The Essentials of Education

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Jesse Darell
Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens
GA 308

Schmidt Date   Comments
5663 April 8, 1924    Lecture 1
5664 April 9, 1924    Lecture 2
5668 April 10, 1924    Lecture 3
5669 April 10, 1924    Lecture 4
5670 April 11, 1924    Lecture 5


April 8, 1924
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Lecture 1
A knowledge of the whole man in his relation with other men is needed for a true education. The relation between teacher and child especially intimate and far-reaching. Before seven the child is a sense organ, and body, soul and spirit exist as a unity. Effect of the teacher's temperament to be seen in the later life of the child. Uncontrolled choler leads to later digestive complaints; phlegmatic temperament to nervous disorders; the melancholic to irregularities in the breathing and blood systems; the sanguine to lack of vitality. The teacher's task in the three periods of childhood characterized.

April 9, 1924
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Lecture 2
The demand for proof today and the right nature of proof in spiritual matters. The descent of the spiritual man into the body in the first seven years. The small child's religious devotion to his surroundings is of a bodily character, and calls for a priestly element in the teacher. After seven the child needs the teacher as artist. Man's growth into materialism. Maeterlinck on Steiner. Importance of teaching pictorially. Example of learning letters. Two extremes in education.

April 10, 1924
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Lecture 3
Early man could read nature and human nature intuitively. Modern Science has learnt to spell but has forgotten how to read. The teacher must learn the art of reading the children. Importance of the change of teeth. Digestion before and after this event characterized. Relation of breath and heart beat between seven and fourteen. Music harmonizes the two. To understand the etheric or life body modeling is necessary. To understand the astral or consciousness body musical capacity is needed. The ego as a reflection of the Divine Word. Eurythmy concerned alike with music and the word.

April 10, 1924
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Lecture 4
Writing should be learnt before reading. An understanding of cosmic forces necessary for the teacher. Sun and Moon forces in plant growth and the fixing of Easter by the Sun and Moon together. Children grasp such things pictorially from the tenth year. A musical understanding leads to the picture of Bull, Lion and Eagle as harmonized in Man. Man a symphony of the single tones which sound in the different animals. Pictures given between seven and fourteen are grasped intellectually in freedom after puberty.

April 11, 1924
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Lecture 5
Education must be lived so that even the small child imitates the good, beautiful and wise. In the first epoch the child is naturally religious in his physical imitation of his surroundings. In the second the religious element assumes a soul quality through the pictorial nature of the teaching and respect for the teacher's authority. Logical compulsion not to be brought to the child even after puberty. Kant, Schiller and Goethe on Duty. Children should learn things they will only comprehend in later life. Reverence in the child becomes the power to bless in old age. Need to grasp the world and man in body, soul and spirit with all the powers of the soul.