Recently a team of Waldorf educators and researchers published a research paper entitled "Assessment without High-Stakes Testing: Protecting Childhood and the Purpose of School." The article discusses the following points:
What is the real purpose of education? Is it to learn facts which can just as easily be sought out on Google.com? Or is it to ensure a better job in the future - which implies that every subject has to serve an economic, competitive purpose? Or is the purpose of education intrinsic in itself?
- That the funding and building of massive, largely-impersonal education factories is preparing society for a cultural nightmare with the emergence of a generation of young people trained to take tests rather than to think or act with moral fortitude.
- That high-stakes testing has led to heightened stress in children, compromised the integrity of teachers, and created an intellectual caste system in which end results have replaced the process of learning.
- That creativity and imagination are needed to bring about an educational reform. New and different approaches to evaluating students, teachers, and schools are called for.
- Alternative assessment techniques must vary depending on the educational level and developmental phase of children, as well as the teacher's learning goals. Each developmental phase of childhood requires different techniques and approaches. Assessment that furthers student progress and interest in learning, and thereby fulfills the real mission of education, requires the full engagement of the teachers involved with the student.
The authors of this paper argue that the purpose of education is to draw out students' nascent capacities and guide them towards a life-long quest for learning and knowledge. Education should prepare students to find creative, self-confident, purposeful direction to their grown-up lives. Education needs to be pursued for its own ends, not for some extrinsic goal beyond itself, be it political or economic. It needs to serve the child and young adult as he or she unfolds those capacities that make him or her uniquely human. A teacher who works with the behavioral, emotional, and cognitive growth of students, at each stage of their development, fulfills the purpose of education.
You can read the entire article by going to Why Waldorf Works.
Frances Kane Patrice Maynard Michael Soule
Administration Development & Outreach Programs & Activities
Since AWSNA became a nationally recognized accrediting authority in 1999, 38 schools have completed accreditation and 16 are in process. Member schools, in support of each other, have shared over 300 teachers participating on visiting teams (contributing over 15,000 hours of time!). "Beyond the sheer numbers, accreditation is providing schools tremendous opportunities to learn from each other, exemplifying the 'strength through collaboration' upon which our association of schools is built," according to Carol Fulmer, Coordinator of Accreditation.
Read more Why Waldorf Works.
Waldorf Student first Woman AdmittedA teenager from the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, NY - arguably New York's most horse-crazy town - is one of the first two women ever admitted to the world's oldest riding school. Sojourner Morrell, 17, this fall ended 436 years of male-only membership in Austria's prestigious Spanish Riding School, joining one other woman to make history at a school renowned for training Lipizzaner stallions.
to World's Oldest Riding School
Read more at Why Waldorf Works.
Waldorf Teachers Job Listings
A beautiful new web site that post job listings for schools and teachers is now available. David Kennedy, a class teacher at Shining Mountain Waldorf School, who initiated this important web site, says, "We had over 15,000 page views in our first month, far beyond our projections. After only 30 days we reached the point where we thought we would be after six months or a year. Over 300 people a day are visiting WaldorfTeachers.com." Job listings are updated 24/7, year-round, and can be searched across all listings by school, grade, or keyword.
Find the link by going to Why Waldorf Works.
AWSNA 2009 Summer Conference
Planning is underway for the AWSNA 2009 Summer Conference next June at the Portland Waldorf School in Oregon, which will have the special focus on Weaving the Educational Task with the Social Mission of Waldorf Schools. Some 300 teachers, staff, parents and board members will be gathering from across the continent to explore aspects of the theme through presentations, artistic workshops, focus group workshops, a town hall style exploration of core school and community issues, and numerous social events. You can count on beautiful weather, great connections with colleagues, inspiring workshops and discussions, fabulous food, housing in the university's new ecological housing center, and fun in-between.
You are welcome to send us Waldorf-related events for posting on our web site.
|The Association for Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) is a not-for-profit membership organization that supports independent Waldorf schools, initiatives, and teacher training institutes, and promotes Waldorf education throughout North America.
Waldorf education is a holistic and developmental approach that integrates academic, practical and artistic elements as it addresses the changing needs of the growing child and maturing adolescent. Waldorf schools engage the heart and hands as well as the mind with a lively, experiential curriculum rich in the basics, literature, history, languages, the arts, the social and natural sciences and technology.
AWSNA provides leadership to schools by facilitating resources, networks and research as they strive towards excellence and build healthy school communities. The Association performs functions that its member schools and institutes could not do alone, including outreach and advocacy, accreditation and school support services, professional development activities, research and publications.
Please contact us if you have any questions about AWSNA or this newsletter.