Parent Study Group Session: Exploring the key principles underpinning the approach to geography teaching

The parent study group has completed chapter one of The Education of the Child by Rudolf Steiner.

Tomorrow’s session will explore an academic research paper published on the ROSE journal, (Research on Steiner Education).

9-10 in the Meadowroom

Sign in at the front desk.

February 21, 2020

Constructing ‘geo’ – exploring the epistemological frameworks of Steiner-Waldorf and mainstream approaches to geography by Phillip Wright , 2013


This paper considers the two key principles underpinning the approach to geography teaching adopted in Steiner-Waldorf schools: the holistic representation of ‘geo’ and the narrative-based pedagogy used to construct such a knowledge of the world. Firstly, consideration is given to the social-theoretical and conceptual frameworks informing the mainstream geography curriculum. This is then compared with Steiner education’s child-centred approach to geography teaching, particularly the role given to imagination. While focused on geography this paper also explores wider issues surrounding curriculum knowledge and approaches to teaching and learning based on an anthroposophical understanding of the child, the world and evolution. It is argued that both imaginative and more conceptually-framed or rational approaches to knowledge and learning need, to some extent, to be integrated for geography to engage pupils’ interest and have relevance in the modern world. On the one hand, mainstream education could learn from the Waldorf emphasis on narrative, imagination and the cultivation of a sense of wonder. On the other hand, Waldorf education could benefit from a more rigorous conceptual and critical approach to knowledge as adopted by the mainstream.1 In this sense there is scope for collaboration between the two educational discourses

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