Steiner as an educator and home teacher (2 of 3)

This educational task became to me the source from which I myself learned very much. Through the method of instruction which I had to apply there was laid open to my view the association between the spiritual-mental and the bodily in man. Then I went through my real course of study in physiology and psychology. I became aware that teaching and instructing must become an art having its foundation in a genuine understanding of man. I had to follow out with great care an economic principle. I frequently had to spend two hours in preparing for half an hour of instruction in order to get the material for instruction in such a form that in the least time, and with the least strain upon the mental and physical powers of the child, I might reach his highest capacity for achievement. The order of the subjects of instruction had to be carefully considered; the division of the entire day into periods had to be properly determined. I had the satisfaction of seeing the child in the course of two years accomplish the work of the Volkschule, and successfully pass the examination for entrance to the Gymnasium. Moreover, his physical condition had materially improved. The hydrocephalic condition was markedly diminishing. I was able to advise the parents to send the child to a public school. It seemed to me necessary that he should find his vital development in company with other children. I continued to be a tutor for several years in the family, and gave special attention to this boy, who was always guided to make his way through the school in such a way that his home activities should be carried through in the spirit in which they were begun. I then had the inducement, in the way I have already mentioned, to increase my knowledge of Latin and Greek, for I was responsible for the tutoring of this boy and another in this family for the Gymnasium lessons.

I must needs feel grateful to Fate for having brought me into such a life relationship. For through this means I developed in vital fashion a knowledge of the being of man which I do not believe could have been developed by me so vitally in any other way. Moreover, I was taken into the family in an extraordinarily affectionate way; we came to live a beautiful life in common. The father of these boys was a sales-agent for Indian and American cotton. I was thus able to get a glimpse of the working of business, and of much that is connected with this. Moreover, through this I learned a great deal. I had an inside view of the conduct of a branch of an unusually interesting import business, and could observe the intercourse between business friends and the interlinking of many commercial and industrial activities.

To be continued


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

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Otto, Richard and Arthur Specht

Previously posted on April 29, 2018

A devastated Europe

Those people today who receive impulses from the spiritual world, who know about the truths and the knowledge that must enter into human evolution, know the following also: If what we call science, and especially what we call art, is not fructified by the science of initiation practiced by such people, humanity will face a quick decline, a fearful decline. Let the kind of teaching that prevails in our universities continue for another three decades, let social questions be treated as they are now for thirty years more, and you will have a devastated Europe. You can set up ideals in this field or that as much as you please, you can talk yourselves hoarse about individual demands coming from one group or another, you can talk in the belief that with such urgent demands something will be done for humanity’s future — it will all be in vain unless the transformation comes from the depths of human souls, from the thought of the relation of this world to the spiritual world. If in this regard there is not a change in learning, a change in thinking, then the moral deluge will overwhelm Europe!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture III – Dornach, December 14, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

savage-continent
In his latest book, Savage Continent, Keith Lowe takes a look at Europe in the years directly following World War II.

Previously posted on April 12, 2018

Fundamental error

It is our task in the study of method always to engage the whole individual. We could not do this without focussing our attention on the development of an artistic feeling with which the individual is endowed. This will also dispose the individual later to take an interest in the whole world as far as his nature permits. The fundamental error until now has always been that people have set themselves up in the world with nothing but their heads; they have at the most dragged the rest of their bodies after them. And the result is that the other parts now follow the lead of their animal impulses and live themselves out emotionally — as we are experiencing just now in the very curious wave of emotionalism which has spread from East Europe. This has occurred because the whole individual has not been cultivated. But it is not only that the artistic element must be cultivated, too, but the whole of our teaching must be drawn from the artistic element. All method must be immersed in the artistic element. Education and teaching must become a real art. Here, too, knowledge must not be more than the underlying basis.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 294 – Practical Course for Teachers – Stuttgart, 21st August, 1919

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on 30 juli 2019

The infinitely sad events of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch

All teaching, all pedagogy, all human education, and the whole outer human life must be imbued with spiritual insights in the course of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch (1413-3573). It must be realised that what is today considered science in materialistic circles must gradually disappear with its consequences from the life of the earth.

And all the struggles that will still have to be endured in the fifth post-Atlantic period will only be an outward expression of a spiritual battle, just as the present war is ultimately also an outward expression of the opposition between materialism and the spiritual world view. For however deeply things may be hidden – behind the infinitely sad events of the present time lies the struggle of materialism against the spiritual worldview. 

This battle must be fought. It will take different forms, but it will have to be fought because people will have to learn to endure whatever is necessary to acquire the spiritual worldview for the sixth post-Atlantic period.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 174 – Zeitgeschichtliche  Betrachtungen – Das  Karma  der  Unwahrhaftigkeit – Zweiter Teil – Dornach, 15 January 1917 (page 152)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Enjoyment in school

From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one, not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IX – Stuttgart, August 30, 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on July 25, 2015