A critical investigation of the interpretation and implementation of the Parzival main lesson within the context of the Waldorf curriculum

Swanepoel, Elizabeth (2009) A critical investigation of the interpretation and implementation of the Parzival main lesson within the context of the Waldorf curriculum. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The Steiner/Waldorf school movement is currently one of the fastest growing independent school movements internationally. In several countries it seems to have developed into the most popular form of alternative education. South Africa has 17 Waldorf schools and one full-time teacher training facility. This study investigated the interpretation and implementation of the Parzival main lesson within the wider context of the Waldorf curriculum. The main lesson system is an essential constituent of the Waldorf curriculum. Most academic subjects in a Waldorf school are taught in a three- or four-week main lesson block. The main lesson occupies the first two hours of the school day. A main lesson consists of a particular three-part structure, and the main lesson book is the keystone to the Waldorf evaluative process. The Parzival main lesson is specifically taught in Class 11, and most Waldorf schools consider it as one of the most important main lessons in the high school. The interpretivist model was ideally suited to this research. The investigation was conducted as a multiple case study, and the main source of data was provided by classroom observation. This was supported by interviews and classroom artifacts. The study involved two South African Waldorf schools at which the Parzival main lesson is taught. This main lesson is presented at only three South African Waldorf schools. I teach at the remaining school, and therefore conducted my research at the other two schools. The teachers who facilitated the Parzival main lesson, as well as the Class students at the selected schools voluntarily participated in the research. My research findings indicate that the possibility exists for the teacher to exercise a certain degree of freedom and creativity within the parameters of Waldorf methodology and the Waldorf curriculum. The study also determines that teachers often find it difficult to integrate the three-part structure, as indicated by Waldorf methodology, in a single main lesson. Furthermore, my research establishes that main lesson books can indeed serve as both text and as an assessment tool. I therefore conclude and maintain in this study, with particular reference to the Parzival main lesson, that despite the prescriptive structure of the Waldorf system and Steiner pedagogy, teachers need not necessarily sacrifice their freedom and creativity within the classroom.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Waldorf method of education, Education - Philosophy, Teaching - South Africa, Perceval (Legendary character), Perceval (Legendary character) - Study and teaching, Grail|vLegends|xStudy and teaching
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:1894
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:16 Feb 2011 13:01
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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