Enhanced conception for a waldorf school time table

Finally, after three years, I feel again confident how to enhance my school curriculum conception according to the golden rule of waldorf pedagogics: as less teaching hours as possible, as much new know-how as possible.

Here is a possible day time-table for the grades 1 – 6:
– 9:00 – 9:40 breakfast (all students and teachers)
– 9:45 – 10:25 heart education (rhythmical education, arts, see below)
– 10:30 – 11:10 brain education (the so called main or head-lesson)
– 11:15 – 11:55 will education (movement, sports, handcrafts, see below)
– 12:00 – 12:40 lunch (all students and teachers)

Here is a possible day time-table for the grades 7 – 12:
– 9:00 – 9:40 breakfast (recommended, not obligatory)
– 9:45 – 10:25 heart education (lessons)
– 10:30 – 11:10 brain education (lessons)
– 11:15 – 11:55 mathematical education (lessons)
– 12:00 – 12:40 lunch (11-12 grade: recommended)
– 12:45 – 14:05 will education (lessons)

Depending on the school and the development of the students the time table change can be at grade 7 or 6. Nowadays I will recommend grade 7, but in the future it may be grade 6. Grade 13 will be one more, additional year for exams and university preparation, diploma thesis, research work, gap year at school and so on.

All of the afternoons are free for all of the students. On Tuesday and Wednesday all teachers, that teach in the grades 5-12 are all day long at school (till 18:00). This makes it possible for the students to take part in some extra-curriculum activities in the afternoon till 18:00. The students choose there own favourite activities. Grades 1-4 have free (obligatory). Grades 5-8 can choose some activities on one of the days (no more than one day). Grades 9-12 can choose some activities on both days (free to decide if they want this).

Here the explanations about the different subjects (example for the grades 7-12):
– all three modules are connected and there is work on the same topic from the three different perspectives of the heart, brain and will. Basically the students have only one topic, but seen from three different subjects, sides. One of the three is always science. One is always arts and one is always doing for the hands or the feet. These three modules are called main topic/subject
– Till grade 6 mathematics is a main subject. From grade 7 it is a separate subject, but always connected with the main topic/subject
– Foreign languages are included obligatory at breakfast and lunch. For classes 5-8 they are obligatory also for the will lessons. For classes 9-10 they become obligatory also for the brain and maths lessons. For classes 11-12 also for the heart lesson. This means that language proficiency in two languages on a native-speaker level will be achieved after 12 years
– No mother tongue and grammar lessons. Grammar will be learned as a part of the main topic

Examples for heart lessons:
– (pan)eurhythmics
– music (singing)
– music (playing)
– drawing
– plastics
– religion
– rhetoric
– literature (all of those once every second year)

Examples for brain lessons for the grades 7-8, 9-10, 11-12:
– Biology
– Physics
– History
– Technology
– Chemistry
– Society (includes economics, arts, culture)
– Computer Science and New Media
– Geography (all once every second year, in this or similar order)

Examples for brain lessons for the grades 1-4:
– Mathematics
– Reading/Writing/Storytelling (both twice per year)

Examples for brain lessons for the grades 5-6:
– Mathematics
– Reading/Writing/Storytelling
– Beginnings of Science
– Humans and Earth (all once per year)

Examples for will lessons:
– gymnastics and sports (once per school year)
– dancing (once per school year)
– handicraft (twice per school year)

Here a possible week time-table for the grades 1-8:
– Monday – nature day, half-day, no regular curriculum (heart)
– Tuesday and Wednesday – regular curriculum (brain)
– Thursday – action day – doing something practical, half day (will)
– Friday, Saturday, Sunday – free, no school

Here a possible week time-table for the grades 9-12:
– Monday – nature day, full day, no regular curriculum (heart)
– Tuesday and Wednesday – regular curriculum (brain)
– Thursday – work in a company, practical projects, full day (will)
– Friday, Saturday, Sunday – free, no school

The nature day will be used also as a storytelling day and a kind of a heart day when all students and teachers of the school start to vibrate together.

Here a possible year time-table for all grades:
– 15.4 – 15.6 spring term (about 9 (3+3+3) weeks, 2 months)
– 15.6 – 15.7 longest day break/holiday (about 4 weeks, 1 month)
– 15.7 – 15.9 summer term
– 15.9 – 15.10 equal autumn day-night break/holiday
– 15.10 – 15.12 autumn term
– 15.12 – 15.1 longest night break/holiday
– 15.1 – 15.3 winter term
– 15.3 – 15.4 equal spring day-night break/holiday

Thus we have as nowadays about 36 (4 times (3+3+3) weeks) weeks of school and 16 (4 times 4 weeks break) weeks no school.

This all quite big change in the year curriculum is in order to establish more rhythm in the learning process. The students will have the opportunity to really learn according the different four seasons. A very interesting future work will be to research with subjects should be taught in which seasons. Having breaks exactly at the time of the change of the seasons, the student will have the free time and the possibility to get to know these times much better. And of course – the major year holidays are exactly at those times.

But the most important thing is something else – every term there will be 9 weeks of only one subject. The first three weeks will be education more for the will (practically doing something), than three weeks for the brain (in-depth understanding of the topic in detail) and finally three weeks for the heart (conclusion, see the whole picture, after having done something and having understood the details of it).

In order for this to really function it will be very meaningful to apply a good calendar. I still have to think about it.

It is very interesting that I obtained several concepts and ideas of students how the perfect school should look like. Most of these ideas are actually already included in this big conception (like going to school later, free choice of subjects, nice lunch, a lot of arts and many more). One even more interesting concept of the future that I have to write about is to have not a school building, but a school plane. The students from can fly away with the plane for two months every term and get to know different cultures and people. Of course this can be also done in the breaks.

PS: Sorry for the mistakes. I wrote not a single word in english in the last three years 🙂 And also less reading and speaking.

Extreme Teaching

In the last two and a half years I’ve been teaching at the waldorf school in Steffisburg, Berner Oberland, in Switzerland. It has been a very busy time. Teaching about 30 hours per week is definitely not only fun. I had to invest really everything I can in the school. Now, after leaving the school, I can look back from above at that time. Steiner says that it is important to be as effective as possible, which means to organize the lessons in such a way that the student have as little lessons as possible and learn as much as possible. This was not the case in my school. The consequence was that at some point I started to loose conscience about some of the processes happening. Now, only a few days later, I gained it again and I am very happy about it.

Now I know what was the purpose for me of being at that school exactly two and a half years – I had to see what it means to have difficulties with the students and the beginning, how to make them disappear for the sake of both the students’ and my development. Till now I always managed to inspire the students in only one or few lectures, but this time for some still not quite well-known reasons it was completely different. I needed much more time, almost two years. All that I’ve done in order to inspire them was nothing else but to love them all and being extremely patient.

And exactly this is the best thing – if you have the heart to love, the will to wait and the curiosity in mind to learn new things and to be inspired all the time, at some point, you will definitely manage to connect best with your students, so they also start to love you, be inspired because of you, be curious and start blossoming like flowers. This process can happen very fast or very slow, depending on the different conditions and specific settings at the school. But if the teacher never stops loving the students and is always interested to learn new things and to develop himself/herself than it will happen! So simple is pedagogics. At the end all of the kids really loved me and some of them even said that I am the best teacher that they had. For me the most important thing is that I’ve seen again what it means to love every single student and how I can really apply a teaching from the heart. Now I am 100% sure that this is the teaching of the future!

Becoming so conscious about these processes wouldn’t have been possible without the book “The five dimensions of the waldorf pedagogics” of Valentin Wember. Many thanks to him. In this book he point exactly where, why and how the original waldorf pedagogics of Steiner were corrupted. And he also states clear, that no matter how we improve the current schools, they can’t develop any more as much as Steiner wanted. So we have to restart, we need to found new schools, which will be really based on the spiritual teachings of Steiner and will educate through love. I am looking forward to found one such school. For me it will be particularly interesting to combine it with the teachings of Dunov and Anastasija.

Here some literature that Wember highly recommends:

– “Angstfrei lernen, selbstbewusst handeln”, Christoph Lindenberg
– „Du sollst sein Rätsel lösen“, Christoph Weichert
– „Die sieben Lebensprozesse“, Phillip Gehlitz amnd Almuth Strehlow
– „Der musikalische Bau des Menschen. Entwurf einer plastisch-musikalischen Menschenkunde“, Armin Huseman
– all of the books of Martin Wagenschein
– the Steiner pedagogical books: GA 293 till 311
– GA 131 “Von Jesus zu Christus” – this one describes the importance and the meaning of the Christ-Impulse

Also very important are the further readings from Wember:

– Willenserziehung
– Gefühlsbildung und Sozialkompetenz
– Denkerziehung. Denken. Fantasie. Gedächnis
– Menschenkunde Meditieren
– Wille zur Verantwortung

Unknown Professions of the Future and Soft Skills

Have you ever heard about the profession landscape guide? Or about trend researcher? Or about biography consultant? These are all existing professions. An there are many more like this. Many of them are very interesting for the future and it is definitely a good time investment to learn more about them in the free time. Many of the classical jobs and professions are going to disappear and this will happen faster than we think. A lot of people with good, but inflexible education will have no work or at least not the work they want to have. That’s why it is very important to start know to think about how you can develop further your soft skills, how to learn new skills for the future and to obtain new qualifications.

In order to build a sustainable society, we have to reinvent many old professions and to create new ones. Generalist skills for the everyday life and survival are going to be very important. My friends and I are preparing the foundations for a total sustainable community. Not only new ways of thinking, but also new skills, education methods and professions will be needed. One of our big projects is to create a teaching and learning centre for sustainable professions and skills. We will need a lot of people with such skills who can teach the others and learn from them. People with different backgrounds and ideas! Everyone is welcome to join us and take part of the shaping of the future.

Some Aspects of Freedom

What is freedom? When do we feel free? Do we need to be free in order to be happy and to fulfil our dreams? Or do we have to feel happy and to fulfil our dreams in order to be free. I think that the freedom is an inner feeling. If we have our own inner freedom, we’ll have the will to feel and be free in the society. Here there are some nice thoughts about freedom:

1. We want to feel free. We feel free when we are independent. But to be independent means that you have to work hard to survive. That’s why a lot of people tend to prefer not to be independent and do not feel free. Being an employee I have this feeling sometimes. I give up my freedom in order to have less work to do and to have fewer problems. All employees are more or less dependent, event too dependent. If you want to stay employee, you have to learn how to be less dependent and how to cope with the freedom you may have later.

2. If there are some boundaries and restrictions in the society, you don’t have always to take them seriously and to let them discourage you. We have to understand, that there could be a better society where we do not have to give up so much freedom.

3. If you want to be free, you’d better accept that it is a continuous process and you don’t know what we’ll be the result of it. It is even possible that you have first to give up some freedom. You have to strive for freedom with all your passion and will, every moment. Аt the same time you had to be humble and patient.

4. We often are too lazy to be free. We just prefer to stick to some artificial boundaries we’ve created on our own. We limit ourselves and then struggle for freedom between the walls we’ve built. Typical examples are our wishes, houses, cars and all other stuff we have. The biggest limitations are our own thoughts. Everything starts from the thoughts.

5. To be free means not to be afraid. If you are afraid, you can’t be free. I’ve observed many times how I was afraid and my freedom vanished instantly. When we are afraid we make bad decisions that allow no freedom. I observed it so many times with other people. There is a lot of anxiety in the society. For example, in the western societies there is always the anxiety to to lose the wealth we have and to become poor. We are afraid and we prefer to lose our freedom and our happiness. And then we do not feel our prosperity at all. And if you start to feel poor, you’re definitely going to be poor. It’s a devil’s circle.

The never Ending Improvement

Have you ever read things you’ve written some years ago? For example in blogs, forums or letters? I’ve just read an old forum, where I used to write on different topics about four years ago. It happens were seldom, that I read such old stuff, but it is always really useful. I can see my spiritual improvement and my overall development. Some thoughts are similar to the thoughts I have now, but some are completely different. I’ve improved myself a lot. It is so nice to see it. And it makes me remember one very simple, but important fact – no matter where you stay, there is always some improvement potential and you have to use it. Some years later you’ll see the results.

If you sometimes think that there is no solution or that it can’t be done better, just wait a little (or more if needed) and then you’ll see how you’ll find a solution. And always listen carefully to the opinions of people and never say that they are wrong because it is highly possible that you develop to have the same opinion later. So, let’s be open-minded for everything, because we do not know from where and how our improvement is going to happen. And I always think that I fulfilled a lot of dreams when I read old things I’ve put down on paper. This can be again very inspiring to keep up going.