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Steiner and wholistic education: Alternatives for mainstream education?

Irving, Dale (1991) Steiner and wholistic education: Alternatives for mainstream education? Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The thesis postulated in this dissertation is that wholistic education is important to and feasible within mainstream education systems. A more balanced curriculum (including the affective and spiritual domains), smaller sized schools and greater teacher participation in decision making could promote the attainment of full human potential for students.

Appropriate methodologies for the study are found in feminist and action research. The literature review considers the concept of the ideal human as an attainable goal and aspects of Rudolf Steiner's ideas are presented to enlarge the description of an example of wholistic education, Waldorf education.

The study describes the climate of the Perth Waldorf School as an embodiment of Steiner's educational ideas. The experiences of teachers, parents and students are used to develop an overview of wholistic education and it is compared with the public education system.

Some dissatisfaction with mainstream education is evident in the questionnaire and interview responses of the teachers, parents and students at two state schools. Thus the effectiveness of the large scale educational organisation is considered in relation to the small, human scale approach of the Waldorf School.

Human scale, wholistic education could feasibly be introduced within a large educational bureaucracy. As an example of wholistic education, Waldorf education has aspects which could be integrated into conventional educational settings. A small part of this study involves experimentation with the implementation of this specific approach. Yet it may not be relevant for all schools and students. Thus it is suggested that the minischool concept could provide a range of options to cater for and permit diversity. Balance may thus be possible for both the individual and the organisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Currie, Jan
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