Book Review: Immersion Learning - A Travelogue July 31 2020

Immersion Learning Waldorf Publicationsby Franz Lutters in conjunction with Leiden University, the Netherlands

What is this unusual practice in Waldorf schools around the world, that has teachers, day after day, two hours each day, week after week for, sometimes, four weeks teaching the same subject?! It is called “block teaching,” with a single subject the consistent focus for three, four, and sometimes up to six weeks, depending on the teacher and the goals for the class. Franz Lutters takes the reader through a complete description of the depth and the remarkable potential in teaching this way.

Lutters named his book, A Travelogue, because with so much concentrated time spent on a single subject (math, literature, history, geography, botany, everything!), it becomes like travel; to different countries, different times, different modes of mathematical thinking. Especially in this time of Covid-19, when it can be difficult to concentrate, it becomes essential that we learn to focus and that we learn to cultivate our imaginations.  Because, though we are “locked down”— with our imaginations we can travel anywhere! For a student to discover this sets her free for life!

This book was written as part of a research project with Leiden University. The author describes how curiosity is engendered in remarkably different ways to teach each subject.  Illustrations help the reader to see the artistic way students characterize their learning in their main lesson books. Waldorf schools avoid using textbooks, preferring instead for the children to write and illustrate their own textbooks, which are called main lesson or good books.  Through this writing and illustrating, the understanding of the subject deepens and further focuses the student’s attention more intensively for broader comprehension of the learning.

This book is a guide to block learning and to the journey through the many places, ideas, and inspirations that every student travels in the course of a Waldorf education!