education in the age of michael (on a speech by dorit winter)

Dorit Winter, waldorf teacher who is training other waldorf teachers, held a speech at some conference, and the notes for the speech have been published by an american center for waldorf teacher training. The quote above is from this document, which shows quite clearly the importance of anthroposophy for waldorf education, and not only the kind of anthroposophy outwardly manifested (exoteric) — not only all those ‘decorations’ that often draw people to waldorf education — but the anthroposophy of waldorf teachers practicing it as esotericists. The esotericist is a person who has become an adult, while on the other hand people who are conventional thinkers (among them, of course, non-anthroposophists) are still children, in a sense; this, I think, sums up what she says. I’m not going to elaborate on this, but she tries to explain what all of this might entail.

She also talks about the incarnating child and about karma. She quotes Steiner on how it’s torture for the soul to learn to read and write at six or seven, yet concedes (it seems, I’m not sure) that children must learn. ‘Karmic fulfillment’, she says, ‘is the true goal of Waldorf education’, and it is the task of education and of the teachers to help a process of incarnation that enhances the prospects the child has of achieving this karmic fulfillment. The wrong education causes scleroticism, hardening. The teachers cannot themselves be sclerotic, or they will be incapable of providing the right kind of education. The antidote, of course, is the esoteric path; it is, for the teacher, to become the right kind of anthroposophist.

I recommend that you read the document. I think it casts doubt (once more) on waldorf education practiced only outwardly — it casts doubt on all those who insist that anthroposophy is not so important for waldorf education. (Something people seem prone to insist when it comes to attracting non-anthroposophist adherents or obtaining public funding.) One could also question whether waldorf teachers who say anthroposophy is not very important to them can ever be good waldorf teachers — in the truest sense. They can go through the motions, as it were, practicing the outward aspects of waldorf education, but basically they’re just teachers working with anthroposophical adornments, while remaining estranged from the essence of what waldorf is. I’m not sure that’s something to be favoured. Especially not as such an attitude sometimes seems to arise from ignorance or indifference. And at other times can function as a cover for deception.


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