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

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Masterclass in Steiner Primary School Education

Transform your practice

This course is for primary 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 primary school, years 1-7.

Consider this course if you are interested in evolving and transforming your practice to meet the needs of children 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 deepening and developing our teaching, the course aims to provide current teachers with discussions, workshops and presentations that support excellence in classroom teaching and learning. Class teachers and subject teachers are welcome, as are administrators and parents who have an understanding of Steiner Education.

Download the Masterclass in Steiner Primary School Education (PDF 1.06MB)

Why is it called a masterclass?

We have called these short courses ‘masterclasses’ because we are assuming prior knowledge of the fundamental elements of Steiner Education and hoping to create an opportunity for you to expand your expertise and practice. In this masterclass, we already share an understanding that:

  • ‘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. Masterclass 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

Gregorio Noakes has been involved in Steiner Education for 36 years. He trained as a teacher at Lorien Novalis school in Sydney where he took a class from year 1 through to year 7. After moving to Byron Bay he completed another three classes (from grade 1) at the Byron Bay Steiner school before becoming an Education Consultant in 2015.

Over the last few years he has been mentoring and appraising staff in Steiner schools throughout Australia as well as working in teacher training courses, presenting at conferences and delivering PD days in many schools. He lectures on anthroposophy and education and is passionate about Steiner education and its ongoing growth and development.

Over the last year Gregorio has also delivered Steiner teacher training modules in Vietnam and lectured in India. He has been studying mathematics and classroom management as key research topics, for over 10 years, merging contemporary research and his practical experience with Steiner’s indications. He enthusiastically brings his wealth of experience to presentations hoping to inspire and see this inspiration flow into classrooms.

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

Session 1: Understanding the stages of development as a basis for our teaching 
Age - appropriate is often used to describe our method of teaching in Steiner schools; we will explore the 3 key developmental periods of change at 7, 9/10 and 12-14 years old thereby deepening our understanding of the students and the curriculum as it develops throughout primary school. The developmental path of the teacher as they move through the years is also of fundamental importance.

Session 2: Classroom management: Weaving the golden thread
We look at Steiner’s indications on this subject and align them with modern research on the characteristics that excellent teachers have and use in creating seamless class management. Transitions, high expectations, high engagement, consistency and ‘loving authority’ are some areas for discussion.

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

Session 1: The Magic of Maths 
Steiner urged the teachers to understand what aspects of the child a subject relates to so as to inform our teaching. We will explore mathematics as a subject with an in depth study of Steiner’s indications aligning this with the positive developments that have emerged over the last 40 years. This is a subject that I totally transformed the way I was taught and did teach for decades moving from ‘chalk and talk’ to the socio-constructivist classroom.

If less than 1% of students have dyscalculia and yet over 1/3 fail, or we fail them, the question is why. Maths’ trauma is found in students and teachers and can affect us emotionally like no other subject. Gregorio will present much of his research and present areas of learning over next two days.

Session 2: Assessment is not a dirty word 
Coming from the Latin ‘assidere’ assessment means to ‘sit beside.’ If we truly sit beside the student and they know that we know where they are ‘at’ it creates excellent relationships and results in professional teaching and authentic reporting. Again another aspect of my teaching where my attitude and approach changed, to the benefit of the students, over the years. 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 high school 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: Algebraic thinking and open ended questions
Continuing from yesterday we will discuss; algebraic thinking, open ended questions, quality versus quantity (whole to part) and problem solving as key areas, Steiner wanted us to relate maths to the’ real world’ throughout primary school. The Fruedenthal Institute in Holland has developed Realistic Maths Education since the 70’s using a number of methods that we will explore.

Session 2: Curriculum - from the whole to the parts to the whole
Curriculum is derived from curricle ‘a race, a course or chariot’ and today it often feels overwhelming beginning a year or a semester. Plato said: ‘be the driver not the chariot.’ Mapping out our year/subjects and activities with the class and children in mind and holding the big pictures will fill this session. Steiner reminded us that the students are the living curriculum. Examples and discussion.

Session 3: First Nations Ways of Being and Knowing with Peter Mulcahy
Once again we will spend time together with the high school 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: Mathematics is a subject where movement/concrete activity is essential as the basis for leading to higher order thinking via imagination and heartfelt learning. We will play maths games and activities from the younger to the older students. Steiner remarked that ‘underlying all arithmetic is consciously willed movement’-what does this mean? Also areas such as main lessons/practice lessons, times tables and fractions will be discussed.

Session 2: Using Spirit of Place as a theme for primary content: main lessons, outdoor lessons, excursions and camps. ‘Our Big Backyard.’ Lorien Novalis School and its early impulse as a case study. If the students are the curriculum then the local environment becomes the classroom.

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