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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Discussions with Teachers
GA 295

These discussions are part of the first Waldorf Teacher Training. They took place along with two other courses that Rudolf Steiner gave to prepare the individuals he had chosen as teachers for the first Waldorf school, which opened in Stuttgart on September 7, 1919.

Emil Molt, the managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory, had requested that Rudolf Steiner help found a school for the children of the factory employees. From that request has grown what is now a worldwide educational movement. But the questions can be asked: Is an educational impulse more than seventy-five years old relevant today? How do teachers keep themselves up-to-date? Can the Waldorf curriculum be effective for children in the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries?

—Excerpt from Introduction by Craig Giddens

Translated by Helen Fox and Katherine E. Creeger. Maisie Jones rendered the English translations of the speech exercises.
Discussion I August 21, 1919
The four temperaments, and the nature of the I, astral, etheric, and physical principles as their origin. Some characteristics of each and how to treat them. Polarity in the temperaments. Placement of children in the classroom. The “main” lesson. Sequence of fairy tales, fables, and Bible stories. A question about melancholics. Examinations better omitted.
Discussion II August 22, 1919
The sanguine child. Attention. Temperaments in the Bible and in teaching music. Phlegmatic children and diet. Melancholics and their illusions. Treatment of cholerics. The temperament of different ages. Creative powers depend on preserving youth. Temperaments and occupations.
Discussion III August 24, 1919
Telling stories and drawing for different temperaments. Describing animals. The question of so-called “Cinderellas” in the class.
Discussion IV August 25, 1919
Posture and mathematics. The four rules of arithmetic in relation to temperaments. Plane geometry before solid. Designs and stories for different temperaments. Abnormalities of the temperaments. Response to the “Cinderellas.” A case of bad behavior.
Discussion V August 26, 1919
Speech exercises begun. Temperaments and karma. Influence of father and mother. Change of temperaments through life. Temperaments in languages. Addressing improper behavior and “ringleaders.” The problem of “goody-goodies.”
Discussion VI August 27, 1919
Preparing children for poems and stories. Talks about dogs and about violets. How to deal with the “goody-goody” children. Children who have a “crush” on a teacher.
Discussion VII August 28, 1919
The fable of the boy, the horse, and the bull. History of Europe from eleventh to seventeenth centuries. The Crusades and their unexpected results. Quarrels between Greeks and Franks. Impact of superior civilizations of the East and of Greek Christianity on Europe. Some historians considered. The “goody-goody” children.
Discussion VIII August 29, 1919
Fable of the oak and the fox. Children with no apparent talent for specific subjects. Diet for poor readers and writers. Cocoa. Eurythmy for children who are poor in arithmetic. Geography. Ambition should not be fostered. Children with poor observation skills and those who resent eurythmy. Effects of tea and coffee. Dull and bright children. Remembering forms through caricatures.
Discussion IX August 30, 1919
Botany. The nature of growth. Fertilization process not to be stressed for younger children. The plant’s relation to water (root), air (leaves), and warmth (blossom). Plants to be compared to soul, not to the body.
Discussion X September 01, 1919
Human soul qualities revealed in plants. Sleeping, dreaming, and waking in the relation between Earth and plants. Polarity of tree and fungus. The theorem of Pythagoras.
Discussion XI September 02, 1919
Phrenology discounted. Plants are not the senses of the Earth. Medical plant lore of medieval mystics. Plants classified by development of root, stalk, leaf, etc. Plants related to different ages of childhood.
Discussion XII September 03, 1919
Sex education. Maps and geography. Angles and areas.
Discussion XIII September 04, 1919
Algebra to precede the teaching of areas. Introduction of algebra by calculating rates of interest. A shop for the second grade. Rates of movement. Copernicus and Bessel.
Discussion XIV September 05, 1919
More about rates of interest and algebra. Negative numbers, powers, and roots. Formulas. The building of towns in Europe. Concrete chronology through demonstrating the generations. Towns originated as markets, later fortified. Change of consciousness in fifteenth century. Historians Buckle and Lecky recommended. Lamprecht. Freytag. H. S. Chamberlain. Socialist historians good for facts. Observing the movements of Sun and planets. Egyptian drawing. Animal-headed men. Physical strength of Egyptians; their mythology.
Discussion XV September 06, 1919
Lemniscate and human organs. Invasions of Roman Empire by Celts, etc., due to desire for gold. Invasion in relation to cultivated and undeveloped land (Goths and Franks). Christianity and pagan cults. Overcoming difference of ability. Foreign and classical languages. Reports and grades. Closing remarks: what the teacher should be.
First Lecture on the Curriculum September 06, 1919 A.M.
Second Lecture on the Curriculum September 06, 1919 A.M.
Third Lecture on the Curriculum September 06, 1919 P.M.
Closing Words September 07, 1919
Appendix: Speech Exercises in German