biographies class 6 class 7 class 8 May 11, 2021
Waldorf Education and Biographies

After the 12 year change, the students' relationship to the world has once again encountered a metamorphosis, and subsequently, our teaching must change, too. The stories and mythologies from the younger years, which have seeped the children in a feeling for the great cultural epochs, is now replaced with “true” histories. But how these histories are brought can also look somewhat different from traditional education, focused more on the individuals that make up a time, rather than the dates and events that mark most history books. 

Students in grades 6-8 are nourished deeply by the telling of history through biography. Biographies give students a unique perspective into history, one that can be easily overlooked; history is made up of the lives, and actions, of individuals, individuals that are no more or less human than ourselves. Being human, these individuals are full of foibles, as well as courage, truth, and discovery. These individuals experienced hardship and failure, as well as joy and success, just as we do. In a world that can be scary and overwhelming, biographies allow the students to remember that struggle can build strength, and that courage and hope is not only possible, but is the way of humanity. 

By teaching history through biography, we are giving students the hidden gift of idealism, while still acknowledging that the world is not perfect. We are encouraging the students to go out and face the challenges in this world, to seek to make the world a better place. It is this capacity for deep trust in the beautiful possibilities of our future that makes young people such a joy to work with. They can, and will, change the world. 

~By: Mrs. Jaia Jenkins

(Note: The attached artwork is a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, created by a Seasons of Seven Eighth Grader, in conjunction with our Revolutions and Reform Block).

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