Working through a topic or question, a shaft of sudden inspiration hits. The cloud of fragmented ideas and thoughts clear as a whole picture begins to form coherently in your mind. What you have now worked out—in an unexpected, exciting eureka moment—will stay with you forever.
All teachers seek this experience for their students. Liz Attwell explores theories of education to assert that traditional teaching—“filling buckets”—must be replaced with dynamic, progressive teaching that promotes active learning—not just “lighting a fire” but knowing how to lay the sticks and finding the matches, too. This progressive approach seeks to create a basis for inner awakening and original insight, so that students ultimately reach their own “A-ha!” moments.
In A Drop of Light, Liz Attwell presents her original research into the phenomenon of “A-ha” moments, offering a theoretical background, as well as practical advice, to give teachers the tools, lesson plans, anecdotes, and inspiration to bring living thinking to their own classrooms. Goethe’s approach and Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical ideas make an important contribution, but Attwell advises that teachers following Steiner’s philosophy should also dialogue with educators from other backgrounds. Working together, enlightened teachers around the world can help schools and colleges to become true communities of learning.
Liz Attwell (1960–2019) taught English at Michael Hall School, Sussex, for fourteen years. She studied English literature at Exeter University followed by a PGCE training in secondary English and drama with Dorothy Heathcote at Newcastle University, where she was introduced to “Process” drama and the concept of handing “the mantle of the expert” back to students. She taught in a comprehensive school and, in 1986, took the Foundation Year at Emerson College, Sussex, followed by Dawn Langman’s Speech and Drama course and a stint of teaching at Edinburgh Steiner School. During the 1990s, Liz raised her three children and helped to save and restructure Tablehurst Biodynamic Farm in Forest Row. She completed a training in education at Emerson College and began her work at Michael Hall, where she helped to introduce Continuing Professional Development and Theory U change management, while researching the interface between mainstream technique and the epistemology that underpins Waldorf Education for an MA in Creativity in Education at King’s College, London.
- - Josie Alwyn
was born in London in 1951 and lived most of her life amid the South Downs in Sussex. She was educated at Lewes Grammar School and Sussex University, graduating with an MA in English Renaissance Literature and Drama. Doctoral research led her deeper into the classical and medieval streams of thinking that flow into Shakespeare’s writing, which introduced her to the work of Rudolf Steiner. The beginning of family life in 1984 opened vocational pathways into Steiner education, first in the Brighton Steiner School and at the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar with Brien Masters, then at Michael Hall Steiner School in Forest Row as Upper School English teacher. Josie is currently codirector of the London Waldorf Seminar and a Steiner-Waldorf Schools Fellowship adviser. -