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Morphology For Educators

September 27, 2016 - By 

By guest: Dr. Peter Reznik

Morphology for educators.

Morphology (in Europe it is mostly knows as physiognomy or psycho- physiognomy) is the study of the correspondence between the form of the face and body and the inner qualities of personality and temperament. It provides understanding of the ways in which people think, their energy system, their emotional responses, and the reasons for their behavior.
People of different cultures recognized the great importance of understanding of meaning that stands behind the appearance, and over millennia they developed their unique ways of systematizing, organizing, and teaching this body of knowledge. The ancient Aryuvedic tradition in India has developed 3 body-type morphology (though the word morphology is used for Western system only); the Chinese tradition has developed morphology of 5 Elements, and the roots of morphology that has been utilized in the West go back to ancient Egypt.
Today France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and China include it in formal medical training and clinical diagnosis. Personnel directors of major companies in Europe use morphology to determine the best fit of an applicant with a position, and educators use morphology to better understand the needs and challenges of their students.
One of the most successful alternative educational systems in the world with over a thousand independent schools located in 60 countries, Waldorf School requires it’s teachers to study and utilize in their work the science of morphology (See attached page on Waldorf education).
Practical Application of Morphology for Educators.
Morphological assessment identifies the students’ character strengths and challenges, any significant conflicts that exist within their relationship with themselves, others, and their environment, and the ways that would be most effective, according to their morphological type, to resolve problem areas.
Knowing the students’ morphological type can help the teacher quickly identify the unique approach each student requires for optimal learning. As the educators recognize their own morphological type, they are able to better understand the challenges they may face in teaching as well as in connecting with each individual student.
Waldorf education

Waldorf (Steiner) education is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The first Waldorf School was founded in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. At present there are 1,026 independent Waldorf schools, 2,000 kindergartens and 646 centers for special education, located in 60 countries.
Waldorf pedagogy distinguishes three broad stages in child development, each lasting approximately seven years. The early years education focuses on providing practical, hands-on activities and environments that encourage creative play. Throughout, the approach stresses the role of the imagination in learning and places a strong value on integrating academic, practical and artistic pursuits.
Waldorf education is the largest independent alternative education movement in the world. In central Europe, where most of the schools are located, the Waldorf approach has achieved general acceptance as a model of alternative education.

Four temperaments
Steiner considered children’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral development to be interlinked. When students in a Waldorf school are grouped, it is generally not by a singular focus on their academic abilities.
Instead Steiner adapted the idea of the classic four temperaments – melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric – for pedagogical use in the elementary years. Steiner indicated that teaching should be differentiated to accommodate the different needs that these psychophysical types represent. For example, “cholerics are risk takers, phlegmatics take things calmly, melancholies are sensitive or introverted, and sanguines take things lightly or flippantly.”
Today Waldorf teachers may work with the notion of temperaments to differentiate their instruction. Seating arrangements and class activities may be planned taking into account the temperaments of the students but this is often not readily apparent to observers.
Steiner also believed that teachers must consider their own temperament and be prepared to work with it positively in the classroom, that temperament is emergent in children, and that most people will reveal a combination of temperaments rather than a pure single type.


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