Being responsive to our times
Our vision for this conference is to:
- Create space for community building where people can support each other, share and build connections that sustain individuals, schools and wider communities.
- Renew and re-inspire teachers for the years ahead through deepening understanding of:
- the essence of the wisdom within Steiner education,
- where, in ourselves, freedom resides.
- More deeply understand how each stage of schooling builds an independent, living thinking in young people and the pedagogical practices which supports this.
- Gain skills in trauma aware educational methods so that we can meet the educational needs of all students within a culture of inclusivity.
- Increase awareness and understanding of the life enhancing and health giving qualities of our education.
- Build deeper understanding of indigenous cultures and histories to support reconciliation, environmental understanding and shared community.
- Give teachers strategies for implementing a health-giving curriculum using methodologies which support the body’s natural health and teacher’s well-being.
Exploring being responsive to our times through the conference themes
The following themes, which thread through the conference, are a pathway for Steiner educators to explore what is most important in their lives and in their work.
Over the past months we have dealt with natural challenges of drought and bushfires, floods and now a health pandemic. We are deeply aware of the importance of a community which supports all those within it and takes care of the most vulnerable. Pictures of selflessness inspired us and courage of those at the forefront fill us with gratitude.
We have come to see that the connection between the teacher and child is one of the most essential aspects of Steiner education, as is the connection between colleagues at each school, in each region and nationally. We experience connection to the sources of our inspiration.
Community is more important than ever. This conference will build quality time for community allowing deep conversations and joyful interactions during mealtimes and evening events.
Steiner education for health
We now know there are many factors that promote good health, in addition to the physical factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise. Evidence suggests that many of the “tools” of Steiner education (meaningful content, purpose in learning, play, nature, creative engagement, natural nutrition, the arts and movement) are actively associated with good health outcomes. What can teachers and schools do to support the health of our students and ourselves?
Andrew Hill and Dr Simon Bednarek will bring research and pedagogical insights to this critically important issue.
Freedom through independent thinking
Wherein lies our freedom? This is the ultimate question and one at the heart of Steiner education. How can our education, at each of the three stages of schooling, support the development of free independent thinking?
Lecture and class teacher workshop – Andrew Hill
High school workshop – Rod Tomlinson
From trauma-affected to trauma-informed: a whole-school approach to community learning and care
Integrating the emerging sciences of trauma-informed practice, wellbeing and positive psychology within anthroposophic values, Tom Brunzell will share strategies to support students experiencing challenges and living with the impact of trauma within a whole-school approach.
Trauma-informed teacher wellbeing: bolstering teachers and staff to identify and proactively manage the impacts of primary and vicarious stressors
The staff within our schools are contending with ongoing crises fatigue, Zoom fatigue, and the uncertainty of school as we envisioned it could be. Predicated on research arising from investigations into trauma-informed teacher wellbeing, learn strategies to support one another as we care for and educate our young people.
Dr Tom Brunzell, Education Director of Berry Street, Victoria, will provide deeper insights into trauma informed education and the practices that support it during these two keynotes and two workshops.
Essence of Steiner education
As the ways of connecting to children changed overnight, and ‘in-person’ teaching closed off, we value more than ever the wisdom of teaching as a human-centred process, artistic and filled with presence.
Teachers sought for diverse ways of connection to students and families who were not present at school but were at home. Teachers grappled with the essence of the methodology and the curriculum they were trying to impart. They reflected on whether they could use digital files and media to connect to older students and how a Main Lesson could be delivered remotely. What was the deepest essence teachers wished to bring to students? We have all learnt much from these times.
A diverse group of experienced teachers, led by James Deefholts, will share their insights in a lecture on the essence of Steiner education. James will also facilitate a workshop series.
Indigenous wisdom, care for the environment and cultural awareness
During the 2019 Conference, the connection to indigenous cultures began with the deep conversations with Peter Mulcahy and Waiata Telfer. At the 2021 Conference, Munya Andrews will give a lecture and workshop on the Dreaming, sharing her deep understanding and practical activities to open windows into this world.
The 2021 SEA National Teachers’ Conference is sponsored by Mercurius Australia and NGS Super.