Human Values in Education

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Vera Compton-Burnett
Der pädagogische Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik
GA 310

Schmidt Date   Comments
5831 July 17, 1924    Anthroposophical Education Based upon an Understanding of the Human Being
5833 July 18, 1924    Descent of the Human Being into the Physical Body
5835 July 19, 1924    Stages of Childhood
5838 July 20, 1924    Three Stages of Childhood
5842 July 21, 1924    Teachers' Conference in the Waldorf School
5844 July 22, 1924    Parent and Teacher Meetings
5846 July 23, 1924    How Temperaments Affect the Human Organism
5848 July 24, 1924    Diet for Children and the Four Temperaments
5849 July 24, 1924    Styles in Education
5849a July 24, 1924    The Relationship of Pedagogy to the Anthroposophical Movement


July 17, 1924
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Anthroposophical Education Based upon an Understanding of the Human Being
Awakening a pedagogical attitude from an understanding of the entire human being. The requirements of a pedagogy true to reality.
The human being need to be comprehended as body, soul and spirit. The basic cause of all social unrest: inadequate attention to and interest in other people. Today only mechanical thinking is trusted. Experimental pedagogy. Love as a force for understanding. The uselessness of abstract ideals for pedagogy. The only fruitful perspective is a concrete view of the child as a being who brings its spirit-soul from the spiritual world into a physical body. Seen from this perspective, the teaching profession is similar to a priesthood. An example of a view of the human being in accord with reality: in the course of human development, the time during which the spirit-soul and the physical body develop in parallel has shortened. Genuine and impractical pedagogy.

July 18, 1924
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Descent of the Human Being into the Physical Body
Human life in the light of spiritual science. The physical constitution of the child is an expression of the child's individuality. Pedagogical love as a result of a genuine understanding of the human being.
Goethe as an example of a harmonious and Schiller as an example of a restricted living out of Karma. Obstacles to living out prenatal impulses. The occult tendencies in the drafts of Schiller's "Malteser" and "Demetrius," the connection to opposing occult groups and the mysterious circumstances of Schiller's death. Awakening love for the child through a spiritual scientifically deepened understanding of the human being. Transforming the teaching profession into a priesthood. The first seven years: walking, speaking, thinking. The relationship of learning to walk to the physical development of the head and of learning to speak to the soul aspect in the development of the rhythmic system. The child's voice as an expression the spirit-soul capacities. Viewing the physical child's physical appearance as a picture of the individual spirit instead of making an abstract judgment about the child's capabilities. Developing the child's physical body as the basis for spiritual development.

July 19, 1924
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Stages of Childhood
Differences in the stages of human life. Walking, speaking and thinking in young children and in the further development of young people.
The first seven years until the change of teeth: the development of speech from movement, gestures and facial expression and of thinking from speech. Education should be based upon the principle of imitation. Illness in older age as a result of educational errors made in early childhood. The relationship of the trainer to "counting horses." The second seven years until puberty: education based upon natural authority using pictures presented through speech, an expression of feeling not intellect. An example of how immortality is pictured in the soul. During this stage, the child is aesthetically sensitive, pleased by what is good, displeased by what is bad. Developing writing from drawing and reading from writing. The nature of vowels and consonants. Toys appropriate to the child's fantasy, especially dolls. Consideration of the skeletal structure in teaching anthropology.

July 20, 1924
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Three Stages of Childhood
Approaching the child's nature by creating a relationship to the world. Education during the second seven year period in regard to the three phases of that period.
Early capacities for walking, gestures, speaking and thinking are present in the first seven year period and develop fully during the first three seven year periods. Following the change of teeth, a portion of the etheric body forces previously bound to the physical body are freed. Those forces then become the medium for memory and the soul. The connection of sculptural art with the etheric body and of music with the astral body. The transition between the ages of nine and ten: more awareness of the self and the outer world. Beginning instruction in botany and zoology. Considering plants in connection with the Earth and animals in connection with the human being. Connecting sculpture (etheric body) and music (astral body) through eurythmy. Eurythmy and gymnastics. Teaching history and geography pictorially, not through cause and effect. Inclusion of the concept of cause and effect only after the age of twelve. Problems with illustrative materials. Lively instead of fixed concepts. The inability of materialism to understand matter.

July 21, 1924
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Teachers' Conference in the Waldorf School
Practical application of pedagogical principles in the Waldorf School - forming school life compatible with the needs of children
The teachers meetings are the soul of instruction and education. Using a psychological view to evaluate the importance of a child's different abilities. Comprehending the spirit-soul and the physical body as a unity, particularly in regard to mentally handicapped children. The need of teachers to have sufficient knowledge about health and illness. The role of the school doctor. How Rudolf Steiner handled a hydrocephalic child while a private tutor. The character of a class depends upon the relative number of boys and girls. Creating the curriculum. Main lesson is given in "blocks." Foreign language class begins in the first grade. Dividing subjects to be taught in the morning and in the afternoon. Discipline. Homework. The proper evaluation of factual knowledge and human qualities in connection with the teaching profession. Freedom in determining the curriculum in contrast to detailed regulations from "above" - Württemberg as a special case.

July 22, 1924
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Parent and Teacher Meetings
Bringing practical life into pedagogy. Puberty and the third seven-year period.
Cooperation between parents and teachers. The transition between the ages of nine and ten. Unspoken questions of the children to the teacher concerning the Divine Spirit out of which the teacher works. The need for the teacher to be objective about some children. "Favorites" in the class. Anthroposophy should not be brought directly into instruction. Educating children in accordance with their class environment - not separating the class from the "real" world. The problem with Fröbel's methodology. Children's innate sense of particular qualities in colors. Developing living concepts. The abstract quality of the Theory of Relativity. Just as walking fully develops in the first seven-year period and speaking in the second, thinking only fully develops in the third seven-year period and only then does the child become truly capable of forming judgments. Developing an awareness of responsibility through pleasing or displeasing others is the basis of inner freedom. Thankfulness - love - responsibility. During puberty, inner love becomes expressed outwardly. Spiritual scientific investigation of man and woman.

July 23, 1924
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How Temperaments Affect the Human Organism
Temperaments and the human body. Education based upon insight into the unity of the spiritual and physical.
The physical and the spiritual need to be understood as a whole. Examples of therapeutic work based upon that insight. Paleness - lapses in memory, blushing - burdening of the memory. The temperament as a reflection of the interaction between the physical and the spiritual. Bring education and nutrition into harmony. Example of the relationship of melancholy and sanguine, liver and sugar. The temperament of the English and Russian peoples in connection with sugar consumption. The influence of potatoes upon memory and how to treat children. The change in European intelligence and memory due to the consumption of potatoes in modern times. The influence of coffee and tea upon memory - journalists and diplomats. The effects of potatoes upon the digestive system and the brain and upon the astral body. The loss of unity between science, art and religion must be regained in education.

July 24, 1924 (morning)
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Diet for Children and the Four Temperaments
Unifying views of the physical body and the spirit-soul through a complete understanding of the human being. Gaining an understanding of the aspects of the human being in training teachers through exercises in sculpture, music and speech.
The teacher needs a complete and comprehensive understanding of the human being's physical, etheric astral and ego aspects. Spiritual scientific perspectives on inheritance: until the age of seven, the physical body serves as a model for the development of the etheric. Gaining an understanding of the etheric, astral and ego aspects of the human being through exercises in sculpture, music and speech during teacher training. Moving from the subjective toward the objective. Descriptive not relative expressions are appropriate for the child. The problem with reciting poetry as a group. Methodology in teaching history: between the ages of ten and twelve, describe people and living conditions and speak of causal relationships only after the age of twelve. Example of how to show the difference between historical events and the present. Methodology in teaching arithmetic. Example of how to introduce addition and subtraction.

July 24, 1924 (afternoon)
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Styles in Education
Gymnast, orator and professor - the cosmic significance of pedagogy
Civilization is a reflection of what is done in schools. In the ancient East "Data" taught through example, showing not instructing. The contrast of that to Herbart's understanding. Educating through both the physical and the soul-spirit at the Waldorf School. ancient Greece: the teacher as a gymnast. Developing speaking and thinking from movement - handwork supports flexible thinking. Boys and girls are taught handwork together in the Waldorf School. Rome and the Middle Ages: the teacher as an orator: instruction in rhetoric by the Jesuits. Modern period: the teacher as a professor - providing facts instead of developing the child. The most important thing for pedagogy today is to overcome lecturing - moving from knowing to doing. The significance of science. The seeds of Bolshevism lie in abstract Western science. Slipping from the concrete to the abstract leads to social chaos - the World War. Education should be a healing of the sub-human to the human.

July 24, 1924 (evening)
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The Relationship of Pedagogy to the Anthroposophical Movement
The relationship of pedagogy to the anthroposophical movement.
Pedagogy, just as eurythmy and medicine, has developed from the anthroposophical movement due to destiny. In ancient times, science, art and religion were created in the mystery centers through communication with beings in the supersensible worlds. Today anthroposophy is a revelation of the spiritual world in harmony with modern science. Just as Christianity existed in the catacombs then spread throughout the world, the small group of Anthroposophists will become larger. The initial effects of Rudolf Steiner's essay "The Education of the Child". Emil Molt's initiative following the World War to found a school for the children of the workers at the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company. The pedagogical leadership of Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophical basis but not a sectarian school. Devotion of the teachers in spite of continuing financial difficulties. The pedagogy must remain within the anthroposophical movement and lovingly cared for. Connection with an Anthroposophical College? Preparing for the graduation examination. Pedagogy in the last centuries - destructive forces in modern social life.