FOREIGN LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION IN THE WALDORF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: STUDENTS’ VIEWS AND PERCEPTIONS
The Waldorf approach, with currently over one thousand institutions on all five continents, is the largest independent school movement in the world. It is built on the humanistic ideals and values of its founder, the scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who maintained that all teaching should be based on true understanding of the developing human as a being of intellect as well as of feeling and volition. These three aspects of the human nature are reckoned with and fostered in all subjects of the Waldorf curriculum, including, of course, foreign languages. This article attempts to discuss the theoretical background which shapes the teaching of foreign languages at Waldorf (Steiner) schools with a particular focus on the role of language in human development. Furthermore, it presents the outcomes of a survey which focuses on the thoughts, feelings and experience of Czech elementary Waldorf school graduates practising this approach to foreign language instruction.
Waldorf education, foreign language instruction, the Direct Method, holistic learning