Emerson education in China

An update on Emerson's anthroposophy foundation programme in China

Emerson College is now running two Foundation programmes in China, in partnership with educational centres in Guangzhou and Zhengzhou.  The programmes consist of six two-week seminars spread over two years. Here, Binjie Hou, manager of one of these partner organisations, describes the background and launch of the programme.

"Waldorf education landed in China 11 years ago. One of the biggest training centres, Guangzhou Waldorf Training Centre was founded in 2008 by Jennifer Ouyang, and has educated about a hundred Waldorf teachers for Southern China.

Through these years of teacher training programmes, we found that few participants would indeed work in the forefront of teaching and management positions after graduation, and even fewer who joined Waldorf schools later were able to persevere in the long term. It is a great challenge both physically and mentally for a teacher to put into practice such creative education with full vitality, not only in the content of the learning but also in the width, depth and intensity of this work, which requires that a teacher maintains constant self-renewal, transformation and great effort to keep balance. Many teachers meet hardships and frustration in their practice, but how do the tutors more than 60 years old who came to China still keep such fresh and vital life forces? Finally we realised we must put down the root of anthroposophy deeply.

Therefore, with the aim to fully understand anthroposophy, Jennifer began to inquire of Emerson College whether it is possible to design an anthroposophical foundation course for us from a more comprehensive perspective and wider vision, including anthroposophical theory and its applied fields, to impart application methods in daily life and work and provide new possibilities for career planning and life direction, which will help participants not only to carry heavy burdens but also enjoy the striving process.

On 26th August, 2015, we formally began Module 1 of the anthroposophy foundation course. 64 participants from all walks of life joined in it, among them several were principals of large national kindergartens. The feedback showed that they learnt a lot from listening exercises and non-violent communication, felt more determined, got along with people more comfortably, communicated with each other more easily, respected others and themselves.

In Module 2 also 64 participants joined from all walks of life. More principals of kindergarten came wishing to apply anthroposophy theory into work. The feedback on career planning and Goethean observation was that they were clearer about self-development and knew better how to plan their own work.

In China many people are looking for new ways in education. Participants coming to our foundation course include teachers, parents, engineers, and librarians. At first they want to know what on earth the anthroposophy guiding Waldorf education is, and in the courses they begin to learn about themselves and their own journey.

In line with the title of this foundation course: “Cultivating Wisdom: Spiritual Science and Social Arts”, we expect more good content in all modules will be introduced, and also the theory of anthroposophy will be planted in everyone’s soul to arouse all the joy of being human."

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