Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TIME MANAGEMENT AT THE MEADOW SCHOOL

Time Management with Year 6 and 7 Students
Sarah-Jo Robinson, Class Teacher, The Meadow School (Email:
sarah-jo@gtwiz.co.uk)


Following a generous donation of the necessary equipment from TMI, in
May/June 2007 the Year 6 and 7 (equivalent) students at The Meadow School
for Steiner Education were introduced to a system of planning and time
management developed by Jonathan Wolf-Phillips (based on a TMI compact
binder and small selection of TMI tabs and forms).

Each student received up to three 90 minute sessions of individual tuition
with Jonathan Wolf-Phillips, in which they were introduced to annual, weekly
and daily planning, together with support to develop and record their
intentions over these periods. All pupils came out of these sessions feeling
competent and able to use the system independently. Over the next few weeks
until the end of the year they worked with the system on a daily basis
within school and in most cases at home as well. The students were
universally positive about the experience, with the most favourable comments
coming from those students who customarily experience difficulty with
organisation/planning and/or with specific learning difficulties. This work
provided the culmination of work done during the year on team planning and
the establishment of a Class Council, which developed from curriculum work
on the establishment of democracy in Ancient Greece and Rome.

The students experienced clear boosts in self-esteem as a result of this
work, together with a range of new skills related to planning and
organisation with concomitant benefits for their academic work, leisure
activities and overall well-being. This was intensified by (but not
dependent on) the fact that students were aware that key teachers in the
school use the same system for their own planning.

In September 2007 these students left the school, moving on to a range of
different secondary schools or to be home educated. When contacted in
October, all the students reported having used the materials and the skills
learned during the summer holidays. On arrival at secondary schools most
students had been presented with a separate planner. Roughly 50% of the
students had then ceased to use the system they had been taught in June, as
they did not feel the need for more than one system. Other students
highlighted the fact that the new planning system they had received did not
cover weekends and holidays and reported that they had found it possible and
indeed desirable to dovetail both systems. No students were therefore still
using the earlier system on a daily basis, but they did not find that this
inhibited their use of either system. There was little feedback from
students who were being home educated, but those who did comment were still
using the system, albeit on an intermittent basis. All students approached
(including those who no longer used the system) identified that the skills
learnt had been interesting, enjoyable and beneficial and suggested that
other classes could also benefit from a similar experience.

Parental comments included acknowledgements of the "boost to self-esteem"
and the "immense pride which he felt in all the different aspects of the
system". In one case this led to a parent also asking for training in the
system "in order to keep up with her!" The system was reported to have
travelled on camping trips and even across the Atlantic during the summer
holidays!

This work provided a ground breaking experience in working with time
management with primary age pupils. Clearly it was a very positive
experience which could bear significant fruits if continued on a larger
scale. It was of particular interest that students with identifiable
learning difficulties or problems with organisation seemed to be able to
learn and implement these skills particularly easily.

The original donation from TMI is acknowledged with gratitude and was
fundamental to allowing this research to take place. Great thanks is also
due to Jonathan Wolf-Phillips for all the time he donated to this work with
our students. If anyone is interested in working with him individually on
time management (several members of our community have already done so and
benefited hugely from it) Jonathan can be contacted on
jonathan@wolf-phillips.com.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP - A competence within Waldorf curriculum & practice

The Waldorf curriculum (& practice) has embedded within it numerous skills - networks of interconnected, useable skills, or competences. Articulating these fields of competence, identifying how these might be further developed & what other activities might be appropriate for the children at each stage of their education, is one way of re-enlivening our approach to teaching. What follows is an attempt to do this for "citizenship," a subject "concealed" in the Waldorf curriculum. As the reader will understand, this is work in progress, but no mere abstraction; colleagues in some schools are currently exploring this "Citizenship Curriculum" with their classes & one Maintained school has a highly successful Student Council running on the lines indicated (which has attracted media & research interest) . This draft curriculum here has been developed as a framework for exploring the possibilities. You are invited to comment on this work, or better, to try whatever elements of it you can with your own class - & let us know how you get on swas@steinerwaldorf.org


1. Introduction

These notes on an Active Citizenship curriculum for Steiner-Waldorf settings are based on the publication The educational tasks and content of the Steiner-Waldorf curriculum, and the ‘Associative Leadership’ approach to running Steiner schools. Those involved with developing this approach in the Steiner-Waldorf movement would welcome the opportunity to explore how the curriculum could be adapted for use in state schools (see Appendix 1).

Kevin Avison (Executive Officer and Advisory Service Coordinator, Steiner-Waldorf Schools Fellowship)
Sarah-Jo Robinson (Class Teacher, The Meadow School)
Anja Toddington (Early Years Teacher, The Meadow School)
Sarah Vaughan (Class Teacher, The Meadow School)
Jonathan Wolf-Phillips (independent consultant and trainer)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. Competency-based curriculum notes

Upper KindergartenBecoming aware of self as initiator

· Encouraging a developing sense of self in a group as awareness of being among the “the oldest children” starts to develop.

· Encouraging consciousness of caring for others & sharing with them.

· Encouraging sense of responsibility towards the whole e.g. responsibility for wiping the table.

· Encouraging increased consciousness of process of activities and application of direct consequences/sanctions as needed (first preparation for concept of ‘accountability’ & “just” dealing).

Class 1 and 2Becoming conscious of personal needs in relationship with those of groups

· Facilitating transition from instruction to pupils taking responsibility for own equipment, planning page layout of work etc.

· Facilitating developing awareness of purpose of simple social order: e.g. timetable, scheduling, managing time within the day

· Facilitating a sense of “our class”(belonging & ownership) so pupils are prepared to join in activities even when this is not individual preference.
Class 3 & 4Experiencing individual will & in the context of collective intentions

· Within practical projects, include basic planning and review skills. Introduction to filing.

· Writing informal proposals, probably in letter format (e.g. to Class Teacher or Lower School Teachers Meeting).

· During local history and/or geography, introduce nested-hierarchies (holarchies).

· Further practical project planning, including: “the 5 Ps”, basic budgeting, and writing proposals (e.g. to School Management Team/College/Lower School), with more of a formal structure, as used by adults within the school.

· Introduce GMI informally, leading to brief GMI explanation.

· Possible introduction of the gradient of agreement around internal class issues.[hmm! – not so sure]

Class 5 & 6 (and possibly 7)Learning to create plans to support intentions, developing an argument, finding the self in encounter with others

· History of Ancient Greece and birth of democracy, the polis, city state and hinterland narrative.

· Discussion of related themes, e.g. one ruler versus several, the voice of the people, what is tyranny etc.

· “Station in life” – understood through the concept castes & ancient the Egyptian pyramid hierarchy

· Experience of simple majority voting (e.g. in class debates).

· Establishment of a Class Council: Creating a ‘Statement of Ethos’, drawing up a Class Plan (for agreement by the School Management Team), drawing up a constitution for the Class Council.

· In context of above, revise/introduce gradient of agreement and make recommendations to wider school body (e.g. School Management Team).

· History of Ancient Rome, Roman law, slavery and citizenship, freedom from tyranny, fall of Julius Caesar narrative.

· Running your own meetings: creating agendas, facilitating participative meetings.
· Mediaeval History, the church, the court and the urban guilds – social interactions – Magna Carta

· If not already introduced – organisation of time and resources for homework as needed

· Conflict resolution using a rights-needs-intentions based approach.

Class 7, 8 & 9Developing individualising intelligence - identifying & applying planning, negotiation skills

· Age of Discovery, culture clashes – what is ideology

· Civil War – Putney Debates, legalism, aristocracy, alternative versions of leadership (Levellers, Diggers &c.)

· Forming and implementing Class Teams (e.g. fundraising for class trip).

· Updating Class Council and team plans as necessary.

· Message handling and computer-based filing (ICT).

· Age of Revolution, growth of national identity, increasing demand for individual rights, mass education, rights and responsibilities.

· Transition to being part of a Student Council - Option to become involved in council implementation teams.

Class 10 (continuing into Class 11 & 12)The effective self – reflecting on processes, analysis & integration of previously learnt skills

· Option to join the management team of the Student Council (including recruitment to implementation teams etc).

· Option to join a one of the school’s implementation teams (e.g. fundraising, PR).

· Mentoring of Implementation Team facilitators.

· Option to learn medium term personal planning tools and personal reflection tools.

· Option to join the Governance Team of the Student Council.

· Option to apply to join n the School Association.

· Discussion of philosophy behind the curriculum as part of the philosophy Main Lesson.

· Mentoring other students involved in the governance and management teams of the Student Council.

· Option to join the Governance Team of another Steiner-Waldorf school (as appropriate).

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Appendix 1: Recent Ofsted report on Citizenship


Ofsted recently published a report on Citizenship education (Towards consensus? Citizenship in secondary schools, September 2006, reference: HMI 2666) which is relevant, see in particular:


· The Executive Summary, in particular: a) bullet points 2 and 3 under the “Schools and Colleges” section under the “recommendations” heading on page 3; and b) the single bullet point in the “training providers” section under the same heading section on page 4.

· Paragraph 1, in particular the reference to pedagogy.

· Paragraph 5, in particular the quote from Sir Bernard Crick.

· Paragraph 14, in particular the references to “active elements”.

· Paragraph 19, in particular the quote from the Hansard Society.

· Paragraphs 34 to 42, in particular paragraphs 37, 39 and 42.

· Paragraph 44, in particular the quote from Iain Hulland at Alder Grange Community and Technology School in Rossendale.

· Paragraph 52, in particular references to curriculum development.

· Paragraph 53, in particular the quote from Royton and Crompton School in Oldham.

· Paragraph 64, in particular the references to curriculum development.

· Paragraph 74, in particular the references to “leadership challenges”.

· Paragraph 99, in particular the references to pupil participation.

· Paragraph 115, in particular the references to an integrated curriculum.

· Paragraph 127, in particular the quote from Peter Brett and his reference to distinctive teaching skills.