Eurythmy Curriculum in Waldorf Education.

Research question

For a long time the researcher has been asking himself why eurythmy has been a very difficult subject. Majority of the pupils and students nowadays appear not to like being taught eurythmy and even when they are being taught they show a lot disinterest of which sometimes discourages the teacher of the subject. Most of the parents who show interest in understanding what eurythmy is are usually left unsatisfied because it is also difficult to explain to them all about it. A survey conducted by scholars (David and Douglas, 2007) about Waldorf gave some very interesting data which was a paradox because it showed that majority of the student are able to recognize the value of eurythmy after they graduate. When majority of these graduates are asked to comment about Waldorf education they said that they initially rejected eurythmy curriculum when they were students but its significance became apparent to them latter unlike in other subjects which they found enjoyable right from the start of their study. This was not the case with eurythmy since it was not easy to point out its meaning and importance directly due to the fact that initially it is not an interesting lesson. They said eurythmy as a subject has some unique challenges that make the student hate it and therefore not understand what they are doing regardless of how long they are exposed to it and some do not even understand its importance even long after school. Due to these challenges some of the schools dropout the study through eurythmy when the student reach the upper school as a result of lack of easy access to the art. In the effort to understand this phenomena from a general view the researcher came up with this project, survey in eurythmy teachers with an aim of studying the trends as well as practices of eurythmy curriculum regarding what has been taught in past and how it has been taught. The results of this research project will explain the reasons as to why most teachers have a difficulty in understanding as well as teaching the eurythmy lessons by showing the pictures of experiences the teachers go through and also a variety of ideas in pursuit of successfully bringing the study of eurythmy to many schools. (Steiner, 2003 pp24-29).

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Importance of the study regarding eurythmy

According to (Druitt, 2005 pp 17-25) “The importance of this research project is to bring out the general pictures and major trends in implementation of eurythmy curriculum from Waldorf schools in the United States and also find out and discuss key challenges faced by teachers in teaching of eurythmy along with the related issues”. The study will also reveal the most needed solutions to these challenges faced by teachers and this will allow the study of eurythmy to take place in many schools without necessarily dropping it in the upper school.

What has already been done regarding eurythmy

Eurythmy is an art that was designed by Rudolf which is today taught in Waldorf schools and it occupies a unique position in the curriculum especially when it is applied in the right way at different stages throughout the lower and the upper school at different phases of development because it is an important aid to the development of human beings. It referrers to the art of movement engaging human body and the soul and bring about harmony in the relationship between the body and the spirit of the soul. Eurythmy makes use of the polarities of gravity and levity and the balance between the two through the internal experience of the element of soul also known as the ensouled movement. It is a performing art and also an educational as well as therapeutic aspect that helps the children to become graceful in their movement, better coordinated, alert and at ease all the time with themselves. This movement can be used by the teacher to discover the potentials in a child and how to help the child release those potentials because there is even no age limit for eurythmy. Eurythmy lessons starts by the children forming a circle actively together when all the children and the teachers are present. This portrays an image of being whole and of balance by combining for, body movement and rhythm all in one gesture. Rhythm is generated when the circles moves to the right, left, centre and outward either decreasing or increasing in size and therefore generating almost every possible rhythm. These movements are usually simplified at grade one and two and there after become more complicated when the student are comfortable with complicated rhythms. At first colorful pictures are used to nourish the imagination. (Adams, 2004 pp 17-18).

This study focus on the challenges being faced by the teachers of eurythmy by pointing them out and also reveal the solution to such challenges. It is aimed at discovering the stimulant that the teachers can adapt and how they can vary them so as to make the eurythmy lessons more interesting and enthusiastic to both children and the parents who are interested to know more about the study. The research project will also design the process through which teachers can understand the concept better so that they are able to teach confidently and come up with even better body movement that captures the attention of the mind. (Adams, 2004 pp 19-20).

Major difficulties faced by teachers in eurythmy classes

Currently many schools require judging the achievement of the student academically through results of the tests administered throughout the course which involve reading and calculations in mathematics. It is also a requirement by the law that all the students must attain the set standards in the state for them to be considered as having qualified and this has resulted to many teachers, Student and parents paying little attention to art studies like eurythmy and pay more attention to other subject that enable schools to see the amount of change regarding the student achievement. This has resulted to very little instructions time for the art subjects and so eurythmy. (Adams, 2004 pp 21-25).

Study design

The tools used in the survey include statistics questions some of which are open ended and others multiples choice questions and they will be designed to cover the following topics:

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  1. Personal information of the person participating in the research: 5 questions.
  2. Education for the teachers teaching eurythmy:10 questions.
  3. Workforce experience:10 questions.
  4. Relationships at individual level with the members of the society:5 questions.
  5. General experience in individuals life.
  6. A major lasting significance of waldorf education in teachers: 15 questions.
  7. The health and body fitness: 5 questions (Kwon, 2006 pp 14-18).

Ethics

According to (Kwon, 2006 pp16) During the research, the researcher will observe high level of professionalism and the participating teachers will be handled with confidentiality and no information will be disclosed even to their closest friends. Before the research starts, the teachers participating will have to be given an introductory session about the study at individual level and all the required information will be made available to them in good time. During the progress of the research the participant will be granted breaks where necessary to ensure that they deliver the most reliable information.

Data collection and analysis

During the survey there will be 10 north- American waldorf secondary schools which have all graduated senior classes by the year 2007. The research will be carried on 12 teachers teaching eurythmy in these schools and they will be required to provide their contact information. This will be enhanced by first making an official invitation to these teachers through postal contact. This will then be followed by the follow up of the participants who will respond positively to the invitation and have a short briefing about all what the research is about. (Kwon, 2006 pp 17-18).

Sorting out the data collected

This stage will involve sorting and organizing statistical questions as well as those that are open-ended and also on multiple choice questions. This will latter be followed by making it available these sorted data to the research institute to facilitate evaluation and data analysis. Care will be taken to ensure there no assumption or imagination made during the compiling of the data and all the information will be first hand. (Dillard, 2004 pp 14-16).

Data analysis

After the initial data review, a more in-depth study will be done to find out identifiable trends, identify relationships and evaluation of anecdotal responses. This will be followed by development of a systematical analysis of the data to find out why teaching eurythmy in high schools has become so difficult and offer lasting solutions. (Dillard, 2004 pp 12-13).

References

Dillard C. (2004): Waldorf education in an inner city public school: The urban review, pp 12-16.

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Kwon A. (2006): Introduction to Waldorf Education: International review of Education, pp 14-18.

Druitt A. (2005): Advancing the quality of education: Steiner, pp 17-25.

Steiner R. (2003): Steiner Waldorf Education: Alternative Approaches to education, pp 24-29.

Adams D. (2004): An important principle of the visual arts in Waldorf School: Anthroposophist Press, pp 17-25.

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