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In a report, based on the PISA study in 2006, the Austrian Bundesinstitut for Educational Research Innovation and Development (BIFIE) recommends Steiner Waldorf schools as models for teaching in the sciences. According to the PISA study, Austrian Steiner Waldorf schools are better at teaching the sciences than schools in OECD countries and Austrian schools in general. The report writes:

The results of pupils at Waldorf schools in the sciences are better than the average for pupils in OECD countries with 524 points and 500 points respectively and are also higher than the average for Austrian schools. In comparison, the average results in this area lie between the two higher school types (AHS, BHS) and the occupational middle schools. The difference in results is smallest in the sciences in relation to the AHS with 50 test points and to the BHS with 30 test points in comparison to the two other areas of competence (reading and mathematics)

It also writes

Recommendations for educational policies based on the PISA results can be made especially for the teaching of natural science. Based on the relatively high competence of Waldorf pupils in natural science, combined with exceptionally high indicators of motivation and reflective cognition in these subjects as well as the different pedagogical principles, it is reasonable to conclude that public education can learn from the Steiner Waldorf schools, in particular with regard to being able to concretely apply knowledge in natural science.

(In the original:

Die Schüler/innen der Waldorfschulen liegen in Naturwissenschaft mit 524 Testpunkten über dem OECD-Mittelwert von 500 und auch über dem österreichischen Mittelwert. Im Vergleich zeigt sich bei diesem Kompetenzbereich, dass die durchschnittlichen Leistungen der Waldorfschulen zwischen den beiden höheren Schulsparten (AHS, BHS) und den Berufsbildenden Mittleren Schulen (BMS) liegen. Die Leistungsdifferenz zur AHS mit gut 50 Testpunkten und zur BHS mit gut 30 Testpunkten ist im Vergleich zu den anderen beiden Kompetenzbereichen (Lesen und Mathematik) am geringsten.

and

Bildungspolitische Empfehlungen auf Basis dieser Ergebnisse lassen sich vor allem für den Unterricht in naturwissenschaftlichen Fächern ableiten. Auf Grund der relativ hohen Naturwissenschafts-Kompetenz der Waldorfschüler/innen in Kombination mit äußerst hohen motivationalen Merkmalen und selbstbezogenen Kognitionen in diesen Fächern sowie den unterschiedlichen didaktischen Prinzipien liegt der Schluss nahe, dass die Regelschule von der Waldorfschule lernen kann, insbesondere was den konkreten Anwendungsbezug in der Naturwissenschaft betrifft

For the full  report by the research institute,  see

”Kompetenzen und individuelle Merkmale der Waldorfschüler/innen im Vergleich” by Christina Wallner-Paschon

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Since the beginning of the year, the Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo, Norway and the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Alfter, Germany publish a research journal on Steiner Waldorf education.

The journal, RoSE: Research on Steiner Education is an on-line, bilingual (English and German) peer-reviewed academic journal with the purpose of serving the theoretical and practical development of Steiner Waldorf education in ways that are relevant to our contemporary globalising world.

RoSE wishes to establish links and dialogues between Steiner education and other alternative as well as mainstream educational discourses and practices. The journal publishes articles based on empirical as well as on theoretical or philosophical research.

Reviews of books, Doctoral and Master’s Theses are also part of the journal. The journal welcomes both critical and appreciative approaches to Steiner education, as long as they adhere to general academic standards. While the journal finds references to Rudolf Steiner’s works natural considering the purpose of the journal, the journal also welcomes papers that do not refer to Steiner as long as they are otherwise relevant to the journal’s purpose.

Articles that engage in rigorous dialogue between Steiner philosophy/pedagogy and other, particularly contemporary, pedagogical, psychological or philosophical approaches are especially welcome. The journal publishes two issues per year. Submitted papers will be anonymously peer-reviewed by two members of the editorial board, or by academic colleagues especially chosen by these members.

The first issue of the journal was published in January 2010. The second issue will be published in November 2010.

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According to an independent study in 2005, Waldorf pupils are least hostile to foreigners of all German pupils.

The study that was done by the Criminological Research Institute in Niedersachsen, was made at the request of the Greens in the German parliament, to investigate the extent of right wing extremism and hostility to foreigners among pupils at German schools.

Hostility to non-Germans

Acording to the study, of German pupils with two German parents, 24.7 % of the pupils at ”Hauptschulen” (main schools) expressed hostility to non-Germans.

The same holds for 20.2 % of the pupils at ”Realschulen”, 16.3 % of the pupils at ”Gesamtschulen” and 8.4 % of the pupils at ”Gymnasien” (High Schools).

Among pupils at Waldorf schools, the percentage of pupils who expressed hostility to non-Germans was lowest among all German pupils, 2.4%.

Right wing extremist views

The results were similar with regard to extremist right wing views.

The percentage of pupils who expressed extremist right wing attitudes was 9.5 % at ”Hauptschulen” (main schools), 6.0 % for pupils at ”Realschulen”, 4.8 % at ”Gesamtschulen”, and 2.8 % for pupils at ”Gymnasien” (High Schools).

The corresponding figure for pupils at Waldorf schools was 1.2 %.

Reference:
Dirk Baier, Susann Rabold, Christian Pfeiffer (Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen): Ausmaß, Ursachen und Entwicklung von fremdenfeindlichen und rechtsextremen Einstellungen bei deutschen Jugendlichen. Stellungnahme zum Antrag der Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen betreffend der Bekämpfung des Rechtsextremismus in Hessen (Drucksache 16/6708)

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A US dissertation in 2001 on the moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings found that Waldorf-educated students scored significantly higher on a test of moral reasoning than students in public high schools and students in a religiously-affiliated high school. Waldorf students were also far more likely to volunteer opinions about the survey and research in general, suggesting possible improvements in the survey technique and offering new possibilities to resolve the moral dilemmas raised in the survey.

Reference
Hether, Christine Anne, The moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings, Ph.D. dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, 2001, 209 pages; AAT 3044032

Source: Waldorf education article at Wikipedia

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A british study comparing the drawing ability of children in Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori and traditional schools has concluded that

”the approach to art education in Steiner schools is conducive not only to more highly rated imaginative drawings in terms of general drawing ability and use of color but also to more accurate and detailed observational drawings,”

while another, international study has found that Waldorf pupils average higher scores on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Ability than state-school students.

According to the study, this

”suggested that Waldorf students were more creative than their state school peers. Particular credit for this was given to the maturational-readiness and nurturing curriculum of the Waldorf Schools, which includes: having the same teacher follow students from grades 1 to 8; de-emphasis on academic performance in early grades; use of art in instruction; and other teaching and curriculum considerations.

Source: Waldorf education article at Wikipedia

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