Education is a field of radical responsibility: society’s basic responsibility towards those who are coming into the world. Constanza Kalik's contribution to the «Freedom and Responsibility» lecture series.
To receive those who are coming into the world and enable them to participate in a shared world in an active, autonomous way is a social obligation; because we are human and, while birth is given us as a gift of nature, being able to live requires enabling by others. This obligation of society is self-evident and unquestionable. What we need to ask is: what conditions are required so that this growing into the world can become an acquiring of freedom and responsibility.
Learning, in childhood and youth in particular, happens among human beings: that is where it takes place and where it finds its preconditions. Education is realized in the space of relationships, of dependence, a space that must be both open and protected. The immediate relationships of teachers to learners or students are essential. It is therefore not surprising that even in countries such as the Netherlands, which are very well equipped digitally, children learned «little or even nothing» during the Covid lockdowns, as a study has shown. 
What are the developmental conditions that enable people to decide in freedom to take responsibility for a shared world? What is needed in developmental terms for a relationship to oneself and to the world that enables a person to assume responsibility?
These conditions obviously change between early childhood and young adulthood. The anthropological perspectives unfolded by Rudolf Steiner can give orientation  in that they promote and deepen our perception of children. Teachers are in constant interaction, permanently interweaving two pespectives: approaching the child’s reality in a way that needs to be and remain cautious and sensitive, and conveying the broad horizon implied in being connected with the world. Children go towards the world, willing to enter it, seeking it, saying «yes» to it. They want to meet this world, learn from and in it. In 1922 Rudolf Steiner said in the Oxford Course (The Spiritual Ground of Education):
[...] What children demand of us by their nature is that they can believe in us, that they can instinctively feel: teachers can tell me something because they are connected with the whole world. 
In early childhood, children hopefully experience a relationship with the world and an environment that give them reassurance and the feeling of being wanted. The adults who are already in the world confirm the child’s presence there so that the child can experience that there is good in the world and that this goodness is tangible in the warm, protecting and supportive proximity.
In addition, growing children need to increasingly experience that they are being seen. In seeing me, the other person affirms my being here. And in the middle of childhood, the adults increasingly unlock in children an awareness of the diversity and richness of reality so that children can sense that there is also beauty in the world, in human beings, in human creations. Learning to see and being seen are related, mutually conditioning, interweaving experiences.
And finally, young people develop on the basis of their relationship with the world a relationship to themselves. Gently, yet crucially, the question arises as to their own path, their own future. Young people hope that others recognize something of their potential, if only faintly at first. Knowing oneself to be recognized and learning to know the world are inseparable experiences. The world can be known, its intrinsic intelligibility can be cognitively penetrated: the experience of truth is open to the cognizing human being.
With every child and young person society needs to ask how it helps them grow and experience the changing connectedness with the world described earlier. Can children and young people learn to see the world as precious, valuable and lovable despite its shortcomings and challenges? Is it a world in which they can witness lasting relationships in an environment that can be trusted and that trusts them? 
Rudolf Steiner’s image of the human being is rooted in a view of the «I» as a relational entity. The human self is constitutively a being of relationships. It is not a preformed substance but a being that is becoming, that evolves through relationship and mutuality. Some 20th century thinkers, educators, sociologists and artists describe the «I» as the implementation of mutuality. Franz Rosenzweig points out in 1917, «[…] my I emerges in the You. […] With the first You the creation of the human being is complete.»  In a book published in 2021, Josep Maria Esquirol describes how our own name is given to us by the world, by others. The word that will resound throughout our entire life, that we are addressed by, that means us, calls us. The name we receive in the first moments of life already expresses the fact of human dependence:
[...] Being a beginning necessarily means that the first word comes from another. [...] I am given a name, that is, I hear my name and then I give it to myself: «I». In that order: I receive, one calls me, and I respond.
Because I am received and one calls me, I speak; because I feel that I am called and seen (recognized and acknowledged), I respond. However, to listen and to speak requires trust. The received word makes us listeners, companions. Only through the encounter and the word we listen to can we become creative. Only through the encounter and the word we listen to can meaning arise.
Receiving the name is the beginning of a calling. It makes me responsible before I am even capable. 
A child- and world-centred education requires constant wakefulness both for the child – for this one real child who bears a name – as for the plural and complex world. In this world the individual meets others. Freedom takes place in a responsible and creative process that enables learning as a discovery of and participation in a living becoming. We learn with our hands, by being astounded, by seeing, by creating and comprehending. Knowing has many dimensions, it happens as much in creative activity as in instruction, in research as in practice.  The pedagogical practice requires a free, creative relationship that arises from engaging with the child and with the world. In this ambiance, a longing, willingness and will can grow for assuming co-responsibility for the shared world as a free decision and for shaping this relationship in autonomy and solidarity. ‘Education should not only contribute to an awareness of our Earth-Homeland, it should help this awareness find expression in the will to realize our earth citizenship,’ Edgar Morin writes in the late 1990s about the basic requirements for learning and teaching in the 21st century. 
A sense of being connected with the world cannot be demanded from the outside. Respect for individual decisions and the affirmation of the joint responsibility for our shared world are fundamental to a pedagogical practice that is oriented to the reality of the human being.
We very much look forward to the forthcoming World Teachers’ Conference, where we will address many questions concerning the creation of the conditions required for «earth citizenship».
Translated from German by Margot M. Saar
This article is a shorter version of Constanza Kaliks lecture on goetheanum.tv that was part of the lecture series «Responsibility of Freedom» at the Goetheanum.
 Cf. Spiegel Online: Studie zu Corona-Schulschliessungen: Kinder haben wenig oder nichts gelernt and the Oxford study of February 2021: Engzell, Per; Frey, Arun; Verhagen, Marc D. Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, accessed on 18 February 2023.
 Cf. Rudolf Steiner. The Spiritual Ground of Education. Great Barrington 1991, GA 305, p. 44 (Lecture 4, 19 August 1922).
Rudolf Steiner. The Spiritual Ground of Education, Great Barrington 1991, GA 305, p. 9 (Lecture 1, 16 August 1922).
 Rudolf Steiner. Becoming the Archangel Michael’s Companions, Great Barrington 2006, GA 217 (Lecture 6, 8 October 1922), transl. René Querido.
 Franz Rosenzweig. Briefe und Tagebücher. Vol. 1 1900-1018. The Hague, 1979, p. 471.
 Josep Maria Esquirol. Humano, más humano. Uma antropologia de la herida infinita. Barcelona: Acantilado, 2021, p. 24f. «Ser inicio va junto con el hecho de que la primera palabra venga del otro. […] Recibo el nombre, es decir, escucho mi nombre, y entonces yo mismo me lo doy: «yo». Esta es la secuencia: recibo y me llaman y respondo. Porque recibo y me llaman, hablo; porque me siento llamado y mirado, (reconocido y considerado), respondo. Ahora bien, escuchar y hablar solo es posible en confianza. La palabra recibida nos hace oyentes, seguidores. Sólo con el encuentro y la palabra que se escucha, el ser humano llegará a ser creativo. Sólo con el encuentro y la palabra que se escucha, habrá sentido. Recibir el nombre es el inicio de la vocación. Me hace responsable antes de ser todavía capaz.»
 Cf. Boaventura de Souza Santos. O fim do império cognitivo. CoimbraAlmedina, 2020, p. 404.
 Edgar Morin. Seven Complex Lesson in Education for the Future, Paris 2001, p. 12, transl. Nidra Poller.