautiful North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire. The landscape it’s set in is an absolutely breathtaking sight, and the amount of nature that constantly surrounded us during our stay gave the trip a free and simple feel. After the stress of exams, we were escaping back into the basics of nature.
This was very much the case with our duties around Botton as well. The class was split into a few different groups to work at various places around Botton, most commonly the farms, and jobs included weeding, hay-making, forestry, and herding farm animals such as sheep, cows, and chickens. The experience was very physical, and it left a lot of us very achy during the first few days. But though the work was hard, it was also somehow relaxing. It was calming, in that it required no mental strain and instead only the use of the physical body, which was a very nice change after mentally exhausting exams. Many members agreed that as such, the trip was extremely well timed.
I know for a fact that through working with the members of the community with special needs at Botton, the class has come away with a much greater confidence and capability to interact with those we would call mentally handicapped. Though many of us were apprehensive of how to behave around these people at first, we soon realised how friendly, open, and approachable the residents at Botton are, and it was hard for us all not to react in the same way. Completing tasks on the farms with the residents was extremely rewarding, and not just because of the physical end-products of our labour.
Some quotes taken from presentations presented by class members to the rest of Class 11 reveal just a couple of the realisations many of us came to.
“What I found interesting was how you didn’t have to ‘tiptoe’ around the residents; you could behave with them in exactly the same way as you would with anyone else. I ended up thinking, who am I to say that these people aren’t ‘normal’? They’re just people. Who am I to say that they have a disability?” - Seamus Dillane
“They just have a different perspective on the world.” - Mickey Weavers
As such, I believe the trip to Botton has had a very positive effect on our class. Indeed, we all seemed to come away from it as much more accepting of each other and much more open as people. I feel that the resident’s friendly and unjudgemental personalities rubbed off on all of us. Spending time with the residents and co-workers at Botton, completing practical tasks for the wider community, being able to feel proud of our ability to contribute, and finally, learning how to better understand and appreciate everyone around us without any prejudices, were all things that Botton offered our class as fantastic opportunities to grow and better ourselves as a group and as individuals. I have often heard it said that the Class 11 trip to Botton is life-changing. And having seen the influence it has had on our class as a whole and the opportunities it has given us to be more socially accepting and mature in the future, I am inclined to agree.
Katherine Burgess, Class 11 student
Tuesday mornings from 10am until 12.15
Watching a frog
Hear from a parent
I just wanted to share my experience of the outdoor parent and child group as I had such a lovely morning!
I would really recommend going for a taster session before the end of term to enjoy a gentle morning exploring the stunning Michael Hall grounds with group leader Lorna and the other parents and children.
As we wandered peacefully through the grounds Lorna shared her knowledge of the wild plants and their uses with the parents whilst the children explored close by and listened to the birdsong.
Lorna's beautiful ring time transported the children on a magical adventure to the seaside, which was then followed by a well earned shared snack of fruit and muesli.
The parents were treated to delicious fresh elder flower tea gathered on our journey through the schools beautiful biodynamic garden.
Much to the delight of the children our stroll homeward lead us past the piglets and then on to story time and a farewell song.
This is a really inspiring and nourishing group, do go along and experience it for yourself and your child!
To sign up contact Reception or email Lorna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org