The Renewal of Education

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Roland Everett
Die Erneuerung der pädagogisch-didaktischen Kunst durch Geisteswissenschaft
GA 301

Schmidt Date   Comments
4088 April 20, 1920    Spiritual Science and Modern Pedagogy
4089 April 21, 1920    The Three Aspects of the Human Being
4090 April 22, 1920    The Basis of Pedagogy is an Understanding of the Human Being
4091 April 23, 1920    The Teacher Creates the Future Content of the Soul
4097 April 26, 1920    Remarks about the Curriculum
3901 April 28, 1920    Teaching Eurythmy, Music Drawing and Language
3902 April 29, 1920    Education and the Problem of Training Teachers
3908 May 3, 1920    Teaching Zoology and Botany between the Ages of Nine and Twelve
3909 May 4, 1920    Dialect and Written Language
4111 May 5, 1920    Synthesis and Analysis in the Human Being and Education
4113 May 6, 1920    Teaching and Rhythm
4115 May 7, 1920    Teaching History and Geography
4120 May 10, 1920    Children's Play
4121 May 11, 1920    Further Views and Questions


April 20, 1920
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Spiritual Science and Modern Pedagogy
Herbart's pedagogy as an example of pedagogy in the nineteenth century: exemplary pedagogical principles in spite of chaotic social conditions. The need for change in pedagogy and education. The aspects of the human being and their development shown by the formation of teeth in the first seven-year period and the development of language in the second seven-year period. Observing the spirit-soul at work on the physical body and the metamorphosis of forces: the connections between imagination and will and the development of teeth and language.
Discussion: the organic basis of one-sided talent for natural science and how it can be balanced through art. Penmanship.

April 21, 1920
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The Three Aspects of the Human Being
The difference between conventional science and spiritual science. The three aspects of the human being: physical, soul and spiritual. The three aspects of the physical body in connection with the soul: nerve-sense aspect - thinking, the rhythmic aspect - feeling, and the metabolic aspect - willing. "Sense" and "motor" nerves: the modern view of nerves in the service of materialism. The connection of feeling to the circulatory processes exemplified by musical experience. The movement of the brain fluid. Aspects of the soul: thinking, feeling and willing. The significance of sympathy and antipathy for the life of the human soul. The three aspects of the spirit: wakefulness, dreaming and sleeping. The significance of sleep for the 'I'.

April 22, 1920
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The Basis of Pedagogy is an Understanding of the Human Being
Conscious, not the earlier instinctive, understanding of the human being is the basis of pedagogy. Critical remarks about the conventional scientific and psychological picture of the human being that ignores human formative processes. The relationship of the spirit-soul to the physical body. How the spirit-soul forces form the organs. Apparent impressions and memory. The development of the heart as a result for the circulation of the blood contrasted with the common picture of the heart as a pump. The physical and the soul spleen and their connection with the first and second seven-year periods of education (imitation and authority).

April 23, 1920
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The Teacher Creates the Future Content of the Soul
Activating passive, abstract intellect through lively spiritual scientific concepts. The incorrect use of the Biogenetic Law by Haeckel in connection with the spirit-soul development of the human being. Physical remnants of human development in the embryonic stage. Spirit-soul remnants in inner experiences during old age and how they are slept through today. The slow decline of parallelism in the development of the physical body and the spirit-soul from primal times until the present. How spiritual life that has been awakened by physical development begins to die now at the age of twenty-eight.
Discussion: The Biogenetic Law. The error of erroneously comparing today's uncivilized tribes with prehistoric peoples when telling children about their activities. Two basic principles of pedagogy.

April 26, 1920
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Remarks about the Curriculum
The Waldorf School in Stuttgart. How a living understanding of the human being is fruitful. The metamorphosis of characteristic through the phases of life. The "bib-bam' and 'bow-wow' theories of speech development. Teaching children to write. Developing the intellect through dexterity. Teaching handwork. Principles of education in the three stages of the second seven-year period of the child's life. The significance of authority. Ernst Mach and the importance of developing the child's imagination. Telling fairy tales. Attending to individual children in spite of large classes through the proper work of the teacher. Changes in the child's physiognomy around the age of nine. How the teacher becomes a part of the class.

April 28, 1920
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Teaching Eurythmy, Music Drawing and Language
Reasonable exercises for weak children. The importance of pictures for the soul. Teaching foreign language. The curriculum for the lowest grades begins with what is artistic. Tasks in teaching gymnastics and eurythmy. Strengthening the will through eurythmy. Remarks about the wide-spread lack of will. Bringing out feeling through music. Remarks on children's drawing. "Self-feeling" in Greek art and young children. Drawing from the intellect. Teaching language. The close connection between feelings and dialect. Introducing grammar. The task of education in strengthening the will.
Discussion: Psychoanalysis overlooks the connections between spirit-soul processes and physical processes. Isolated observations of specific events. Today's tendency to generalize theories that are valid only for limited situations.

April 29, 1920
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Education and the Problem of Training Teachers
Moral and religious education. The over-emphasis upon immortality in comparison to pre-natal life. The intellect is brought into life, will is developed during life. The need to alternate between humor and seriousness - expansion and compression of the spirit-soul. The teacher's inner preparation. Overcoming personally subjective considerations while teaching. Meditative preparation. The personal relationship of the teacher to the children is the basis for developing feeling and will. Weak-willed children may be caused by the intellectual views of the parents. The interactions between thinking, feeling and willing.

May 3, 1920
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Teaching Zoology and Botany between the Ages of Nine and Twelve
The three phases of the second seven-year period. Developing a proper feeling for the world. Nietzsche's views about Greek life in contrast to the common modern view of the world as Paradise. Differentiating between the world and self beginning at the age of nine is a prerequisite to teaching natural history. Treating the animal kingdom as an extended human being. Observing the plant kingdom in connection with the life of the Earth throughout the year.

May 4, 1920
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Dialect and Written Language
Using dialect in school. The inner relationship of children who speak dialect to language. Feeling and willing as the basis of dialect, thinking as the basis of written language. The musical and sculptural elements of language. Grammar as a help in becoming conscious. Sentences without a subject. Developing a feeling for the genius of language. The effects of unconscious human intelligence by an example from psychology and learning language. The instinct for language and the conscious development of a feeling for style. The birth of the etheric body at the change of teeth. Remarks on thinking and memory processes. The birth of the astral body at puberty. Development of independent feeling and willing. Authority and love. Associating ideas is a danger for objective judgment.
Discussion: Dialect and written language. The particular position of High German due to its tendency toward the abstract. How foreign elements are strongly changed in dialect and how High German is capable of change.

May 5, 1920
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Synthesis and Analysis in the Human Being and Education
Subject matter as a means of educating. The expanding, awakening aspects of analyzing and the confining sleep-causing aspects of synthesizing. World views that pull the world apart (e.g. atomism) are the result of insufficient analytical activity during childhood. Separating numbers from arithmetic. Examples of analyzing from teaching writing and arithmetic. Methods of teaching singing and speech: working from natural activities. The need for the teacher to be interested in modern culture. The future development of language for the present-day slogans to a language permeated by the spirit shown by examples of dialect and slogans. The special position of the German language.

May 6, 1920
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Teaching and Rhythm
Training the capacity to form judgments. The result of forming judgments too early is that judgments arise through the body instead of through the soul. The general loss of rhythmic feeling around 1850. Awakening (the external world) in drawing and dreaming (the inner world) in music. Remarks about dreams: giving attention to the state of the soul instead of the content of the dream. Melody is what is specifically musical and the melody of language. Taking account of unconsciousness in education. The causes of poor handwriting - imprecise hearing as an example. The rhythm of awakening and falling asleep in speaking. Remarks about listening. Teaching at about the age of twelve. Natural science and history. Remarks about teaching religion. The Waldorf School is not a sectarian school.

May 7, 1920
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Teaching History and Geography
Teaching history: the Greeks as an example. Connecting the past with what remains of it in the present. How to present a period of history as a whole. Developing a general picture of ancient Greece. The value of the human being and what is generally human in the Roman and early Christian period. The will and economics in the modern era. Symptomatology instead of causality in presenting history. The slow transition from concrete to abstract thinking: examples of words. External events indicate inner processes. The transition from history to religion and geography. Strengthening memory. Speaking and breathing. Remarks on left-handedness.

May 10, 1920
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Children's Play
Schiller's remarks about the "desire to play." Play and dreams. Children's play during the first seven-year period: the metamorphosis of individual play to independent judgment after the age of twenty-one. Play during the second seven-year period (social play, "wanting to be something") is a preparation for the third seven-year period. One-sided intellectualism in modern psychology: the views of Robert Zimmermann. The starting point for living concepts is characterization not definition. Teaching geometry: forming flexible concepts, developing a feeling for space through movement and drawings with shadows. Children's drawings are story telling by the child.

May 11, 1920
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Further Views and Questions
Teaching fractions. Using illustrative material. The goal of spiritual scientifically oriented education during the second seven-year period is to develop the child's imagination beginning with practical life. The causes of nervousness. The wisdom teeth are the remains of those imaginative forces still connected with the physical body. Critical remarks on the question of finding a "proper place" in life. The connection of hearing and seeing with penmanship. Activating will and reason through proper education. "Robinson" the prototype of narrow-mindedness. Answering questions about "good" and "bad" people. The need to retain the naturally "good" nature of the human being through inner activity. Education as a healing process.