Constanza Kaliks and Philipp Reubke on the strongest force in education
In two exciting articles in «Das Goetheanum», the leaders of the Pedagogical Section describe what the essence of pedagogy is. Read some excerpts from the weekly here.
«Pedagogy always takes place in a very fine, very sensitive balancing act. The child is born into an already present, already existing world: a reality that has become constructed over centuries, even millennia. Much of what is brought into the classroom is taken from this past. In this way, a task of education is to introduce newcomers to this world so that they can learn to be at home in it, live in it, and inhabit it. (...)
Rudolf Steiner speaks of the fact that life as a whole must be in the consciousness of the teacher, the educator: What is experienced today can have unpredictable consequences for us. What has already been known is thus a fundamental instrument for enabling the coming, the not yet known, and at the same time, it entails the danger that it binds us to the past and prevents the future. On the other hand, skipping what has become would make it impossible to make the world home. Education without content, without learning from what already exists, cannot prepare for the future because it does not tie in with anything – and thus remains incoherent. In a much-quoted, very meaningful text, Hannah Arendt writes about education: 'Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to take responsibility for it, thus saving it from the downfall that would be inevitable without renewal and coming of the new and young. (...)'»
«It was one of Steiner's central ideas that the child is not born as a blank slate, not only as a physical organism, but also as a mental-spiritual individuality that has undergone forms of existence in a non-spatiotemporal dimension and past earthly lives. (...) Never can a compelling maxim of action be automatically derived from a scientific position, a theory, or thought. If this happens, the peculiarity of the child cannot be taken into account. Then the unprecedented cannot be promoted. The life element of Waldorf education is freedom, creativity, and that-which-is-unknowable.
Today, this idea of Waldorf education is facing strong headwinds. In France, for example, Stanislas Dehaene is president of the team of scientific experts at the French Ministry of Education. He says what many think: 'Education is a science. You are a good teacher if you have a good idea of the functioning of the child's brain. The teacher will be able to develop learning programs that can maximize mental adaptation processes and the speed of learning.' (...)
Education is not a direct implementation of science. Relationship research has repeatedly underlined this. Education thrives on a positive, loving relationship. The relationship is fostered when I understand the other person a bit, but also when I don't understand them, they are a secret, and can be a surprise. If I could understand them and predict their behavior, like the functioning of a machine, it would be the end of the relationship and, thus, the end of the educational process. Our opinion that we know the other is the end of love.»
Read the whole article «Practical Love» here in «Das Goetheanum», a weekly for anthroposophy