Foreign Languages in Waldorf Education

Foreign languages in Waldorf education
Foreign languages in Waldorf education

This part-time program in foreign languages meets in three-week sessions for three summers and one week in spring for three years, with continuing independent study, and observation in Waldorf schools during the school year.

Foundation Studies is offered as the first week of intensive study each summer for three summers. It is possible to apply for exemption from the first week of the summer portion of the program if the applicant already has completed a foundation studies program.

This program offers teachers and aspiring teachers a way to earn a Waldorf Specialty Subject certification through part-time intensives.


I Developing the Artistic Capacities of the Teacher

An exploration of the artistic process though many different media in order for the student to gain an experience of the arts as a path of self-transformation, knowledge and renewal.

  1. Renewal of the Senses – Learning by doing ascends from the limbs to the head and in between is the mediating realm of feeling. Explore the role of sensory integration and its distinct relationship to the soul forces of thinking, feeling, and willing.
  2. Eurythmy – Explore and experience the elements of movement and form that engage the whole human being, integrating bodily movement with movements that arise within the soul, thus creating a harmonious relationship between the soul –spiritual element and the body.
  3. Blackboard Drawing – Explore how simple blackboard images in colored chalk can bring liveliness to the learning of language and culture.
  4. Speech – Proper speech is an essential tool for any teacher. Participants will learn how to use their voices effectively and hygienically.
  5. Form Drawing – Explore the activity of drawing related to form. A way in which form is expressed in movement and rhythm – feeling for balance and harmony. How are different points of perspective experienced and the forces of thinking, feeling and willing engaged in this activity?
  6. Dark and Light Drawing – Explore the interplay of light and shadow in creating line and form.
  7. Spatial Dynamics – Through bodily movement explore the experience of the ‘back space’. The dynamics of movement is progressively internalized from outer movement in space to the ability to picture the movement inwardly through the hand and arm.

II Conceptual Foundations of Waldorf Education

Classes which focus on the philosophical framework of the Waldorf curriculum which educates the whole child and addresses the child’s changing consciousness as it unfolds through stages of development.

  1. Inner Nature of Language
    Participants will make an in-depth study of Rudolf Steiner’s writings and lectures that relate to the learning of language, which has lead to the practical, artistic and spiritual foundation for the teaching of foreign languages in Waldorf Schools.
  2. Waldorf Foreign Language Curriculum
    Participants will study and discuss Steiner’s original indications towards building a Foreign Language program based on an understanding of child development in grades 1-8. Explorations will include current study, research and practices of Waldorf Schools and their geographical settings.
  3. Evolution of Consciousness Through Arts
    Through lectures, images and examples, the history of art will be presented as a tool for the understanding of human consciousness.
  4. Language, Speech and the Physiology of the Human Being
    Participants will study Rudolf Steiner’s writings and current research on the learning of language. Specific topics will include the twelve senses, the breathing organism, speech organization, and the brain.

III Curriculum, Methods and Practical Skills

Considerable time is spent in preparing the student with hands-on practical skills with which to implement the Waldorf specialty curriculum.

  1. Foreign Language Curriculum through the Grades
    Participants will explore classroom presentation practices for the unfolding the Foreign Language curriculum. Specific aspects of the curriculum will be traced from grade 1-8, and practices appropriate for each grade will be demonstrated and practiced.
  2. Skills and Techniques
    Participants will develop their skills in particular aspects of language learning. Special attention will be given to how these skills are brought in order to develop the capacities of the children and why. In addition will be a study of the four temperaments as described by Steiner and how to work with them to enhance the teaching capacities of the teacher.
  3. Songs, Verses and Stories
    Participants will explore, study, and expand their use of songs, verses, and stories in the teaching of Foreign Language in the Waldorf School.
  4. Foreign Language through Rhythm and Movement.
    Participants will learn how folk dancing and games can enhance the Foreign Language curriculum.

IV Foundations of Human Experience (The Study of Man)

An exploration of the threefold nature of the human being: nerve/sense, rhythmic and metabolic systems; thinking, feeling and willing. The significance of waking, dreaming and sleeping in child development; the need for awakening the intellect though imagination.

V Special Topic Forums

A series of evening lectures over the three years of the program to bring in experts in various fields with both practical and theoretical interest to the specialty subject teacher.

  1. Collegial Relationships
    A discussion of the social dynamics between specialty teachers and grades teachers, and suggestions for how to foster good communication, and effective collaboration.
  2. Classroom Management
    Suggestions and strategies for creating an attentive space for specialty subjects with the Waldorf classroom.
  3. The Festivals
    A look at the inner dynamic living within the school festivals, and the ways in which appropriate activities from other cultures can be brought for each of the holiday festivals.
  4. Parent Education and Community Building
    A discussion of the ways foreign language teachers can be morearticulate and involved in parent education.
  5. The Folk Souls
    A study of the writings of Rudolf Steiner on the Folk Souls.
  6. Cycles of the Year
    An overview of the cycles of the year and how to introduce them into the Foreign Language curriculum.

VI Practice Teaching, Observation and Mentoring

Working with students under the guidance of a mentor in assessment and individual lessons.

VII Curriculum Project

A final project that communicates the Waldorf grades curriculum through the student’s unique creative expression.