Teaching with Spirit – New perspectives on Steiner Education in Australia

Teaching with spirit

New perspectives on Steiner Education in Australia

Edited by Leigh Burrows and Tom Stehlik

An edited collection of stories, experiences, reflections and analysis representing innovation, creativity, passion and enthusiasm from the field of Steiner Education as lived and practised in Australia in the 21st century.

Dr Leigh Burrows has a background in primary, secondary and higher education and has facilitated professional learning workshops for teachers in wellbeing, relationships and learning difficulties. She is currently a lecturer in the School of Education at Flinders University where she teaches and researches in the areas of relationships and mindfulness. Leigh has been a Steiner teacher, parent and now grandparent, and has done research and consultancy work with a number of Steiner schools nationally.

Dr Tom Stehlik is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Australia. He has had a long association with Steiner Education as a parent, educator, researcher, consultant and board member of a Waldorf School. His PhD thesis, published in 2002, was a case study of the Mt Barker Waldorf School as a Community of Practice and site for promoting lifelong learning, creating community and educating for social renewal.

Contributors include practising teachers, school leaders, parents and academics from Waldorf / Steiner schools and communities around Australia. The five sections of the book focus on Early Learning, the Primary Years, the Secondary Years, Teacher Development, and School Governance, Structure and Leadership.

225 pages with illustrations

Available from Unibooks and Immortal Books

Recommended Retail Price $50

Discounts for schools, teachers, libraries

Available from Immortal Books http://www.immortalbooks.com.au/

 

Teaching with Spirit – a review

Garry Gilfoy

I had the great honour of receiving a copy of Teaching with spirit hot off the press with the task of delivering the launch two days later. Usually daunted by that much ‘smart’ reading, I had no choice but to plunge in. I was surprised and gratified to discover how accessible the chapters were. Editors Tom Stehlik and Leigh Burrows, from the University of South Australia and Flinders University respectively, must have given contributors a nudge to keep it grounded and practical while still  conveying what it is that makes Waldorf (Steiner) education unique, and which has kept it at the forefront of educational practices other than state curricula for almost a century.

Of late I’ve experienced how heartening yet also frustrating it is to find so many articles in the mainstream about the need for children to play, or about not undertaking literacy too early, the counter-productive nature of benchmark testing, or just letting children be children. Heartening because it’s true and obvious and getting more recognition, but frustrating too because, despite such clear and sensible insights, state education is increasingly being driven by the needs of industry. Yet ironically there is an accompanying cry for creativity and innovation and leadership – all of which research now confirms is one of the great strengths of Waldorf education.

So it’s exciting to read about the ‘bush kindergartens’ springing up (with enough information to do it yourself); or the new spirit of well-informed experimentation with the syllabus; even high school maths and IT are interesting to read about!

The book covers five different topic areas: the early years; primary; secondary; developing teaching practice and school structure, governance and leadership. It’s all smart and accessible (chapters are not too long!) and there’s something for everyone. It would make a great gift for introducing someone to Waldorf education or to help deepen understandings for those already involved.

 

(Immortal Books, ISBN: 9780646919409),