world teachers’ conference 2012

At the Goetheanum in April. The theme this time:

Rudolf Steiner‘s art of education was meant to serve the whole world, not just a single continent or country. That said, the question must be asked: What is it about this educational method that is universal?
Universal in this education is that an I, or a person, or a Self wants identify itself with an inherited body. Only with reverence can we meet this fact. How this I finds its way to the available body, finds a relationship to it, a feeling of being home in it, depends in great measure on education.
The life-long efficacy of Steiner‘s art of education lies in the fact that a right relationship between body and soul, between body and the individuality, can be established.
By means of the how and the what of education, the individuality can adjust its hold on the body, thereby bringing about a healthy, dynamic relationship between the body and the individuality. If the body dominates, this relationship can become too tight; if the relationship is too loose, a lack of purpose may result.
During this conference we hope to develop and describe the pedagogical techniques by means of which a balanced, individual relationship can be established. Such a technique can be described; it is part of the ‹musicalsculptural› study of human being. As Rudolf Steiner told the first group of Waldorf teachers, «the task of education, conceived in the spiritual sense, is to bring the Soul-Spirit into harmony with Life-Body.» [Link.]

Amazing stuff, no doubt. The reincarnating I of the child needs to ‘get into’ the physical body. The outcome of this process is not just influenced by education; it’s dependent on it. Ponder for a second in which place this — if you believe it — puts the school and the teacher in the life if the child. Ponder the impact. As Diana has pointed out several times — I often wish locating older comments were much simpler… –, for parents who actually believe these things can and do happen, waldorf education ought to be even more frightening than for those parents who reject these ideas but choose waldorf for some other reason.

What is told about the ‘live-long efficacy’ means, of course, that Steiner education’s ‘real’ success can’t be measured by the usual tests; indeed it must be immeasurable. Actually, it may not be obvious until the child — sorry, the reincarnating spirit’s — next life. I wonder, because I don’t know, what its efficacy has been on me. All this talk about ‘individuality’ is quite ironic, given how little space there was in waldorf for the individual to be… individual. But — I know. It’s just the word. It means something else — a reincarnating spirit. Yet, the irony often strikes me when I see the word used in that context, in this other, anthroposophical way.

I’m not sure what the ‘musicalsculptural’ study of the human being is, but I recommend all education enthusiasts to read Steiner’s Study of Man, which is an essential collection of lectures on the human being; these lectures were given to teachers and thus especially aimed at being used for pedagogical purposes. It is also useful to ponder Steiner’s statement about the task of education. It is a different task than most schools set themselves.

As for the program, Jost Schieren will talk about ‘The Incarnation of the I from a Teacher Training Perspective’. There’s more, of course. Look for yourselves.

3 thoughts on “world teachers’ conference 2012

  1. I don’t know how Waldorf Steiner schools can possibly be considered anything other than Faith Schools, when their whole ethos is based on the ‘soul’.
    I am sure many prospective parents think they are opting out of anything so conventional as a Faith School, and indeed may even be selecting a Waldorf education for this reason.
    Although the hierarchy are happy to refer to the soul at the teachers conference, by the time the terminology filters down to school level it has been replaced by the word ‘individuality’.

  2. Here’s the SWSF announcing in June:

    ‘SWSF has been working closely with Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) on two exciting new projects: the development of a route by which experienced Steiner Waldorf teachers can gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and also the launch of a new Masters programme leading to MA Education (Steiner Waldorf).’

    We discussed this MA here on Alicia’s blog last year. And we know that the Steiner movement wants its teachers accepted as trained teachers, even after it has lost recognition from both Stockholm University and the University of Plymouth. No reputable university should entertain this nonsense.

  3. This will perhaps only excite the swedish readers, but we’re promised a report from this conference:

    It’s worth reminding people about this, because the conference is soon — and it’s really worth it to read the conference description (that I also quoted in my post above) if you haven’t already:

    Compulsory reading for anyone who thinks waldorf can be separated from anthroposophy.

    Edit: … or that anthroposophy is not all that important.

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