Recommendations for Core Components for Teacher Preparation in Alliance Member Schools

This outline is offered as a guide for individual or institutional reference; the Alliance does not certify, endorse, or approve teacher preparation programs, individual trainers or consultants, or institutions.

Major Areas of Teacher Preparation

The Pedagogical Committee of the Alliance has identified the eight major areas below that are considered essential components of any teacher preparation program for teachers in an Alliance member school.  Effective preparation is aligned with the Core Principles of Public Waldorf education, with Fieldwork as the ninth component.

  • Anthroposophy in context of modern thought
  • Rudolf Steiner’s life and works
  • History and Philosophy of education
Child Development
  • Models of child development
  • Phases of child development
  • Developmentally appropriate education
Arts in education
  • Role of the arts
  • Teacher as artist
  • Arts curriculum
  • Independent reading and study
  • Research methodologies
  • Independent project/capstone/action research/ thesis (ideally linked to practice)
Development of the Teacher
  • Teaching Presence: inner development, mindfulness, presence
  • Arts for (inner) self-development
  • Social, collegial and group work
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • School governance and organization
Policy and Contemporary Issues
  • Contemporary issues in education
  • Diversity and multi-cultural perspectives
  • Equity and social justice
  • Accountability
  • Professional responsibilities, rights, and expectations
  • School structure and culture
  • Media Literacy and Technology Ethics
The Individual Learner
  • Assessment
  • Child Study
  • Archetypes and polarities
  • Trauma-informed education
  • Educational support – including remedial work
  • Special education/special needs
Curriculum and Instruction
  • Early childhood, Grades and High School curriculum
  • Main lesson scope and sequence
  • Special subjects (arts, languages, crafts, movement, etc.)
  • Multi-cultural adaptations
  • Methods
  • Literacy
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Classroom management
  • Planning and record keeping

Core Components, Length and Weighting  

A range of clock hours or percentage of time has been allotted to each key component, allowing flexible design based on the strengths and needs of individual programs.

Overall length is given in classroom contact hours; although traditional higher education is assessed in units or credit hours, this does not translate well across academic, practical arts, inner work, and arts classes.

Online Learning

Several aspects of teacher preparation may be delivered online. These include the more academic subjects (e.g. human development, educational philosophy) and seminar classes.

All teacher preparation programs must include a substantial face-to-face component. As this is a changing, dynamic sector of adult education, “substantial” is not specifically defined.

Field Experience: Pre-service (trainee teachers with no prior training or teaching experience)

12 weeks to 2 full semesters (standard in many conventional teacher education programs):

  • Programs are responsible for ensuring that placements take place with an experienced, trained Waldorf teacher in an established school.
  • Combination of observing (class and child), assisting, participating in the full life of the school, solo teaching, mentoring.
  • Must include experience in an Alliance member school.

Field Experience: In-service (students with prior non-Waldorf teacher training and teaching experience)

6 weeks to a semester.

  • May be fulfilled though traditional, internship, or apprenticeship models.
  • Includes observations in a range of grades;
  • On-site mentoring by master teacher;
  • Observations, mentoring and coaching from program.
  • Demonstrate participation in full life of school.
  • Supported by seminar, practice-based classes (can be online).

Whole-school Trainings

  • Must meet the minimum core requirements.
  • Must include additional emphasis on leadership, school structure, faculty meetings, school culture, governance, etc. in an Alliance member context.

Resources and Texts

The selection of resources is the responsibility of each program. Resources and texts must include core knowledge, demonstrate an understanding of contemporary issues in education, the needs of teachers, students, and schools, and an awareness of requirements of public education.

Mentoring, Evaluation, and Professional Development

These are essential elements for effective teacher preparation.

  • For trainees, mentoring is a shared responsibility of the host school (must be able to provide an experienced supervising teacher) and program (must be able to provide observation, mentoring, coaching, and evaluation).
  • Evaluation must include feedback on the placement from the supervising teacher plus program-based evaluation.

Mentoring and support are essential during the first years of teaching; this is a responsibility of schools. Ongoing professional development is an expectation. It is anticipated that this may be achieved through a combination of on-site faculty study, workshops and conferences, and summer enrichment or certificate courses.

Many years of experience demonstrate that development of a teacher continues well beyond completion of any certificate or qualification. Any preparation program is inevitably introductory in many areas. New teachers continue to develop their skills in the classroom and need support in order to do so. Ongoing professional development and support are essential to the deepening of teaching.