There are a some interesting things about Claus-Peter Röh’s lectures at an american waldorf teacher training center (the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training). Claus-Peter Röh is a leader of the pedagogical section at the Goetheanum in Dornach. I’m going to subject the text to a rather crude — even impudent, I admit — treatment. I’ve simply picked out the sentences or passages I think you ought to pay particular attention to while reading the summaries of the lectures.
The first graders live strongly in their will forces. […] Growing up is a gradual process of moving from doing, where the young child lives in their surroundings, to the thinking realm where the young adult lives largely in the head. […] Nowadays, children are waking up and are being called upon to use their head forces too early. This can lead to imbalance and rigidity. […] Our astral body is much better at sensing and exploring an impression, of having a correct feel for it. […] The teacher must then use the curriculum to bring about the balance between the ego and the body. […] Forces of soul cultivated early on transform into forces of cognition in later years. […] Rudolf Steiner indicated that it was our task as teachers to develop the limb man and part of the chest man and then let them awaken the other part of the chest and the head. […] In the case of his example, Claus-Peter’s students were too deep in their limbs and needed awaken the chest through music and speech before they could work from the head in language class. […] The teacher who radiates this care for the child is not judgmental but interested in seeing the child as a spirit force that comes to the teacher for higher reasons. The teacher does not fixate upon pushing the children to have success, but rather seeks to appreciate the mystery of this spirit force that the child bears. […] Claus-Peter spoke about how daily meditation can help us reach deeper levels in our teaching, allowing us really to see the children. We strive to reach beyond our conscious mind, into the realm of living pictures, and even beyond that to the realm of will, so that we will be able to follow through and actually carry out our ideas and plans for teaching.
I wish I could comment on everything, but just a few things then. The spirit force has to do with reincarnation; the higher reasons have to do with karma. Lots of what he says has to do with how human development during childhood appears in an anthroposophical perspective, the unfolding of the ether body, the astral body, the 7-year cycles, will for the 7-year old, head for the child of over 14, et c. This ‘determines’ what they’re thought capable of emotionally, academically and intellectually. For anyone reading the summaries of Röh’s lectures the notion that anthroposophy is not deeply ingrained in waldorf education becomes ludicrous. Also anyone will notice that anthroposophical ideas and concept are presented as though they were factual. One question: what method would you use to refute the astral body’s ability to sense and explore an impression? Is it even possible? And what conclusions can we draw if it turns out it is actually not possible to dispute this supposed fact scientifically? (Perhaps: that we’re talking about belief, and that, thus. waldorf teacher training needs a lot more imput from scientific theories about the human being, the development of the child and from research on education in general.)