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

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Fundamental error

It is our task in the study of method (in education and teaching) 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

Buddha and Christ

The powers and forces which draw man upwards again to the spiritual world fall into two categories: those which draw him upwards on the path of Wisdom, and those which draw him upwards on the path of Morality. The forces to which intellectual progress is mainly due all proceed from the impulse given by a great Individuality of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch who is known to you all, namely Gautama Buddha. It is a remarkable discovery of spiritual investigation that the most penetrating, most significant, thoughts conceived in our present epoch have proceeded from Gautama Buddha.

The second impulse which, in addition to that of Buddha, continues to work in the evolution of humanity is the Christ Impulse and is connected with the future ascent of humanity to Morality. Although Buddha’s teaching is in a particular sense moral teaching, the Christ Impulse is not teaching but actual power which works as such and to an increasing degree imbues mankind with moral strength.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Buddha and Christ – The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas – Milan, 21st September 1911

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 25, 2014

Why should I learn what the teacher does not know himself?

It always fills me with horror to see a teacher standing in his class with a book in his hand teaching out of the book, or a notebook in which he has noted down the questions he wants to ask the children and to which he keeps referring. The child does not appear to notice this with his upper consciousness, it is true; but if you are aware of these things then you will see that the children have subconscious wisdom and say to themselves: He does not himself know what I am supposed to be learning. Why should I learn what he does not know? This is always the judgment that is passed by the subconscious nature of children who are taught by their teacher out of a book.

Such are the imponderable and subtle things that are so extremely important in teaching. For as soon as the subconscious of the child notices that the teacher himself does not know something he has to teach, but has to look it up in a book first, then the child considers it unnecessary that he should learn it either.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 3 – Torquai, 14th August 1924

Translated by Helen Fox

Previously posted on February 2, 2015