I Projected Learning Goals and Objectives:
Participants will continue to deepen their exploration of adolescence and how the curriculum in the eleventh and twelfth grades can both mirror and foster transformation into young adulthood. However, the winds of change are blowing briskly through Waldorf high school classrooms. We will consider how to assess which courses in the “traditional canon” to keep, and which—if any—to supplant or supplement. The seminar will focus on literature blocks in these two grades, including any presentations that the participants have been preparing during their independent studies. Since virtually all of the participants are currently teaching in Waldorf settings, their questions and challenges will help inform and direct our discussions.
II Overview of Course Content and Methods:
Weeks 1 and 3
Students will have the opportunity to present culminating work of year-long research projects. Presenters should prepare copies of their research to give to members of the seminar as background material for teaching literature blocks. An annotated bibliography supporting the research should be included.
Eleventh grade is a year of inner and outer journeys, of quests and questions. We will pay particular attention to Hamlet as a bridge from the Medieval Ages to the Modern Age. We will also explore Dante’s Inferno and Von Eschenbach’s Parzival. Time permitting, we may also look at Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and how to prepare high schoolers to write a major comparison/contrast paper.
Weeks 4 and 5
The twelfth grade focus will be on the American writers of the nineteenth century who forged this country’s cultural and literary identity—Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Hawthorne, Whitman, Dickinson. Their unique voices help seniors find their own voices. We may also consider Goethe’s Faust and/or aspects of Russian Literature.
III Verification Requirements and Evaluation Methods:
Evaluation of students will be based on their presentation of research undertaken during their independent study, as well as on classroom participation and any short writing assignments.
IV Suggested Readings:
Margaret Bennell, Shakespeare’s Flowering of the Spirit (East Grinstead: Lanthorn Press, 1971)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Selections, ed. Whicher (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1957)
D.E. Faulkner Jones, The English Spirit (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, trans. Kaufmann (Garden City: Doubleday/Anchor Books, 1961)
A.C. Harwood, Shakespeare’s Prophetic Mind (London: Rudolf Steiner Press)
David Sloan, Life Lessons (AWSNA Publications, 2007)
Linda Sussman, The Speech of the Grail (Lindisfarne Books, 1995)
Betty Staley, Adolescence: The Sacred Passage (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2006)
Betty Staley, Splinters of the Sun (AWSNA, 2008)