Masterclass in Steiner High School Education - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Masterclass in Steiner High School Education

Expand your ideas

This course is for high school educators and teachers and those currently working in Steiner schools or familiar with Steiner’s pedagogy who are interested in evolving and deepening their understanding, practice and pedagogy of Steiner Education in high school, years 8-12.

Consider this course if you are interested in evolving and transforming your practice to meet the needs of adolescents in Australia today, exploring approaches that are, by their nature, expansive and dynamic, and which strive to meet a range of abilities and capacities to meet the requirements of a fast-moving world where we seem to only value that which we can measure. Focusing on process and place, the course aims to provide current high school teachers with discussions, workshops and presentations that support optimum physiological, emotional and cognitive development in adolescents. Class guardians and subject teachers are welcome, as are administrators and parents who have an understanding of Steiner Education.

Download the Masterclass in Steiner High School Education (PDF 1.11MB)

Why is it called a masterclass?
  • ‘The most important thing is the inner bond between student and teacher’ (Steiner, 1997). The relationship is at the heart of the matter when it comes to building optimum learning and teaching environments
  • Teaching arises out of individual development and evolution. Teachers reflect a ‘growth mindset’ and facilitate lessons throughout the day to meet the needs of all students: the students are the text that we read from. Teachers are interested in what it means to ‘educate with heart’ and how students of different abilities can journey together through the year
  • Steiner Education is an art: the journey is a process; the goal is not singular. Master class teachers are dynamic and evolving and aware of the creativity necessary to design lessons and experiences that nourish and inspire adolescents, meeting them where they are at, and showing them where they might go
  • Teachers understand where students are in their development. They innovate to ensure that the wide range of abilities and capacities have relevant tasks that encourage them to discover what they know and what they can do, and how to get beyond that. They are seen for who they are and not just what they can do
  • The Right Thing at the Right Time is not an ideology, but a pedagogy. Using a trans-disciplinary approach and relevant tasks, lessons are engaging for all students.
What you will receive

USC Certificate of Participation worth 28 hours of professional development.

Course leader

Dr Shelley Davidow was a pioneering Waldorf/Steiner graduate in South Africa and has taught every age and year level in Steiner schools in the USA and Australia over the past 20 years. She is a lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and is the coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Steiner Education. Shelley is also a trained facilitator in restorative practice as well as a HeartMath Personal Resilience Trainer and runs workshops nationally and internationally on creative writing, sustainable teaching, creativity, social justice in schools, and mitigating the effects of stress on young people. The international author of 45 books, her recent titles include Shadow Sisters, (UQP, 2018), Fail Brilliantly (Familius, 2017) Playing with Words (Macmillan Palgrave, UK, 2016) Whisperings in the Blood, (UQP, 2016) and Raising Stress-Proof Kids (Exisle/Familius 2014/2015).

Email the course coordinator if you would like more information about our 2021 program.

Session 1: The heart of the matter
The first day we’ll begin with an overview of the course and ask the questions: what is the purpose of Steiner Education for adolescents and what inspires you to teach? We will look at contemporary issues that we confront, at where we are (Australia) and at the capacities needed by young people today to face an increasingly fast-paced and complex world.’ Inspired by Steiner’s vision of humanity and educational philosopher Gert Biesta’s insights on the purpose of education, we will look at educating for a sustainable world and the role of imagination in discussing the significant world issues now impacting young people.

Session 2: Classroom management: Sustainable and creative approaches
Building sustainable practice in classroom management with young people. No one can learn if they don’t feel safe first.

Session 3: First Nations guest lecture with Aunty Judi Wickes on the ‘Exemption’ and the impact on identity for generation.

Session 1: Lessons without borders
On the second day we will look at the purpose of high school Main Lessons (and other lessons) – at building authentic curriculum materials that may transcend and integrate class and subject boundaries and meet the needs of the real people in your classrooms. What is the purpose of each lesson? What skills are you building? What capacities? How do you play both an infinite and a finite game? What is the role of assessment and learning progressions and how do we grapple with the current neo-liberal educational paradigm in which we measure what we value and value what we measure?

Session 2: Authentic assessment and learning progressions
We will look at what assessment is, how and what we assess and for what purpose. We will work on developing learning progressions for the 2020 school year and discuss the value of ‘naturally occurring evidence’ (Hipkins, 2009). The second part of the workshop will involve focus groups from the primary school and high school combined.

Session 3: First Nations Ways of Being and Knowing with Waiata Telfer
In a land with the oldest continuous living culture on earth, we will spend time together with the primary cohort working with First Nations Educator and artist Waiata Telfer, discovering how we can become authentic teachers of place with a deepening understanding of the wisdom that has existed in Australia for likely 100,000 years.

Session 1: More lessons without borders: Main lessons, themes and pedagogy
How do we make difficult content accessible? What is relevant and what matters in high school Main Lessons in terms of adolescent –the role of authenticity on the part of the teacher and self-development.

Session 2: Mapping the year ahead
Focus groups: sharing expertise and resources: groups will work on creating innovative lesson plans and learning progressions. Participants will create lesson outlines mapping the journey ahead and incorporating the previous day’s insights from the First Nations experience.

Session 3: First Nations Ways of Being and Knowing with Peter Mulcahy
Once again, we will spend time together with the primary cohort working with First Nations Educator and artist Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy, discovering through art how we can become authentic teachers of place, again, deepening our understanding of the wisdom that has existed in Australia for millennia.

Session 1: Creativity, imagination, divergent thinking and the things we think we do so well
In this session we will engage with the idea of ‘creativity’ (the new buzzword in education). What is creativity? What is innovation? What’s the role of the imagination and what is our role as educators of young people who are often streetwise and ‘head-smart?’

Session 2: Pedagogy of love
Paulo Freire, social justice, educating for an ethical world, understanding the impact of invasion in First Nations children and embracing the rich heritage of this continent will inform the group work on expanding lesson outlines, designing helpful feedback, embedding skills while building capacity – ‘where to next?’ what does it mean to be in a Steiner Educational setting, educating adolescents in 2020?

Session 3: Closing discussion with all participants
Big questions: what matters, what doesn’t, and why?