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

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).


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.

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