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.