A look at the work of two of our Upper School students for their Class 12 Project – Class of 2021. For their independent, final year project the students have chosen to make electric guitars with the mentorship of a professional instrument maker. They’ve spent many hours this year researching and developing their ideas; planning; sourcing materials, tools and specialist workspace; problem solving and re-evaluating – alongside all the practical work of measuring, templating, cutting, tooling, construction and sanding. The next steps will be setting and finessing towards their end of year presentation and final assessment. Find out more about the role and importance of the Class 12 Project below…
The Class 12 Project – freedom, responsibility and self-realisation
Class 12 is the final year of our students’ journey at Cardiff Steiner School – a year of culmination, synthesis, reflecting on the past, and striding forth into the journey of life. It brings together and integrates what has formed over twelve or more years of Steiner Waldorf Education. The Class 12 Project is a unique marker of that – a significant demonstration of self-directed, independent, responsible learning.
Each student chooses their own project, which allows them to strengthen their knowledge of a topic, or deepen their skills in a practical form – sometimes both. They spend a year, together with their mentors, developing their ideas and components. The independence and initiative of the students are challenged in entirely new ways to prepare them for the lifelong journey of self-education. They meet their teachers in a new way, as collaborators and fellow researchers, as well as dedicated mentors.
The vast majority of the project work is done independently, both inside and outside school, in addition to daily lessons, the Class play, trips, college/career planning and their social lives. Learning to balance these demands is part of the freedom and responsibility of the project. The final projects are presented at an exhibition and presentation evening where the School community meets to listen to each student’s journey.
By the end of Class 12 the many-faceted Steiner Waldorf curriculum will have provided the students with opportunities for personal growth and helped them build capacities, which they awaken to just as they prepare to leave. Through the project, students come to realise the breadth, depth, and liveliness of the education they have received, and the integrated balance of thinking, feeling, and willing they have achieved. It is an act of self-realisation, of developing ideals and values and then acting upon them, and asking the question “What is my place in the world?”.
Rudolf Steiner asks teachers to “Respect the freedom of the child – a freedom we must not endanger; for it is to this freedom that we educate the child, that that child may stand in freedom in the world at our side.” This is the freedom that is at the heart of education in Class 12 and the Class 12 project.