We have the power to transform our public schools―not through government mandates or the newest “teacher-proof” text series, and not through what many educators call “best practices.” Our schools can be transformed by applying Waldorf-inspired practices into the public-school setting. This little-known, but well established form of education can be an invaluable source of ideas and strategies to teachers, administrators, and teacher educators.
Rudolf Steiner had a special interest in the education of children and saw schooling as a way to achieve social renewal. He initiated Waldorf schools to counteract certain trends of his time, which continue to move toward an increasingly mechanistic, analytical, and intellectual educational environment. Waldorf students do not learn in a fragmentary ways, nor is the curriculum prepackaged. Their education is centered in creativity and social values, forming a solid foundation for learning the skills needed to integrate into the society and the workplace.
Mary Goral explores ways that Waldorf principles can be applied in public schools to educate children for life rather than simply to meet the demands of rigid, one-size-fits-all programs such as “No Child Left Behind.” She points out ways that Waldorf methods require teachers and parents to engage more fully with students, to practice ways of self-development, and to build a greater sense of community. Using the concrete example of the “Waldorf-inspired Cadre”―a group of “public-school teachers who have agreed to go on such a journey, take risks, and learn new skills along with their students”―Dr. Goral shows how teachers can bring many of the benefits of Waldorf education into the public setting, with remarkable results.
Transformational Teaching provides important and inspirational reading for those who wish to transform their local public schools into places of learning that truly focus on the educational and life needs of children and the communities in which they live.
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Mary Barr Goral, Ph.D., began her career in education more than thirty years ago. After teaching in public schools in Bloomington, Indiana, for eleven years, she received both her master's and doctoral degrees in curriculum studies and math education from Indiana University. Dr. Goral taught in higher education for twelve years and is currently an educational consultant. She is the educational director of Kentahten Institute for Waldorf Instruction, a regional teacher training in Louisville, KY and also oversees the Waldorf-inspired Project, a grant-funded program that supports public school teachers in the Louisville area who use methods inspired by Rudolf Steiner in their classrooms. Dr. Goral’s book, Transformational Teaching: Waldorf-inspired Methods in the Public School, tells the story of the teachers in Louisville who use these methods with their public school students. Dr. Goral has served on the board of trustees of Rudolf Steiner College and is currently a founding member of Green Meadows Charter School, a Waldorf-inspired initiative located in Bloomington. She lives in Brown County, Indiana, with her husband, children, and pets.
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