New Science Building – July 2013
Adolescence is the age when our students enter High School. An organic change in the body is reflected in a dramatic change in the approach to teaching which has begun gently, already at the end of the Primary School years. The bodily changes of adolescence are different for boys and girls and lead to the marked differentiation between the sexes with the corresponding change in relationships between the sexes – another feature of this age.
Upon entering the High School, the students leave their class teacher and come under the care of a group of specialist teachers, one of whom will be their Class Guardian. Unlike the Class Teacher the Class Guardian does not take every main lesson but only those for which she/he is a specialist. This new emphasis on specialist teaching means that the young person meets a range of experienced and passionate Specialist Teachers who can bring the full depth of the subject matter in an enlivened and extended way. These specialist disciplines are taught using three main modes of teaching: Main lesson teaching, studio teaching and landscape teaching.
The main lessons are thematic 3-4 week blocks generally occupy 2 hours of the morning. They are thematic, experiential and develop independent discernment and independent, lively thinking within the discipline of the subject. Subjects include English, history, geography, maths, chemistry, biology, physics and aesthetics. The teacher is central in guiding these lessons. Here is an an overview of the High School Curriculum .
The studio lessons happen in the late morning or afternoon 1-2 times a week as double lessons. Here the bodily skill activity of the students is important and the teacher has a more guiding role. Lessons include laboratory lessons in physics, chemistry and biology, art studio lessons in painting, drawing, sculpture, sports field lessons in physical education, games and workshop lessons in soft craft and hard craft.
The landscape lessons are not a separate program within the school.
They are an extension of the two methodologies above but taken into the landscape where the teaching and work takes place within the landscape and offers a new area of relationships both between students and teachers, students and students, and students and their subject material.
A fourth type of teaching mode are the so called practice lessons for maths, English and a foreign language.
English and Mathematics, while introducing the significant new themes through main lessons, also focus on developing the requisite skills through three practice lessons each per week.
Studies of Society and Environment continue with Geography and History as main lessons through to Class Twelve. In addition Social Studies and and Australian Studies are added in Class Eleven and Exploring Spirituality (Comparative Religion) in Class Twelve. Gardening (Classes 8 – 10) and Work Experience (Classes 9 – 11) contribute to this area.
The Arts focus on the aesthetic element through a series of main lessons – Art History in Class Nine, Poetry and Literature in Class Ten, Music History in Class Eleven and History of Architecture and History of Modern Art in Class Twelve.
Painting, Drawing, Modelling and Music continue as subject lessons to Class Eleven, and may become electives in Class Twelve.
Eurythmy continues through to Class Twelve.Doing Eurythmy during this time of change encourages in a subtle way, a kind of inner flexibility, the ability to listen deeply, the capacity for differentiated movement (in contrast with just moving to the beat in a nightclub, for example), and given the work is always in a group, a certain social sensibility through moving together to music and poetry
Drama in the high school has at present the production of a full play in Class Ten and a final play in Class Twelve. In the case of the Class Twelve students, it is rehearsed and per-formed within a three week period, having been preceded by earlier lessons where the play is read and improvisation and speech skills are developed. In each case the whole class is involved in the production and performance. The experience of taking on a role and playing someone else’s part in life fulfils an important need in adolescence when young people are searching for their own identity.
Languages other than English
German continues through to Class Twelve.
Woodwork is taught through to Class Eleven and metalwork in Classes Eight and Ten, both becoming possible electives in Class Twelve.Machine Sewing is taught in Classes Eight and Nine. Basketmaking is taught in Class Eight, and Leatherwork in Class Ten.
Computer skills, beginning with keyboard skills, are taught in Class Ten and Eleven
Health and Physical Education
Physical Education is taught through to Class Twelve, allowing a wide variety of sports to be played.
The Class Guardian period from Class Eight through to Class Twelve is used among other things for personal development and related activities.
Gardening continues from Class Eight through to Class Ten, incorporating skills such as design, compost making, pruning, propagating and others. This subject can continue into Class Eleven and Twelve via a negotiated curriculum.
Camps form an integral part of certain subjects such as Geography, Surveying and Botany and combine with outdoor education activities such as cycling, sailing, canoeing and bushwalking. These camps form the landscape education component of the school.
Work experience is an important part of meeting the world. It is undertaken over three classes, for 2-3 weeks per year. In Class Nine students work in primary industry, often on farms. In Class Ten they enter the world of secondary industry and in Class Eleven the service industry – hospitals, schools, working with the homeless or disabled people etc.
Year Twelve is a culmination of many subjects. In addition to the full range of subjects studied in the Year Twelve curriculum, each student undertakes an Independent Research Project (IRP) of their own choice and design. They work on this independently, but with guidance from a mentor, and a school supervisor for the year. The school allows four lessons/week, (on one day), all year for the project but expects the students to use their own time as well. Results are published and presented to a large assembly at the end of the year. This is a major presentation lasting 30 – 40 minutes in which the students must show their work, speak about the process and their results and answer questions.
Student Exchange Samford Valley Steiner School offers a student exchange program from class 10. The aim of the exchange is to encourage a community of modern young people who have cultural links to other cultures all over the world. Learning at least one foreign language is compulsory at Samford Valley Steiner School, as it is in many Steiner Schools around the world. The Exchange possibility adds a huge motivation to the students to learn another language. There are other benefits educationally for the Exchange program. It allows students who have a parochial view of life to extend their horizons and realize that the world is a complex place made up of many different cultures all of which bring something unique and colorful to the social life of the earth. Even for those students who don’t go on exchange, they experience the young people from other cultures who come to the school and it can be a life changing experience for them.