Effective Practices : Pedagogical Resource Development


Pedagogical Resource Development
Pedagogical Operations Section 6

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1. One of the challenges of teaching in a Waldorf school is that class teachers “inherit” various supplies such as readers, maps, and science equipment from the prior year’s teacher. Describe the manner in which your school handles the ordering of and, more importantly, the overall consciousness for each of the following:
Classroom Reader Libraries
Classroom Maps
Science Experiment Equipment
Other


2. Describe your school’s overall philosophical approach with regard to these important classroom resources.
3. What works particularly well with regard to your school’s purchasing of and consciousness for pedagogical resources such as maps, readers, and science equipment?
4. If there were something you could change with regard to your school’s purchasing of pedagogical resources, what would it be and why?

PED 6-1

One of the challenges of teaching in a Waldorf school is that class teachers “inherit” various supplies such as readers, maps, and science equipment from the prior year’s teacher. Describe the manner in which your school handles the ordering of and, more importantly, the overall consciousness for each of the following:
Classroom Reader Libraries
Classroom Maps
Science Experiment Equipment
Other


Classroom Reader Libraries
The classroom readers stay in the class for which they are intended from year to year. In general the class teachers work together collectively to determine if all of the reader titles are still serving the class well. If the consensus is that a reader is no longer serving the needs of a particular grade it will be discarded. New reader titles are often identified by the school librarian, and often she is the person who places the orders for these books. Several schools reported that they have been successful at receiving grant money to fund their purchase of readers. Other schools pay for readers out of the classroom supply budget.

Classroom Maps
Maps tend to be used in the upper grades and in the high school. These stay in a classroom from year to year, and when replacements are needed they are paid for out of the classroom supply budget (or the high school history or science budget). Historical maps can serve the school for many years. However, the boundaries of countries in today’s world are continually changing, and maps of this sort need regular replacement. For this reason expenditures of this type are carefully considered.

Science Experiment Equipment
Responsibility for science supplies and equipment is generally held jointly between the 6th, 7th and 8th grade class teachers in the lower school, and between the physics, chemistry and life science teachers in the high school. Together they ensure that appropriate equipment and needed supplies are on hand and that everything is returned to the appropriate secure location after they are used.

Schools with high schools generally have a classroom designated as the science lab, and equipment, chemicals and other supplies are kept there in locked cabinets. The lower school usually has its own locked storage cabinets for the supplies and equipment appropriate for its main lessons.

Other
Each class teacher has a budget for discretionary spending. These funds are used for things such as math and grammar work books, materials for projective drawing, and perhaps clay for a special project. Often times a teacher may try something out in her class and uses the budget for this discretionary purchase. If the experiment goes well the project may become a part of the ongoing curriculum at the school, and then funds would be added to the appropriate part of the school budget rather than expecting the teachers to continue to pay for this item out of their discretionary funds.

One school reported that it has a very large inventory of costumes. Many of these costumes are stored in the classrooms, with the overflow stored in a parent’s home. This parent helps us keep an inventory of our costumes. The costumes are paid for out of the festival budget.

PED 6-2

Describe your school’s overall philosophical approach with regard to these important classroom resources.
Talk to each other before making these major purchases. Decide where they will be stored, who will care for them, and whether a sign out sheet is needed. Having a person or a group to hold these supplies in consciousness is a key to sound development of the school’s pedagogical resources.

The school looks for flexibility in the supplies it purchases and continually asks, “Can these resources be used by a variety of people in a variety of ways?”

It is important that the group is able to work together effectively when making decisions that affect the whole school. At times there may be individuals with a strong personality that may seek to influence the group to make a decision that is not appropriate for the school. It is important that the group is able to withstand this pressure and make good decisions.

PED 6-3

What works particularly well with regard to your school’s purchasing of and consciousness for pedagogical resources such as maps, readers, and science equipment?
Teachers buy materials (like resource books) for their classes as needed. If materials were purchased with supply fee money (as opposed to the teacher’s personal funds) the books will go to the teacher’s resource library when the teacher doesn’t need them any more. There they get catalogued and will be available to other teachers in the future.

At the end of the year as we were preparing our Mercurius order, we had a supply “swap meet” where we took about an hour during a faculty meeting and everyone brought all the excess supplies (ML books, etc.) to the faculty meeting room and laid them out. Everyone then took what they thought they would need for the following year, which reduced the redundant ordering that we have done in the past as well as insured that we did not waste good items.

The ability of the lower school teachers and the various departments in the high school to work together collectively ensures the best for the students.

While the budget is always a challenge, there are adequate resources to deliver a quality education. We are conscious of the quality/price tradeoff (paper quality, etc.) and strive to make purchases that balance these two factors appropriately.

We have assigned groups to care for and keep in consciousness these important categories of school supplies.

We have two clean up days at the beginning and end of the school year. During these clean up days we often find equipment and supplies that have gone missing and make decisions about where they should be kept going forward.

The practice of leaving readers, maps and similar supplies in the classroom for the incoming teacher to use works well.

The teacher resource librarian chases down any missing resource books at the end of the year so these valuable resources will be available to the incoming teacher for summer preparation.

PED 6-4

If there were something you could change with regard to your school’s purchasing of pedagogical resources, what would it be and why?
More funding would be helpful.

We need a larger inventory of general supplies on hand. More dedicated space for supplies would allow things to be kept on hand without requiring them to be stored in the classrooms.

The school’s processes for purchasing pedagogical resources seem fine. However, the consciousness of each individual when it comes to taking care of the common resources is more challenging. As with all other matters of individual choice, our school has the full range of people from hyper-responsible, tidy people to the other end of the spectrum. We would like to change this, but we are not hopeful for a solution!


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