14 lectures, Stuttgart, August 21-September 5, 1919 (CW 294)
How do Waldorf teachers put their educational ideals into practice in the classroom? How does a teacher connect geography and art and language in a way that enlivens the souls of children? What does a child's respect for the teacher mean for later life? These are only a few practical aspects of this initial course for Waldorf teachers.
During an intensive two weeks, Rudolf Steiner gave three simultaneous educational courses to those who would be the first teachers of the original Waldorf school. One course provided the foundational ideas behind Waldorf education (The Foundations of Human Experience); another provided a forum for questions and lively discussions on specific issues in the classroom (Discussions with Teachers). In this course, Steiner takes the middle-path by integrating theory and practice.
Here, Steiner spoke of new ways to teach reading, writing, geography, geometry, language, and much more. His approach is tailored to the spiritual and physical needs of the children themselves, not to an arbitrary curriculum based solely on external results.
At a time when public education is in a state of crisis, this book describes how children around the world are being guided into adulthood with a fuller sense of themselves and with a creative approach to life and the world around them.
German source: Erziehungskunst. Methodisch-Didaktisches (GA 294).
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Astrid Schmitt-Stegmann, MA, has been a Waldorf educator for more than 30 years. She was a class teacher in both Germany and the US. She taught kindergarten and in high school and was a foreign-language teacher in the Waldorf schools of both countries. She is active in the teacher education programs throughout the world and directed the teacher education programs at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. She mentors schools, lectures internationally, and leads workshops.