During discussion in small groups in CD 356, we discussed each article that was read in regards to Waldorf Education and it’s curriculum model. One of the group members discussed an article that took a neuroscience point of view look at the affects and benefits on Waldorf education. She stated that it was very scientific. The article pertaining to Waldorf education that was read by me, was an article titled RUDOLF STEINER’S PEDAGOGY OF IMAGINATION A PHENOMENOLOGICAL CASE STUDY By Thomas William Nielsen, PhD (2003). Nielsen discussed the importance of imaginative teaching within schools and that current curriculum models are detrimentally harming children’s imaginations.
Nielsen, T. W. (2003) Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogy of imagination: A phenomenological case study, The 1st International Conference on Imagination in Education, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 16-19 July. Available in conference proceedings: http://www.ierg.net/documents/proceedings/july2003/
The Reggio Emilia is an approach in which the child is an active participant. The child is able to follow their own interest. An example of this can be if the students are showing interest in building things, a teacher can bring in wood and building materials into the classroom. The environment is considered to be the third teacher. Teachers intentionally organize, support and plan for various spaces for children. Teachers ask questions and listen for children ideas and theories. Teachers plan activities, studies and long term projects in the classroom based on their observations. learning is not seen as a linear process. teachers get to know children’s strengths and personalities and needs because the children stay with the same teacher and the same peer group for two years. I really like much emphasis is stressed on parent involvement. They are an active part of their children’s learning experiences and help to ensure the welfare of all the children.
I read The Essential Steiner by _______. I was a collection of Steiner’s writings, although it didn’t end up being his words. It wasn’t even a straight translation yet more of an interpretation. I found it still very interesting although not what I was looking for. It discussed how Steiner got some of his knowledge and theories from Goethe. They wanted to explore the eternal or divine ideas in or through the study of nature.
Two things really stuck out to me from this reading. Steiner states, “Man is free insofar as he is able to obey himself in every moment of his life. A moral deed is my deed only if it can be called a free one in this sense.” This ties in to Steiner’s view on individual free choices rather than an external conception of duty. I believe as teachers we must build this drive from within. At some point it will be up to the individual to be the person they desire to be. This must come from within.
After talking with our group I have been thinking non-stop. I really like hearing about the actual Waldorf practices. I have been learning some theory and now learning about how they implement is interesting for me. I really like the breathing technique of learning. I am going to explore this a lot more, looking into the rhythmic cycles of learning and the brain. When we sleep and dream we do this in cycles. I think learning can be enhanced if we listen to this rhythm and adapt to meet it instead of having the child adapt to meet our constructed rhythm of the world.
We talked about giving babies the power of actively participating rather than just passively complying. We also talked about the importance of being genuine in all interactions with the baby, and respecting the baby as a human being or small person. We discussed an idea from one of the resources that it is better to give full attention 50% of the time than to give 50% of your attention 100% of the time (I may be off on the percentages of the actual quote). We also discussed how much we approve of this method and will try to enact this method whenever possible. However a major point of our discussion was the difficulty in maintaining this method in certain environments. As much as i try to enact this method in my own classroom, my teacher to child ratio is too large to be able to keep up RIE standards 100% of the time. We had a really good discussion about how we try our best to keep up these ideal standards but they are still ideals and the fact of the matter is these ideals will not fit into every environment. However that doesn’t mean that its not still worth trying to enact these methods whenever possible.
I chose to read more about the Montessori method this week, to have a better understanding of the Montessori idea. I really wanted to see if I truly agree with what Maria Montessori’s original ideas were. This week, I read the Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori. i read the chapter on the three degrees of obedience, and found the ideas behind will and obedience to be very enlightening. I had never thought about the fact that if a child can’t control or complete what they want themselves to do, how can they be expected to do what others want them to do. When I met with the other students who read stuff on the Montessori method, we discovered that all three of us had picked a chapter from Montessori’s book the Absorbent Mind. There wasn’t much to talk about, with so few people, but we were able to exchange ideas. I feel like there is still much more to learn about the Montessori Method.
For the second reading reflection the model I read about was Piaget and the article was about the measurement of volume and why children measure inaccurately. I found that article to be very interesting because of how it went about discussing the ways in which children learn about measurement and how they learn developmentally. In the group that I met with only one other person had read that article and the others read different articles about Piaget. Piaget’s model is definitely not one of my favorites but I do think it is a very interesting model in the way he goes about discovering new ways to teach children.
For this reading response, I finished the Katz & Chard’s Engaging Children’s Mind. There are two people in my discussion group who read Power of Project and another person read about infant education curriculum.
While reading Engaging Children’s Mind, I noticed a few quotes that I thought are interesting. “The teacher must make every effort to help any child experiencing difficulties acquiring academic skills” (p. 15). I think this statement is very powerful. As educators, we are not just teaching children things to pass standardized tests. It is important for us to know each children’s Zone of Proximate Development to make appropriate scaffoldings. Since ZDP differs for each person, it is teacher’s duty to recognize individualities and diversity in the class and plan lessons that can meet every child’s developmental needs and goals. The book stated that there are four categories of learning goals for children: knowledge, skills, dispositions, and feelings. While knowledge, skills and dispositions can be achieved through different methods, I think that the project approach model especially fits with the development of children’s emotions by engaging them in group activities. “We generally want children to feel accepted, comfortable, and competent, that they belong to the class group and can contribute to shared experience. Such feelings can be learned while interacting with significant others in the group” (p. 39). This is another reason why I believe that project approach model can be integrated in education for children that are older than early childhood. Adolescents and pre-adults also crave for sense of belonging and friendships just as much as early and middle childhood children. Projects can build relationships and connections between people and continue emotional development through our life. The rest of the book contains huge amount of practical informations about strategies of teaching for educators, such as criteria for selecting and focusing particular project topics (p.93) and procedures while giving instructions (p. 80).
From the group discussion, I learned that The Power of Projects contains practical examples of different projects that meets various particular learning goals. We talked about the curriculum structure of project approach model and how it focus on both individuality and group works, while still meeting standards and maintain children’s curiosity and interests. We also discussed this video we all watch before in other child development courses. It’s a documentary of a vacation/airport boarding series of projects in an elementary school. We shared the view how it’s important for every child to have a place in group projects and feel important in the community.
The person who read about Rie, an infant education model, and shared some insights. She said that this model take approach to treat babies as other human beings rather than objects. Instead of setting boundaries for infant, children in Rie model is allowed to find their own boundaries and limits in a safe environment. I thought this model is really fascinating, because, just as children of other ages, infants need to be encourage to seek answers and solutions to learn effectively.
My group talked about Piaget’s theory. We all read different articles bringing different information about Piaget to the discussion. We agreed that Piaget believed that learning is a constructive process, and in order for a child to be successful we must address them within their stage of development. We talked about how Piaget stressed the fact that adults and children learn much differently from each other. Some other key points that were address were what the stages of development are according to Piaget.
The Sensorimotor Stage: During this stage, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects.
The Preoperational Stage: At this stage, kids learn through pretend play but still struggle with logic and taking the point of view of other people.
The Concrete Operational Stage: Kids at this point of development begin to think more logically, but their thinking can also be very rigid. They tend to struggle with abstract and hypothetical concepts.
The Formal Operational Stage: The final stage of Piaget’s theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas
In my group we talked about the project approach. what I learned from the discussion is how each project is divided into 3 different phases and throughout all of the phases the parents stay involved. The teachers have to do a lot of background work they really have to get to know the children, not just what they know but what kind of experiences they have had, what kind of things they want to know. Then the teacher can help the children and figuring out what kind of information they want to learn and how to go about doing the projects. The investigation is a key part to the project approach. Another thing I liked is that this approach is that it can be used with children who have special needs.
For my second reading response I read about the Montessori school. I book I read was, “The Absorbent Mind” by Maria Montessori. The book is about her philosophy and how it helped her develop the Montessori school. I focused mainly on one specific chapter that was about language.
In the chapter about language Maria Montessori talks about how people need to understand language so that we can understand each other. This idea really struck me because it made me realize that language is the basis of all learning. Also language helps children learn from each other. We use our peers to teach us new things. Another thing that I liked about this chapter on language was the idea that children have a programed inner knowledge that tells them when to move on to new milestones. Children know when the “normal” time is that they should be growing and developing. Another thing that stood out to me in this chapter was that children are able to learn many different languages when they are young. They are so absorbent when they are still developing that they can pick up new languages very easily.
My group and I discussed some of Maria Montessori’s other philosophies such as, discipline, teaching, learning, and school. I think that Maria Montessori’s philosophy is very interesting and I really like it, however I do not fully agree with the actual school that she has developed.