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"The world is our classroom"

Dear colleagues worldwide,

We want to invite you to join an initiative from the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum.

We have been all challenged in schools with the situation of the pandemic, in many different ways and levels – as institution, as families, as teachers, but more then all, the children had faced an unprecedented time – none of us, as adults, have been in such a situation before, and so our learning has been concomitant to the children’s learning, which is, in the extend we experienced in the past year, a significant overload for all.

Wherever it is possible, we want to be with the students, share the common space of school, this space that embraces our human condition of our bodily reality, our soul reality, our spiritual reality.

So many teachers, all around, have been working incessantly to offer to the children and young persons the possibility to stay in connection – in between themselves, with their own capacities of learning, with the world and with the sphere where trust in future can be reached, again and again. The school is the place devoted to the becoming of each child, each young person. This can lead our deeds, our intentions, and maybe help us to find sources of creativity, strength and joy – also in the earnest and urgency of our times.

In some places, the restrictions are stronger than in others. For some students it has been possible to be together with physical presence, for others, it has been a long time of schooling almost exclusively through digital forms – and for many, the perspective is to stay for at least some more months in this situation.

There have been so many wonderful ideas in dealing with the situation. But also the experience of being overwhelmed, discouraged, tired. It is not simple to try to bring all aspects of the school as also a physical space into the two dimensions of the screen: a time schedule that would fit and be refreshing in the rooms at school with the rhythms of going outside, of changing classes, can become deeply tiring in hours of digital learning.

But things that would not be easily possible in “normal” school time maybe could be experienced now. What if we think on what we can do now, out of the fact that classes are necessarily digital, in so many places? And if we take this seriously as a project, and we dedicate three weeks – a short “epoch-time” – for this experience? Not trying to fit our previous forms of learning into the screen, but using the screen for something that could not be possible otherwise.

There are schools working with the pedagogical impulse given by Rudolf Steiner in many, many countries around the world. And we could say from now on:  “The world is our classroom”. The classes will be given for two combined classes or groups, from different corners of the world, together. The same topic, at the same time, via digital meeting, for three weeks. That could be a wonderful learning experience: for languages, geography, history, literature, music, also for combined disciplines – and so much more! One epoch together, maybe two hours in digital presence per day, and the rest of the day would be dedicated to activities regarding the theme, maybe also with working in small groups for some homework. What if the epoch regarding nutrition would be shared by two classes far from each other, from different cultures, and all learn to cook, one from each other?

So many things can be done! And each school or teacher who would like to join will develop the own ideas – together with the students and with the colleague from far. In three weeks it is possible to experience a process, to develop rhythm, to have the nights in between, to deepen new forms of working together – and hopefully to open new relations and possibilities to stay connected.

If you are interested on that, with the support of your colleagues and the parents – and specially the students! – then we can help you to find the new colleague and the class or group which will be part of this endeavor. How we proceed for that?

Contact the Pedagogical Section through the email worldclassroomnoSpam@goetheanum.ch

You just write the age of the students in your class or group, the language your students speak, the language you would like to exercise, the topic you would like to take for the epoch. We will help to find the “other half” for this meeting and put the teachers in contact – and then in each school or group the ways of working will be figured out. And maybe for this time the other school activities can wait – there will be time to come back to all of them. For three weeks, let the world be our classroom!

With best wishes

Claus-Peter Röh, Florian Osswald, Philipp Reubke, Constanza Kaliks
May 2021

Design lessons for one epoch together with colleagues and students from another country. Think not just about preparing the common lessons for distance learning (+/- 90 minutes) but also about creating proposals for practical and research activities in each respective location. These could be for individual students and also small groups.

Who can participate: Teachers and students from 7th through 12th grade.

How to find your partners: Send the following information to

worldclassroomnoSpam@goetheanum.ch

  • Your country
  • Name and city of your school 
  • Grade you work with
  • Native language of your students
  • Language in which the lesson can take place
  • Subject you and teacher who would like to work in the “World Classroom”
  • Dates in which the project can take place

We will publish your request on this website. In addition, we can send you addresses of selected schools that you could contact directly.