The starting point for Waldorf pedagogy - an educational process based on the child’s experience, the harmonious development of the mind, feelings, and will. This requires a selection of content and methods that is appropriate to the pupil's age and helps them to better understand themselves, to cope with emerging crises more easily, to avoid social exclusion and to succeed in learning. In the process of education, the rhythm of the day and year, associated with ethno-cultural traditions, artistic and aesthetic aspect, and practical cognition are important. The most important common human existential values in this pedagogy are that a child who has gone to life should have the strength to find answers to the questions of their being, be able to resolve conflicts constructively, have confidence in their own strength, be socially active, feel the need for learning and lifelong development. Waldorf pedagogy fosters creativity, the ability to wonder and take an interest in the world, and respect for humanity and nature.
Waldorf pedagogy and the concept of the curriculum
In various countries, Waldorf school curricula are developed taking into account the country's cultural traditions and the peculiarities of the education system, in accordance with the main provisions and principles of Waldorf pedagogy.
The International Waldorf School Association, in collaboration with the Waldorf Pedagogical Section of Gothenburg (Switzerland, Dornach), is preparing material summarizing the experience gained in different countries. The specificity of Waldorf pedagogy-based school programs is determined by the proposed unique ways and methods of organizing the teaching process, as well as the unique layout of the curriculum. The programs are based on the global Waldorf pedagogical practice, which provides observations, research on the regularities of child development, on the essential needs of a growing person at different ages. Waldorf school curricula are a summary of the experience gained for the teacher, but not a document that strictly regulates his work. The purpose of the Waldorf program is to be a source of inspiration, guidelines, a starting point and a guide in the work of a teacher. The aim is for the content and methodology of Waldorf school programs to perform the following functions: to enable the child to face difficulties corresponding to their maturity, thus stimulating the spread of his or her inner powers; to support, strengthen, consolidate the developing abilities of the child, give food to their inner life; enable the child to acquire meaningful knowledge and skills. The Waldorf School Curriculum is based on the general teaching principles of the Waldorf School, the Waldorf Pedagogical Education Programs of other countries and the General Programs of Lithuania. The educational goals, objectives, values and general abilities of the Waldorf school are broadly in line with the goals, objectives and provisions of the Framework Programs.
General pedagogical and methodological principles and ideas of the program
Waldorf programs follow the following basic pedagogical principles and ideas:
The principle of pedocentrism. When choosing the content and methods of teaching, the school focuses primarily on the child: the child's age stage, the immediate prospects for his development. The main goal of education is for the child to study and go to school with interest.
The principle of comprehensive education. The educational process aims to reconcile the harmonious development of personality thoughts, feelings and will.
The principle of a life-oriented, practical learning direction. Theoretical teaching is constantly linked to life realities.
The idea of experience pedagogy. Related to the child's cognitive and emotional activities in the educational process. Visuality plays the most important role in the initial stage, and in the next stage - the study of phenomena. Concept formation is a secondary process.
The idea of freedom. The ultimate goal of school pedagogy is the free secular, social and professional self-determination of each personality in the context of the realization of their individual freedom and responsibility.
The idea of pedagogy as a creative process. Each teacher has the opportunity to creatively organize the educational process, taking into account the class and the individual situation of each child and based on their own abilities and experience.
In implementing the above principles and ideas, it is proposed to follow the following didactic, methodological and organizational-pedagogical references in the educational process:
Teaching in periods
Periods are 1-3 week concentrated learning cycles that allow the student to concentrate more on the subject being taught, to delve into it consistently. Periods teach all major subjects (native language, math, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) during the main lesson.
The main lesson, which begins every day at school, is one of the essential ways of organizing the teaching process. During the main lesson, time is devoted to the presentation of new subject material and discussion of the assimilated material, its artistic meaning, oral and written exercises, retelling, individual and joint work. Combination the parts of concentration and relaxation is apparent. The teacher draws up a plan for each lesson, collects material, sets out the objectives of the lesson and teaching methods, taking into account the needs of a particular class and following the curriculum. It is very important to turn the lesson into a harmonious whole so that the individual parts fit together and complement each other.
The following structural parts of the main lesson can be distinguished:
Part I - general conversation, recitation of poetry, making music, rhythmic exercises, remembering, summarizing, supplementing the theme of the previous day;
Part II - consolidation of acquired knowledge, development of practical skills and abilities;
Part III - presentation of new material, discussions;
The lesson ends with storytelling in the lower grades and reading biographies or storytelling in the upper grades.
Each day begins with a main lesson lasting two academic hours. It integrates a variety of subjects and activities: developing basic and oral skills, making music and drawing, repeating past material and discussing a new topic, individual and group work, and so on. After the main lesson, there are lessons and exercises that require constant repetition (foreign language, eurythmy, physical education, music, moral education, etc.), in which the skills of the main subjects are developed. It is very important that the specialist lessons are related to the topic of the main lesson that is taking place that week. Technology, art classes usually take place around noon or afternoon breaks.
The role of the teacher
Waldorf’s pedagogy is based on the premise that when teaching any subject, it is important for the teacher to have a clear understanding of why they provides the child with one or another educational knowledge, what the discipline can give to the child, how it will affect their internal development. Forms of organization of the teaching process, specific features of the methodology require special preparation for work in Waldorf schools. Teachers acquire the necessary qualifications in Waldorf pedagogical seminars organized especially for class (main) teachers and subject teachers. For Waldorf's teacher, constant interest in innovation, improvement, and active internal work are very important.
Class (main) teacher
In a Waldorf pedagogical school, each class has a class teacher who takes care of it up to and including grades VI – VIII. The class teacher, by getting to know each student well, observes the process of developing their personality, helps to overcome the difficulties that students face as they grow and mature. The main teacher, together with the subject teachers, organizes the classroom activities according to the needs of the specific class and the set goals. A teacher in grades I – VI (VIII) teaches all the basic and some other lessons. In the upper classes, lessons are taught by subject specialists, one of whom becomes a class teacher by the decision of the college of teachers.
Student assessment is based on an idiographic approach. Each child's achievements are assessed individually, taking into account his or her abilities and the level of development achieved. Teachers regularly share information about children's achievements or failures with parents during meetings, report in writing, consult and jointly decide how to help the child overcome difficulties. The teacher monitors the individual development and achievements of each student, their participation in various activities, efforts, activity, special abilities in any field, achievements in the social field. Based on these observations, at the end of the year (as needed each semester or trimester), the teacher writes a detailed description of the child’s development. It describes not only the child's learning achievements, acquired skills, but also work style, participation in social activities.
Didactic attitudes towards content dissemination
In the initial stage, the child learns the educational material more easily, conveyed through picturesque stories and images. In this way, he creates an inner picture, and the emotional relationship helps keep the interest alive. Up to Class IX, the basic method is phenomenological. Instead of a large amount of information and a variety of examples, an in-depth examination of the most typical examples, or essential phenomena, takes place. By examining the individual examples in detail, general concepts and images are mastered at the same time. This method allows to combine theory and practice, to show the connections between example and rule, phenomenon and law. In the older classes, the child’s logical thinking is mature enough for him to study phenomena in the abstract. Thus, the transition from the IX class to the purely academic way of presenting the study material is made.
Naudingi straipsniai apie Valdorfo pedagogiką
- Savitos mokyklos: netradicinės, alternatyvios ar tiesiog kitokios?
- Valdorfo pedagogikos projekte parengta metodinė medžiaga: http://valdorfoprojektas.lt/index.php/metodine-medziaga
- Virtualioje edukacinėje bibliotekoje apie Valdorfo pedagogiką: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgmAVOv3Lv3F1HNAwz9fTO1NZbNaGTOxI
- Informacijos vokiečių, anglų kalba yra labai daug, pvz.: http://www.waldorf-resources.org/, http://www.waldorf-ideen-pool.de/
- Rasos Žiburkienės, Vilniaus Valdorfo mokyklos mokytojos, paskaita „Ugdymo ypatumai Valdorfo mokyklos 1-8 klasėse“, perskaityta Vilniaus Valdorfo mokykloje. Ritminius pratimus demonstruoja Jurga Serapinienė, Vilniaus Valdorfo mokyklos mokytoja. 2013 m. vasario 27 d., Vilnius. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vDoAaF-EkGA
- Aušros Puskunigienės, Vilniaus Valdorfo mokyklos mokytojos, paskaita „Ugdymo ypatumai Valdorfo mokyklos 9-12 klasėse“.
Vilniaus Valdorfo mokykla. 2013 m. kovo 20 d., Vilnius. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VGxpBm6iU6c#!