In preparation for the coming schoolyear, the MWS teachers are currently undergoing a workshop with mentor and facilitator Dan Freeman.
Dan has been a huge supporter of the Manila Waldorf School and contributed a lot to the establishment of the Kawayan Upper School back in 2005. His insights on Steiner education, both in and out of the classroom, have truly helped our teachers learn and accept the challenges that come with the task.
With permission from MWS publications, we are reprinting here an article Dan wrote for the Everything Waldorf newsletter published at the start of schoolyear 2007-08, in which he talks about the course on “A Modern Art of Education.”
We look forward to learning new things under Dan Freeman’s mentorship this year!
Welcome back, Mr. Dan!
Teacher Course on A Modern Art of Education
To prepare for SY 2007-08, the faculty of MWS underwent a one-week course on art and human consciousness with Brenda Fajardo and a two-week training session with Dan Freeman, helping the teachers get everything set for the schoolyear.
On the 15th of May, 2007, the teachers embarked on an in-depth, pro-active study of Steiner’s “A Modern Art of Education.” This was the same course given in Oxford to a select group of very learned professionals seeking a new direction for Education.
The discussions, workshops, individual and group activities were structured to imitate the creative reality of a main lesson. Rhythm, expansion-contraction on the thinking processes and the stimulation and integration of all the soul forces, music, song, speech, movement; both Bothmer and Eurythmy, were used with varied artistic activities to achieve a productive and rejuvenating experience despite the heat and the reality that three weeks of intensive in-service training was definitely taking its toll.
This lecture cycle is particularly rich, a blend of the deepest spiritual profundities and pragmatic reality delivered with a directness permitted by the British Folk Soul, so startling that Marie Steiner remarked in her foreword that this course could probably not have been given to the Germans with their propensity for “abstract concepts”.
The staff worked extremely hard with the challenges inherent in all of Steiner’s works, achieving a deepening of perception and understanding quite remarkable for teachers so young in this Educational stream.
It was said that a Waldorf School is as truly a Waldorf School as the degree to which the teachers are actively undergoing self-transformation. If this is true then our school is truly a Waldorf School.
We are not insulated from the chaos and turmoil of the greater society and this is more directly experienced as the reality of having an Upper School as experienced by our community. Those young adults with one foot firmly in the greater community – we would have it no other way! We struggle with clear, transparent processes and conflict resolution. In this we reflect the greater Philippine society but we are conscious of it and endeavoring to develop our faculties and skills.
The decision to structure the training around the main-lesson format was deliberate, as David Simpson has expressed that the teachers needed help with structuring main-lessons and we could extract the concepts from their direct experience – thus following the basic principle of all Waldorf teaching.
Finally we also learnt the company songs to the Shepherds Play from the Oberufer Trilogy, which the staff will perform for the children on the last day before the Christmas break.
It was a pleasure to work with such an active, hard working staff. You are indeed fortunate and we thank you for the wonderful children that will teach us as much as we teach them as we awaken our faculties of observation and perception. To correctly interpret what the spirits of our children are demanding regardless of how ‘at odds’ with societal expectations this may appear.
God bless, have a great eventful year!
Mentor and Facilitator