We will not reach our goal with beautiful slogans

It is true that there are often wonderful ground principles mentioned regarding pedagogy. For example, it is rightly said: Yes, in education there are such principles as “one should not cram things into the children from outside; one should let that what one wants them to acquire come out of their own talents and capabilities.” Very true, an excellent basic rule – but abstract and theoretical. And thus we see that by far the majority of our practical life is based on abstractions, is born out of theoretical programs. Because what one really needs in order to be able to draw forth from the individuality that which the child needs to develop, is true knowledge of the human being. Human insight which enters into the depths of the being of man. However such knowledge the science available to modern civilization, despite her great triumphs, does not have.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 51)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 6, 2016

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Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have insight into the being of man

What does one really gain through this spiritual science as I now sketched in broad outline? Above all one gains true knowledge of the human being. Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have genuine insight into the being of man. [….] And a true pedagogical art, a true art of education can only be born out of true human knowledge.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 49-50)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 5, 2016

Catastrophic times

I pointed out (in the lecture of 19 February in Amsterdam) that these supersensible abilities are acquired only when the human being develops certain potential powers in his soul. In the wider civilised society of today, people do not want to know about these abilities. Nonetheless, we owe the catastrophic circumstances of our times exactly to this refusal to want to recognize anything about these skills.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam,  28th February 1921 (p. 45)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 4, 2016

The pupil can sometimes be more brilliant than the teacher

As a teacher, one has a variety of individualities before one, and one should not stand in front of the class with the feeling: The way I am, is the way these pupils should all become through my teaching and education. This is how one should absolutely not feel. Why not? Now there could be, if we are lucky, among the students that we have in our class, apart from those who are not very clever, two or three who may be exceptionally talented. And you will have to admit that it is not possible to have only geniuses for teachers and that in fact it will not infrequently occur that the teacher does not have the capacities that those they are teaching and educating will perhaps develop in the future. But the teacher does not only need to teach those who have the same capacities as he has himself, he must also educate and teach those who are far more talented and would surpass him in time. However, he will only be able to do this if he does not try to educate the pupils as if they should become similar to what he is himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 306 – Pädagogische Praxis – Dornach, April 20, 1923 (p. 130-131)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 3, 2016

Example and imitation

In the first period of life, from the first to the seventh year the child is mainly an imitating being. But we have to understand this in the broadest sense of the word. […] In relation to these things people sometimes ask for advice at one or the other event.

So, for example, a father once complained to me about his five-year-old child. ‘What did this five-year-old child do? ‘ I asked. ‘It stole ‘, said the father unhappily. I told him: ‘Then one must first consider how the theft actually took place.’  Then he told me, that the child had not actually stolen out of wickedness. He had taken money from the drawer of his mother and purchased sweets. Afterwards he divided the sweets among the children in the street. So it was not bare selfishness.

What actually took place then? Now, every day the child sees the mother take money from the drawer. At the age of five years the child is an imitator. It did not steal; it simply did what he had seen his mother do daily, because the child instinctively considers what the mother does as right. – This is a typical example of the subtleties which one should be aware of when one wants to educate in accordance with the true being of man.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Utrecht, 24th February 1921 (p. 19-20)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 30, 2016