Question D: Do Steiner Schools Use an Analytic Phonic Approach?

And so perhaps literacy learning in Steiner schools uses an analytic phonic approach..? What are your thoughts around this?

There is no single approach in Steiner schools. Waldorf teachers in the English-speaking world are frantically trying to add in the missing material to Steiner's indications so that they can teach reading and spelling in English. They tend to use whatever they can get their hands on, but not necessarily. A minority limit themselves to Steiner's indications and don't teach anything beyond the alphabet and copying passages from the board before using them as reading material, for example. Most supplement the curriculum Steiner gave because they realize there is more to teach. They just don't realize why.

Steiner spoke German. He advised German-speaking teachers. This fact has consequences. German is much more phonetic than English. Consequently, there is not much to be found in Steiner's indications re: literacy approaches that applies to English. However, Steiner's indications are really the main thing that holds the Steiner schools' educational approaches together. Everything else comes from the individual teacher and whatever training s/he had–Waldorf or otherwise. Thus, it is hard to speak about what approach the Steiner schools use because after teaching the alphabet, Steiner schools' teaching approaches diverge to accommodate the fact that teachers have to supplement what Steiner said in order to teach literacy in English. As a result, commonality is lost.

About the Author Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl