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The Battle for Intelligence: Mind the gap!

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The 11th World Teachers’ and Educators’ Conference will take place at the Goetheanum, in Dornach, Switzerland, probably in spring 2023. This will be the first such conference following the anniversary year, ‘100 years of Waldorf education’.

The Covid pandemic of 2019/20 has affected schools and educational institutions worldwide. Many kindergartens, schools and adult education centres had to close and most facilities switched to a blend of distance and online learning. In the post-pandemic age, we face some fundamental questions regarding education and educational practice.

We now face a global challenge on many levels. We need to seek contributions and explore approaches that can help us find new and positive solutions in the field of education. We would like to enter a global exchange and cooperation with everyone involved in Steiner Waldorf education.

The conference is being prepared by a group from the International Conference of the Waldorf Education (Hague Circle), which is working on finding the headline theme for the conference and has chosen the following title, already mentioned above:

"The Battle for Intelligence: Mind the gap!"

How can intelligence be developed out of the whole person?

The body plays a key role in this. It forms the basis for people's self-perception, their ability to reflect and their life of feelings, and is in constant contact with the soul and spirit of man. It reflects all life and soul processes. The body is deeply connected to the environment, the ways in which we learn and the inner dispositions of people around us.

For intelligence to be able to grow, develop and transform in a comprehensive way, a pedagogical practice is needed that can grasp the activities and effects of intelligence right down into the physical body.

The themes of intelligence and spiritualized thinking also plays a central role in Rudolf Steiner's work in considering the relationship between the contemporary human being and the zeitgeist / spirit of our times, Michael.  

As a first suggestion, we outline below, three topics in preparation for the upcoming conference.

A reductionist view of the human being

How can we nurture new approaches towards a holistic understanding of human nature and corporeality through an active and practical anthroposophical research culture? How can a holistic view of the human being bear fruit in education and human society?

Digital learning

How do we create a healthy approach to digital media? Which creative methodologies can we identify and establish? What are the qualities of human intelligence that have developed in connection with the whole body with its varied sensory experiences? Which aspects of artificial intelligence are educationally relevant and appropriate, and when?

Environmental crisis / climate change

How can physicality and bodily nature connect and reconnect with the environment? What forms of cooperation between kindergartens, schools and ecological movements can be established and strengthened? How can we integrate bio-dynamic gardening and agriculture in our daily life at school?

Through the active participation of colleagues, the work on this theme and these topics will grow and become more fruitful, both before and after the conference. We would like to invite you to make contributions in the following areas:

● Suggestions, articles and research material on the conference theme and topics 

● Observations from everyday teaching and classroom practice

● Focusing the work and activity of your educational study and research on conference preparation

● Providing study days and seminars that are organised on a local or regional basis

Please send your contributions to: paed.sektion[at]

We look forward to your ideas and initiatives!

Tomas Zdrazil, Henning Kullak-Ublick, Philipp Reubke, Florian Osswald