Main Lesson

Deep Learning

Steiner schools organise their timetables to deliver each academic subject through a series of “big ideas” which are taught in blocks of time each morning between the start of day and morning break. These blocks extend over three weeks, providing between 20-30 hours of explicit instruction in each “big idea”. They are called the Main Lesson as they are literally that, the “main lesson” of the day.

Each year level has a specific set of main lessons related to the student’s stage of cognitive and emotional development. The main lessons are both interdisciplinary units as well as the building blocks in each discipline as they build capacities and skills in every subject. Each year students work through twelve main lesson blocks that together cover the curriculum for the year and stage in English, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography.

Example:

Class 1: World Stories: engages with the rich cultural history of traditional stories in the class community. This English Main Lesson builds phonic patterns, vocabulary and sentence construction while also engaging the student in Visual Arts, Music and Movement.

Year 7: Mathematics in Nature is a Mathematics Main Lesson that also includes Science, History, and Visual Arts as it explores the number harmonies and geometry underlying the natural world and the human form.

Year 7: Pythagoras and the Theorem is an introduction to formal Geometry that also includes History and Visual Arts.

This extended morning time is spent on immersion in the “big idea” topic which may include:

  • Extended deep work which teachers deliver directly and via a range of sources
  • Explicit instruction in detailed content
  • Imaginative exploration evoking student responses through creative arts: drawing and illustrating the material to create the student’s own text representing their understanding of the content
  • In primary school, a narrative story from the content of the topic, is told in person by the teacher each day as per the long human tradition of oral story-telling.
  • In high school, the progression of topics and learning activities are  modulated to increase each students’ capacity for self-responsibility; broadening perspectives in Years 7 and 8, discovering independence and balancing contrasts in Years 9 and 10, and gaining high level skills of analysis and synthesis in Years 11 and 12