Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2

Foundations of Waldorf Education

Book 14
SteinerBooks
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12 lectures, various cities, November 19, 1922-August 30, 1924 (CW 218)

By the time of this second collection of Steiner's public lectures on Waldorf education, the Waldorf school movement was gaining increasing recognition. In this collection, as in the previous volume, Steiner is outspoken about the spiritual nature of human beings and the world, including the spiritual nature of Waldorf education.

Topics include:

  • Education and Teaching
  • The Art of Teaching from an Understanding of the Human Being
  • Education and Art
  • Education and the Moral Life
  • Introduction to a Eurythmy Performance
  • Why Base Education on Anthroposophy?
  • Waldorf Pedagogy
  • Anthroposophy and Education
  • Moral and Physical Education
  • Educational Issues

Original book: Geistige Zusammenhänge in der Gestaltung des Menschlichen Organismus, vol. 218 of the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner,

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These dazzling, radical lectures were given one month before the opening of the first Waldorf School--following two years of intense preoccupation with the social situation in Germany as World War I ended and society sought to rebuild itself.

Well aware of the dangerous tendencies present in modern culture that undermine a true social life--such as psychic torpor and boredom, universal mechanization, and a growing cynicism--Steiner recognized that any solution must address not only economic and legal issues but also that of a free spiritual life.

Steiner also saw the need to properly nurture in children the virtues of imitation, reverence, and love at the appropriate stages of development in order to create mature adults who are inwardly prepared to fulfill the demands of a truly healthy society--adults who are able to assume the responsibilities of freedom, equality, and brotherhood.

Relating these themes to an understanding of the human as a threefold being of thought, feeling, and volition, and against the background of historical forces at work in human consciousness, Steiner lays the ground for a profound revolution in the ways we think about education.

Also included here are three lectures on the social basis of education, a lecture to public school teachers, and a lecture to the workers of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company, after which they asked him to form a school for their children.

German sources: Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage (GA 296); lectures 4, 5, and 6, the "Volkspädagogik" lectures in Geisteswissenschaftliche Behandlung sozialer und pädagogischer Fragen (GA 192); lectures 2 and 11, Neugestaltung des sozialen Organismus (GA 330-331).

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Publisher
SteinerBooks
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Published on
Dec 31, 1996
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Pages
243
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ISBN
9780880103886
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / History
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These talks were given in 1923--three and a half years after the founding of the first Waldorf school--to an audience of Swiss school teachers, most of whom have little knowledge of anthroposophy. This is the context of these lectures, among Steiner's most accessible on education.

A teacher who attended the lectures wrote in the Berne School Paper:

Every morning, as we listened anew to Dr. Steiner, we felt we had come closer to him and understood better what he had to say and how he had to say it. Daily, we newcomers gathered, asking ourselves, "Why are more of our colleagues not here? It is untrue that anthroposophy limits a person, develops blinkers, or avoids real life.... For, step-by-step, Dr. Steiner shows its application to life ... illuminating the details, disclosing their connection with profound questions of life and existence." I came to the conference to stimulate my school work. I found benefit in abundance. But also, I unexpectedly received a greater richness for heart and soul--and, from this in turn shall stream richness for my classes.

In other words, these lectures are ideal for anyone first approaching Waldorf education. Using language that any teacher or parent can understand, Steiner goes into the essentials of his educational philosophy, providing many examples and anecdotes to convey his meaning. In this way, against the background of the developing child, he allows the curriculum and the method of teaching to emerge as the commonsense conclusion of practical experience.

German source: Die pädagogisch Praxis vom Geichtspunkte geisteswissenschaftlicher Menschenerkenntnis (GA 306).

5 lectures, Bern, April 13-17, 1924 (CW 309)

These lectures on Waldorf education were given as a course during Easter week, 1924, in Bern. Although these talks were given more than eighty years ago, they remain remarkably contemporary. Every word still resonates with passion and dedication to the human adventure.

"We must develop an art of education that can lead us out of the social chaos into which we have fallen during the last few years and decades.... There is no escaping this chaos unless we can find a way to bring spirituality into human souls through education, so that human beings may find a way to progress and to further the evolution of civilization out of the spirit itself."
--Rudolf Steiner

At the time of these lectures, Steiner had only eleven months left to live in this world. The first Waldorf school had been established five years earlier, and the intervening period witnessed Steiner's tireless activity in every area of that school's life. Now it was, in a sense, time to bring the ripe fruit of this work to the public.

Together with its companion course The Essentials of Education, presented three days earlier, this book provides a stimulating synthesis of the Waldorf approach to education. Teachers, parents, and anyone interested in education will discover the fundamental characteristics of a new art of education.

The lectures:

Lecture 1: A new education requires a new knowledge of the whole human being in body, soul, and spirit. The change of teeth signals the end of the first stage of childhood. Soul and spirit descend into a body provided by inheritance, which is used as the model for the "second" human being. During the first stage the child is a sense organ that perceives moral influences. The influence of the teacher's temperament. Lecture 2: The goal of Waldorf education is to reveal new methods of teaching. The power of spiritual perception for understanding children and adults. Sleeping and waking. The seasons reflected in the human being. Thinking as an etheric "grasping." Materialistic ideas and insomnia. Psychic influences and physical effects. Lecture 3. Memory before and after the change of teeth. The physical and etheric bodies. The etheric body and sculpting. The astral body and music. The I-being and speech. The musical scale and the human body. The teacher as therapist. Doctors and the school. Teaching letters. Lecture 4. The sense organization and moral development at the change of teeth. Mathematics begins with the whole. The child's natural religious impulse. The need for images after seven. The need to feel a connection with destiny after fourteen. The child's relationship with the world. Lecture 5. The three divisions of the middle stage of childhood. Nature and history. Children after puberty go into life. The experience of immortality. Punishment. Reading the child. The need for a living experience of one another today. Moon and Sun forces in the plant world. Spiritual science reveals the unity of the human being with the world.

These lectures are contained in the German Anthroposophische Pädagogik und ihre Voraussetzungen (GA 309), published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland.

10 lectures, Oosterbeek, The Netherlands, July 17-24, 1924 (CW 310)

The underlying thesis of these lectures, volume 20 in the "Foundations of Waldorf Education" series, is that true education must be based on knowledge of the whole human being and that such knowledge cannot be attained without love. On this basis, Steiner presents his understanding of every aspect of child development--bodily, psychological, and spiritual. At the same time, he shows that, to prove worthy of their calling, teachers must begin a process of inner development. In Steiner's view, it is human beings who give value and meaning to the world. Modern education, however, is gradually undermining this meaning. These lectures demonstrate that education can heal that lack of meaning and restore the meaning of humankind for the world.

Steiner also discusses the practical, day-to-day operation of the school. He talks about styles of teaching, teacher conferences, parent-teacher meetings, and how Waldorf education is related to the anthroposophic movement.

This book, while serving as a good introduction to Steiner's ideas on education, also represents the fruits of four years experience in the Waldorf school.

Lectures:

The Need for Understanding the Human Being Incarnation of the Human Being in a Physical Body Walking, Speaking, Thinking The Three Stages of Childhood Teachers' Conferences in the Waldorf School Parent-Teacher Meetings The Temperaments and the Human Organism Diet and the Four Temperaments Styles of Education Education and the Anthroposophic Movement
German source: Der pädagogisch Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik (CW 310).
This is one of the most popular classic translations of Steiner's foundational guide to the spiritual path. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment is a manual for attaining suprasensory knowledge of the invisible and opens new perspectives on one's essential purpose in life.

In 1904, Rudolf Steiner first made this account of the Western esoteric path of initiation public. With great precision, he carefully leads us from the cultivation of the fundamental soul attitudes of reverence and inner tranquility to inner development through the stages of preparation, illumination, and initiation. Practical exercises in inner and outer observation and moral development are given. By patiently and persistently following these, new organs of soul and spirit begin to form that reveal the contours of the higher worlds hitherto concealed from us.

"The methods by which a student is prepared for the reception of higher knowledge are minutely prescribed. The direction he is to take is traced with unfading, everlasting letters in the worlds of the spirit where the initiates guard the higher secrets. In ancient times, anterior to our history, the temples of the spirit were also outwardly visible; today, because our life has become so unspiritual, they are not to be found in the world visible to external sight; yet they are present spiritually everywhere, and all who seek may find them."

Contents:

How is Knowledge of the Higher Worlds Attained? The Stages of Initiation: Enlightenment; Preparation; The Control of Thoughts and Feelings Initiation Some Practical Aspects The Conditions of Esoteric Training Some Results of Initiation The Transformation of Dream Life The Continuity of Consciousness The Splitting of the Human Personality during Spiritual Training The Guardian of the Threshold Life and Death: The Greater Guardian of the Threshold Appendix

"Not everyone can immediately achieve spiritual vision; but the discoveries of those who have it can be health-giving life nourishment for all. The results of supersensible knowledge, when properly employed in life, prove to be not impractical, but rather, practical in the highest sense....

"The acquisition of higher knowledge is not the end, but the means to an end; the end consists in the attainment, thanks to this knowledge, of greater and truer self-confidence, a higher degree of courage, and a magnanimity and perseverance such as cannot, as a rule, be acquired in the lower world....

"The student places all the higher knowledge he has acquired at the service of humanity." --Rudolf Steiner

“Every teacher, every student of history, every citizen should read this book. It is both a refreshing antidote to what has passed for history in our educational system and a one-volume education in itself.”
—Howard Zinn

A new edition of the national bestseller and American Book Award winner, with a new preface by the author

Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important—and successful—history books of our time. Having sold nearly two million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and was heralded on the front page of the New York Times.

For this new edition, Loewen has added a new preface that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems, and calls out academic historians for abandoning the concept of truth in a misguided effort to be “objective.”

What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls “an extremely convincing plea for truth in education.” In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen brings history alive in all its complexity and ambiguity. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should—and could—be taught to American students.

For centuries, the tradition of the "mystical chronology" of the world's seven archangelic regents has been part of Western esoteric teaching. According to this tradition, 1879 marked the return of the solar spirit Michael--the archangel of the Sun--to oversee earthly evolution. Steiner always placed his life and work in the service of Michael's evolutionary task. And he recognized that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, humanity emerged from the Kali Yuga--the Dark Age--and entered the Age of Light.

Against this background, Steiner described the ascent of Michael as cosmic ruler, his battle with the "dragon" of the spirits of darkness, and his roles as the countenance of Christ and the guardian of cosmic intelligence. He also gave many profound indications of how Michael's evolutionary task depends on the free and independent collaboration of human coworkers. Speaking on behalf of Michael, Steiner laid out the essentials for a new Michaelic path to full humanity.

Among the elements of this path are the development of selfless individuality; cosmopolitanism; the practice of the presence of Christ; fearlessness; the transformation of thinking and perception in a new synthesis of science, art, and religion; the spiritualization of space; and the separation of thought from language.

The Archangel Michael gathers most of Steiner's statements on this subject, making it an important source for coming to terms with today's political, social, psychological, and spiritual crises.

Read Bobby Matherne's review of this book
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