The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education


Published on May 16th, 2017 | by ECSWE


Lobbying for a human-centred education

In the past few months, ECSWE has worked intensively to promote a more human-centred education in Europe. Apart from our ongoing efforts to promote pluralism in assessment, ECSWE has also been actively involved in the debates on the revision of the key competences framework, digital skills and media literacy, and the current debate in the ET 2020 Working group Schools on quality assurance for school development and on continuity and transitions in learner development.

Lobbying for a holistic key competences framework

Since the adoption of the European Framework for Key Competences for Lifelong Learning in 2006, many European countries have undertaken policy reforms to introduce competence-based teaching and learning in formal education. To adapt the framework to the manifold societal challenges in the political, social, economic, ecological and technological field and to ensure its sustainability, the framework is currently under review.

Most of the competences have formed an integral part of Waldorf curricula for more than 9 decades. Others, such as digital competence have been taken up later, in an age- and developmentally appropriate form. We implement them based on a pedagogical approach that promotes the holistic personal development of teachers and learners.

We are convinced that a revised and well implemented key competences framework may contribute to both educating healthy and happy children as well as establishing and sustaining a thriving civil society. This would require a true shift of paradigm towards a learner-centred and holistic pedagogical approach that emphasises the social and civic competences and individual values, nurtures the arts and crafts, supports the development of creativity and allows each individual to unfold and develop its unique personality and potential.

We are therefore drafting answers to the ongoing public consultation on the key competences framework that will be handed in together with a position paper outlining our 7 priorities for the key competences revision.

The need for an age-appropriate media pedagogy:

One of the main themes driving the debate on education at EU level is how to educate a digitally skilled workforce for the labour markets of the future, and indeed, the digital transformation of society is a challenging development for education systems. Unfortunately, the mainstream debate on digital skills and media literacy is very narrowly focused on labour market needs and skills shortages. The result is a growing pressure for an early introduction of digital technology in early childhood education and primary school, whilst often ignoring both the numerous results of relevant research the essential question of what constitutes a healthy and child friendly media pedagogy. For concrete recommendations on child friendly media pedagogy, see brochure Struwwelpeter 2.0.

Digital skills are prominently covered in the draft report on a new skills agenda for Europe that is currently negotiated in the European Parliament in Brussels. The text in its current form “insists on the need to incorporate new technologies in the teaching and learning process in order to equip people with the right set of skills, competences and knowledge”, does not address our concerns on how to implement this in a child friendly way. ECSWE has therefore lobbied the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs on the Committee on Education and Culture (CULT) and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) to table amendments “highlighting the need for age-appropriate ICT and media curricula that respect child development and well-being and emphasise the importance of both responsible use and critical thinking.”

As a result, several members of the involved committees have tabled amendments inspired by our proposals (see pages 130-131, 135-136). We are now analysing them in order to make recommendations to committee members on what amendments to vote for in June.

Developing pedagogical quality:

Today, quality development is not only an important topic within the Waldorf movement, it is also high on the agenda in Brussels, where the ET 2020 Working Group Schools chose “quality assurance for school development” as one of its four priorities. Representatives of national ministries and other stakeholders have discussed how to achieve greater coherence and synergies in quality assurance,  how to ensure the right balance between external and internal quality assurance and how to balance  control on the one hand and a trust-based improvement of pedagogical quality on the other. Quality assurance is also meant to comprise personal and social capabilities.

ECSWE managed to give important inputs into this debate and emphasised the importance of a trust-based approach at the service of professional development of teachers. The German approach to Developing Pedagogical Quality at Waldorf Schools was presented to the Working Group by Dr. Richard Landl. With regards to recommendations for quality assurance at the national level, ECSWE lobbied for an involvement of “schools outside of the mainstream system” in this important debate. Furthermore, we stressed that “the specific needs of alternative pedagogical approaches should be taken into account.”

Georg Jürgens
Executive & Administrative Officer
+32 2 644 00 43

Photo: Panorama of the Place du Luxembourg, European Quarter of Brussels (Belgium), by JLogan. License: CC BY 3.0

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  • ECSWE Newsletter 51, May 2018

    In this volume:
    • - The ELIANT Petition for age-appropriate media education;
    • - A Parliament resolution calling for educational choice;
    • - News from the ET2020 Working Group Schools;
    • - Reports of the last two Council meetings in Dornach and Cracow;
    • - Domestic reports: from Italy and the Netherlands;
    • - An update on the WOW-Day 2017;
  • Factsheet 2017/18

  • Partnerships

  • Recommended Research

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