Assistant teacher course/Teachers' handbook/Policy framework Waldorf-Freinet

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Policy framework Waldorf/Freinet

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Waldorf education and Freinet education make intensive use of class councils. This policy framework focuses on the class council as the most important democratic committee of self-administration for pupils.

Class council

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The class council can invite pupils to form assistant teacher groups and can delegate the authority they require. In this case the class council will always be able to withdraw its support, which may become a problem if a majority of the pupils feel the assistant teachers are not sufficiently supporting their own class. A possible scenario in an early state of an assistant teacher effort is, however, that assistant teachers do just that intentionally to motivate the remaining pupils. The lack of any other political body responsible for the assistant teacher program could make the counteraction of the remaining pupils too easy, but that could be seen as sufficient under the conditions of Waldorf or Freinet education.

The class council is, of course, free to form committees and other political bodies together with other class councils, thus a charter for a grade council (as in the policy framework Galileo) can be signed by the class councils if they choose to do so. Other bodies as the class council can also be omitted, in which case the class council remains responsible for the proper operation of the assistant teacher groups authorized to educate by the class council.


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An assistant teacher effort is compatible with the goals of Waldorf and Freinet education. If the class council retains the authority to qualify or disqualify whole groups of assistant teachers it is recommended to follow a little more formal approach than one might otherwise find in a class council. The class council could, for instance, demand written applications for every assistant teacher and for every group. Every group allowed to operate could also be given its own wall newspaper, which would have to be removed immediately (as a symbolic action) upon disqualification of a group.

The class council as the highest authority may reduce the respect of the pupils for the office of assistant teachers somewhat in comparison to an assistant teacher program where a school parliament or school meeting is the highest authority. It also seems unlikely that Waldorf schools would make the assistant teacher qualification fully mandatory, consequently it may be important to emphasize the higher status of the assistant teachers with some ceremony and a certain amount of privileges. An important privilege can be the right to visit a self-study center or learning resource centre when regular pupils have to attend a class. It is, of course, also possibly to avoid this additional motivation and to make an assistant teacher effort a volunteer effort without any further motivation.

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