We asked some of the students who have graduated from the RSUC master programme to write a few words about their experiences as master students and what they learned from the programme. Here you can read what they wrote.
“The modules were exciting intellectually and emotionally and also broadened my understanding of the world.”
I came to the RSUC master programme and already knew from the beginning into which direction I wanted to perform my research. On the first day, I talked about my plans to Arve Mathisen. They were being supported right away so that I was able to become more and more concrete quite fast. I was able to continue and really enjoyed every moment of my vast experiences during my field work in Peru and Kenya. This experience changed my life in many ways.
The modules were exciting intellectually and emotionally and also broadened my understanding of the world, as did the shared everyday life with the other multicultural students coming from three continents, eight countries and two world religions.
There were moments between us of spontaneous mutual closeness which I had not expected to experience again and before all not in such a heterogeneous community. The background of the beautiful people and life style in the Vidaraasen community enhanced the whole experience. Although the studies were also financially challenging, I never have regretted it the least up until today.
“I particularly appreciated that the learning process was focused on an applied research project of my own choice.”
I found the RSUC Master programme a fulfilling and valuable experience. I particularly appreciated that the learning process was focused on an applied research project of my own choice. This gave me the opportunity to go deeply into a field of my own interest while also learning about educational philosophy and qualitative research. This was very challenging, but also very rewarding. I also greatly appreciated being with a diverse group of international students who were all on their own individual journeys, but with a common interest. What I learned at RSUC has greatly helped my professional work since, which has mainly been in adult education. It has also given me the confidence to take a PhD, which I am in the final stages of completing.
“I joined the master’s program to be empowered, in order to empower others, and this goal I have achieved.”
My experiences with the program: It was such a great experience being part of the RSUC master program (class of 2012). What made this a great experience for me was the ability to tailor my studies particularly round my specific interest and background. Being that my interest has always been on education and social welfare, this facilitated me to focus, develop and carry out my research in a very relevant topic.
The program was equally spiced up with students from various backgrounds; culturally and pedagogically, making it a beautiful experience because it provided the opportunity to learn something new from each other. The staff in the program were also absolutely amazing persons; ready and willing to help out always.
My experiences after the program: The RSUC master’s program enriched me with better theoretical understanding of educational theories and above all with a solid foundation on executing qualitative research study. Thus, the master’s degree has been a great tool for me to explore areas in education and social welfare and to contribute both theoretically and practically within them. I joined the master’s program to be empowered, in order to empower others, and this goal I have achieved.
“The master degree course has meant a lot to my workplace, the Snellman College.”
I have been working for 25 years in Steiner Teacher Education at Snellman College. From 2005 to 2007, I attended the first Master Degree Course group at RSUC, and it was a life-changing experience for me personally and professionally.
The master degree course has meant a lot to my workplace, the Snellman College. It opened up new important ways of development: A) the improvements in the institutional level by developing a research and evaluation culture, B) supporting the long-term plan to develop staff competence, and C) strengthening the dialogue between Steiner Waldorf institutions and public Universities.
Some years after my graduation, I applied to undertake PhD-studies at the University of Tampere, and now I am in the final phase of my PhD. Both as a master and PhD-student I have taken part in research conferences, for example in the FERA Conferences on Education (FERA, The Finnish Educational Research Association).
I think research is an important element in professional Waldorf teacher education. I also think that Steiner’s philosophy and Waldorf educational philosophy can be fruitfully studied in relation to current academic educational topics. Through research, I believe, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of those ideas and bring them forth. Waldorf education can in this way take part in academic discussions in national and international forums, and new knowledge can be shaped and shared.
“My biggest gain from the RSUC Master-program was the critical-reading that I learned there.”
I attended the master-program in 2012-2015 with the intention to develop my academic writing und thinking. I had earlier studied to bachelor in Kindergarten-pedagogics also at RSUC. Since the master-program was part-time, I could easily remain in my position as Kindergarten-teacher in Oslo.
I really enjoyed the first-year lectures concerning the philosophical aspects/questions of education, of learning and teaching, and I also appreciated the time that was set of for morning-reflections (this took place in groups) and reflective-writing (individual work).
The biggest challenges was to adapt my mind to an academic style of reading, that demanded great stamina, structured and critical thinking, which in sum later lead to a new way of writing that was, to a certain degree, new and unfamiliar to me.
The amount of work at the master-program was not overwhelming, as long as it did not come in the way of my preparations in the Kindergarten (that happened, of course!).
My biggest gain from the RSUC Master-program was the critical-reading that I learned there. I have also developed an appetite for academic knowledge, which keeps me updated on several of the pedagogical/scientific journals that I got to know during work with the master-thesis.
I am grateful, however, now that I find time again to read the novelists and poets that I missed during my studies for the masters-degree.
“The mentors brought out the best in me, and talents that I knew not I possessed.”
The master programme and RSUC is a life-time experience for me. To be interested in Waldorf education and to be trained by people who have worked all their life in anthroposophy and pedagogical roles was an energising experience. The mentors brought out the best in me, and talents that I knew not I possessed. They were revealed to me. It helped me to take this knowledge into my job as a teacher in the developmental programmes for the school. Today I spend my time in teacher training. The Sloka Waldorf school in Hyderabad, where I work, has started a teacher training programme. The self-directed learning and research skills I was exposed to in our course at RSUC has made me better at having insights into designing and developing teacher training programmes for my school.
The co- students I interacted with were from different branches of Waldorf education and the seemingly casual conversations have given me a multi faceted learning opportunity. Good food, lovely surroundings, plenty of lively conversations and friendship- what else could one ask for?.
“The RSUC team came with clear demands, but also did their best to support us professionally throughout the whole study.”
When I was 39 years old, I worked as development consult and personal manager in the anthroposophical curative educational institution Helgeseter in Norway. Unfortunately, I was born with an analytical orientation, never satisfied, always asking why, always looking for improvements of organizational structure, leadership and pedagogical practice. At that time, I considered that a master degree might improve my professional abilities. The motivation was to gain competence, do a better job for my institution and in a lager perspective work for the Rudolf Steiner institutions future sustainability.
In September 2010, I began my studies at the RSUC Master programme, and it was quite a steep learning curve. At first, my high school English where embarrassingly bad. Secondly, it was 18 years since my last university study. Luckily, I was not the only one among the students with this lack of academically self-confidence. The RSUC team came with clear demands, but also did their best to support us professionally throughout the whole study. They also convinced us that we would and could manage it, and in fact, most of us did.
My final master thesis gave me the opportunity to focus deeply at one specific area of my interests; value based leadership in Waldorf schools. However, more importantly: I learned the basic research methodology, how to assemble knowledge and handle questions and problems in a qualified way. Through this master programme, I have learned some basic academic principles that are useful also outside the chosen subject of my master thesis.
The RSUC Master study has opened my horizons and increased my professional opportunities. I’m now working with education, leadership and development at Marjatta Education and Development Centre in Denmark. I will highly recommend the RSUC master programme to people who want to gain academic research competence and through this contribute to improvements in their field of practice.
“I was inspired by the focus on each particular practitioner and by the way our teachers encouraged us to develop as individuals and as professionals.”
It is with appreciation and great respect that I am writing this feedback piece on the Masters course that I completed at the Rudolf Steiner University College. The course was a unique opportunity for me to learn about the various approaches to education throughout the world. I had a chance to exchange views and share experiences from people who live and work in different countries. This really broadened my horizons and helped me become part of something that can be called ‘a global mind’.
The course helped me gain new competencies and helped me create an international network of like-minded people to whom I can turn for help. This gave me the confidence that has helped me to set up and develop the day-centre Blagoe delo for people with mental and physical disabilities. Blagoe delo still remains an unprecedented initiative for my country.
I was inspired by the focus on each particular practitioner and by the way our teachers encouraged us to develop as individuals and as professionals. It boosted my skills like no other course I had taken before.
One of the long-term effects of my studies has been the understanding that my colleagues and I have enough will and energy to make the next step in the development of the ‘Congress-movement’ and to conceive, organize and promote an event of a really global scale that will, as we hope, have a really global impact – the first World Congress for Persons with Disabilities that will be hosted in the main city of my region, Ekaterinburg, on 7-10 September 2017.
“I can proudly say that being part of the RSUC master programme was the best choice I could ever have made to propel my research career in education.”
Tayo Paul Adenusi
Nigeria and Ireland
Looking back on my experience as a student on the RSUC master programme, I can proudly say that being part of the RSUC master programme was the best choice I could ever have made to propel my research career in education. The programme is uniquely designed to support the needs of upcoming researchers as they explore the endless possibilities of research in their individual areas of interests within the broad field of both Waldorf and mainstream educational research. The holistic approach to postgraduate education, the unique study environment, the excellent student-staff relationship, and the diverse range of students the RSUC master programme attracts from across the globe makes the programme exceptional.
“The modules were well structured in equipping me to develop well-rounded practical skills such as presenting, working in a team, gaining new skills, dealing with case studies as well as analysing.”
Studying at RSUC has been one of the most important thing that has happened in my entire academic career. As a matter of fact, RSUC has paved a way for future endeavours and a solid foundation in my research skills thus a good preparation for a PhD. Studying at RSUC also gave me the opportunity to meet people from various countries ad cultures thus making it unique in its own approach.
Furthermore, its courses and lecturers have been a source of motivation and its in-depth study in each of the courses fully gave me a broad understanding on educational knowledge.
In a nutshell, my time at RSUC has enriched my life in many ways. It has also provided me with the necessary tools to enhance my skills more, taught me valuable knowledge about this diverse world and people and concepts in general and eventually will enable me to hopefully become more successful in life.
What my master studies have meant to me afterwards: At the beginning of my master study at RSUC, I was a little bit relaxed over the program because I was freshly coming from another master program I had just completed. However, little did I know that this same program would be the one to mark a turning point in my future and professional life. The modules were well structured in equipping me to develop well-rounded practical skills such as presenting, working in a team, gaining new skills, dealing with case studies as well as analysing. The different modules for each year exposed me to various concepts about research with a practical element as we were assessed (assignments, group work, research, and presentations) in ways that ensured we could apply what we were learning.
Being a Former Master Student at RSUC has contributed immensely to my entire life academically, socially and economic achievements. The program has made a great development in my academic life.
“…the warm supportive environment in which these capacities could be nurtured alongside the rigorous discipline of the faculty.”
The experience of doing my masters at RSUC has opened up my capacity to structure my thoughts and writing more coherently and intensify my capacity for educational research.
As I write my second book in the field of therapeutic education, I am aware that this is only possible because of the warm supportive environment in which these capacities could be nurtured alongside the rigorous discipline of the faculty.
I am also grateful to have developed an international network of friends and colleagues through the generosity of the Norwegian government’s educational policy.
“The program gave me an opportunity to reflect on my job as a pre-school teacher and studying different ideas about it.”
Iran and Norway
Imagine yourself waking up to a fairy tale landscape with a group of people from different countries, preparing breakfast together, morning chat and continuing the day with creative lessons and interesting assignments, eating ecological food and enjoying the rest of evening in peace, talking and sharing ideas with your international friends and teachers!
This is exactly what is going on in Vidaråsen where RSUC’s students doing their master programme.
RSUC and people I met within it will be forever something special in my heart, something really unforgettable.
The program gave me an opportunity to reflect on my job as a pre-school teacher and studying different ideas about it. I am still doing the same job after finishing my master program but absolutely in a very different way and level.
“Above all, doing academic research sharpens the mind.”
I have been a Waldorf schoolteacher for sixteen years. In 2012, it became clear, that the local government would pass legislation, which will require all teachers in the country to have attained, by a certain date, a compulsory level of qualification, specifically a master degree in teaching or education. In order to continue doing what I love, I resolved to enter into the appropriate tertiary study. I was looking for a rather specific programme, which would not only further expand my command of the subject, but also deepen my understanding of Waldorf education. I had also hoped to gain qualification which would enable me to participate in setting up a tertiary Waldorf educational programme in my country, as there was at the time and still exists today a dire need for qualified Waldorf teachers. This I found in the shape of Norwegian RSUC master programme in Waldorf education.
The several weeks long face time of the three-year study took place in a beautiful setting of Norwegian Camphill community Vidaraasen Landsby. The weeks spent there, surrounded by tranquil nature, away from my school and family, may best be described as an intensive process of expanding thinking and knowledge through, lectures, reading, discussions, writing and frequent informal conversations with teachers and fellow students. People in my year group came from very different professional and cultural backgrounds and yet we managed to tune in quite fast. We learnt about educational thinkers, Rudolf Steiner among them, their striving, their ideas, methods of research, observation and analysis; shortly, we were given both food for thought and tools to use later in our own attempt to discover truth, expand understanding or shed light at a subject of our choice.
There is something exquisitely unique in freeing oneself from daily routines and applying one’s mind in attempt to comprehend often very complex ideas of educational thinkers. In the evenings between reading and writing, we watched interesting movies, formed a little band, danced, cooked and entertained ourselves with quality time. The final work on master thesis brought together all the knowledge and skills we had learnt and forced us to apply them in real and publishable piece of research.
The RSUC master programme undoubtedly means many things to many people. For me it meant freeing my thinking from the constraints of several Waldorf seminars and programmes I had experienced, at which the personality of Rudolf Steiner inevitably towered over all other thinkers. I discovered through doing research, that there are others, who, with brilliant clarity of thought have much to say. Above all, doing academic research sharpens the mind in a way that can only be compared to prolonged practice of advanced mathematics.