Creativity and Inclusive Education Using the Waldorf Approach
It often happens that in mainstream education, the classes are mixed ability, comprising students of different intellectual and emotional abilities. Also, there are many children with special needs; very often those children are in the classroom together with other children, that have no special needs. The teacher has to deal with all students, special and not special ones. The teacher can feel the pressure to cover the syllabus with unmotivated students and prepare them for tests that do not always reflect the students’ true potential.
There are creative approaches to teaching and learning which enable both students and teachers to reach their full potential and enjoy the classes. Adapting activities to the students’ own level can be challenging and requires differentiating planning and preparation from the teacher. However, it takes time and effort to research alternative systems of education, teaching techniques and ways of adapting these to individual needs. Waldorf education is a unique and distinctive approach to educating children which focuses on the children as ‘whole’: ‘head, heart, and hands’. Therefore, in the early years of schooling, children do not focus as much on academics as in mainstream education, but on becoming a whole person and getting to love nature, themselves, their peers and learning. Focusing on arts, games, outdoor activities and science, Waldorf offers a range of techniques that can be easily adapted to mainstream classes and to the students with special needs who attend mainstream education.
The course focuses particularly on developing creative thinking in our students, be they mainstream or special needs, students. The participants will improve their repertoire of classroom strategies aimed at developing creative thinking and valuing each student as a whole person, with different needs and aptitudes. The teachers will have the chance to see and try practical classroom activities, to involve in discussions and debates about these activities, to reflect on their own practice and to plan to take future action based on what they have learned. They will discuss how to engage parents in the learning process, how to communicate with them and see how special needs children should be included in mainstream education in a way they benefit from it. The course ends with a school visit where they can interact with teachers who have experience in Waldorf education and see the classroom settings.
The methodological techniques include:
Ice – Breaking and Warm-Up Sessions;
Problem – Solving Activities;
Goal – Setting sessions;
Planning and Structuring;
Getting familiarized with Waldorf principles
Learning the terminology regarding Special Education
Trying tools and techniques for dealing with students with emotional and intellectual problems
Becoming familiarized with using games in the classroom
Increasing parental involvement in education
Encouraging students to get involved in activities related to arts, languages, science
Stimulating learner-based approach in education
Exchanging experiences and cross-cultural practices in dealing with students who have special needs
Becoming familiarized with the principles and activities specific to Waldorf education
Valuing creative solutions to classroom problems
Getting creative practical ideas to apply in the classroom
Better understanding of the needs of the special needs students integrated into the mainstream education
Reflection on one’s own teaching
Enhanced intercultural awareness
Broader understanding of practices, policies, and systems in education
Improvement of the teaching of mainstream and special needs children through techniques related to creativity and the Waldorf education
Enhance diversity and intercultural awareness and critical thinking
Encouragement of sharing best practices, ideas and materials between colleagues within the EU
Acquisition of practical language to be used in the classroom, of new techniques, and ideas
Provide teachers with a bank of ready‐to‐use materials
Networking with teachers from various European countries
Trainees will be given soft and hard copies of all lesson materials, which they can present to their colleagues at their own organizations to generate interest in the strategies learnt during the training course. In addition, a mailing list of participants will be created in order to exchange ideas/experiences. Self-evaluation materials will be provided. At the end of the course the participants will fill in a questionnaire in order to get a detailed feedback for the effectiveness of the training event.
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