The High School
A Time For Independent Thinking
The child’s view of the adult as a natural authority changes at puberty, when the individual personality is felt more strongly. The students must now learn to think for themselves and form their own judgments. Class teachers now give way to specialist teachers who lead the students through a rich and varied selection of lessons. Clear writing, lively thinking and good work habits are emphasised. Through exploration, discussion and individual research, the adolescent is trained in acute observation, logical thinking and self-discipline. The student is guided to understand the laws underlying world phenomena and the human being‘s central position and responsibility in all fields of human endeavour.
We live in a highly scientific and technological age, and therefore the study of science and mathematics plays a crucial role in preparing the young adult to understand and integrate into today‘s world. In the Waldorf approach to science and mathematics, pupils study the dramatic biographies of remarkable personalities whose discoveries changed and moulded the social conditions of our civilisation. Such studies begin with observation and personal experience and lead, through exploration and careful observation to discovery of the laws.
With imaginative presentation, natural curiosity can be aroused in all pupils. For the potential specialist in science, there is much that can be done to sharpen the senses and clarify the thought processes that are essential for later specialisation. Students thus develop a scientific training that is coupled with a dawning awareness of the social significance of the sciences.
The arts and technical skills are not reserved for the gifted but provide some of the most outstanding learning opportunities for all. Drama, music, painting, sculpture, Eurythmy, bookbinding, metalwork, weaving and woodwork give vitally important challenges to pupils, which enrich their experience and strengthen abilities.
Adolescence can be a celebration of growing independence. Stifled with cynicism or irrelevancies, the damage can easily lead to unhealthy escapism. In the high school the endeavour is to provide the student with personal challenges that stimulate a capacity to think independently and apply the will to seeing a project through to the end. Examples of such projects would be the performances of plays and Eurythmy, project oriented camps such as surveying, work experience and the final twelfth class project that caps the pupils’ high school experience. These self-chosen projects help significantly to develop the ability to create own questions, formulate tasks and carry them out.
The matriculation results of the Waldorf schools are consistently good, showing that academic excellence can be well achieved within a very broad education for life.