Sunday, May 13, 2012

anthroposophy

A warm hello to everyone! 

Thank you so much for your kind words of support while I was gone. I have had a lovely break away from this space and am feeling quite refreshed and ready to share bits and pieces of our lives once again. I am not sure I will ever be posting as regularly as I did, but I will be making a consistent effort to write a few times each week. 


I thought I'd begin by sharing the very first assignment I submitted in my Certificate in the Foundations of Rudolf Steiner Education. The past few weeks I have been totally immersed in my studies- readings, writing assignments, clay modelling, journal work and biography work. 

The following topic can be difficult to grasp if you haven't a lot of background knowledge on Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, but I thought for a lot of you, this would still be of interest. 

Thank you all for your patience while I've been gone. 


I'm glad to be back.


Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to everyone, especially my kind and beautiful Mum!
***
Reflections on the connection between Anthroposophy and Steiner Education

According to Rudolf Steiner, the tasks of education are to foster a child’s healthy development by strengthening the “I’ or his/her Soul. In other words, education is key to the process of individualisation. When the child’s thinking, feeling and willing (the “I” or Soul) are strong and well developed, she is able to reach her highest spiritual potential and to re-acquire the spiritual knowledge that is completely unique to her Spirit and that will help her to contribute to society in a unique, meaningful and moral way. 
In order for a teacher to have the faculties to help a child’s  “I” relate to the world and people positively, the teacher must have a clear understanding of the human being on a holistic level.  A Steiner teacher strives to foster a child’s hand (willing), heart (feeling), and mind (thinking) by providing resistance or challenge at the right time and offering a supportive structure for the child to grow within.  She must help the child’s Soul feel a healthy connection with his Body and Spirit. Anthroposophy is just this- the striving to connect and harmonise Body, Soul and Spirit in order to develop and strengthen our Spirituality which according to Steiner, will then enhance our moral strength, enhance our intuition and enable us to control our volitions, desires and urges. In this way, the teacher is a servant to the process of human incarnation.
As teaching is a moral spiritual task, a teacher must also have a personal meditative or spiritual practice that enables her own “I’ growth in order to develop the intuition she needs to react objectively in the classroom and beyond. She needs to continuously experience an honest and authentic struggle for self-transformation. She cannot support and see a child as an individual as well as a part of a class Archetypal whole, until her own Soul consciousness is strengthened and free from egotistical judgements and self-interested desires. Of course these self-interested thoughts come up quite often and naturally in all humans, but the teacher must learn to control them, to reign them in and to quietly observe them and then to let them go before attaching herself to them. This is how she is able to address the underlying needs of the whole child without bringing her own “I” world into the child’s experience.
In the early years children learn through imitation and example and the teacher exemplifies and humanises the world by forming a strong and loving connection to each child. She begins to develop their lower senses through physical play, song and sensory experiences amongst other things. She must bring a sense of reverence to the child’s world which is an introduction to gratitude, wonder and the child’s connection with his own spirituality. As the children grow older the teacher must have a strong idea of what her own ‘ideals’ are according to her Self and have a connection with her Higher or Spiritual Self in order to convey to the, now teenagers, that there is a truth that can be found. 
According to Steiner, to further our inner development or strengthen our Spirit Self and Consciousness Soul, we must learn to control our thoughts and impulses, practice non-attachment to pain or pleasure, maintain a positive attitude and remain open-minded.  
Only then can we begin to foster within ourselves virtues such as patience, calm, respect, reverence, devotion to the truth, honesty with regards to facts, enthusiasm for work, interest in the world, love and gratitude towards others and responsibility for one’s deeds. All of which are qualities a teacher should strive for. Through Anthroposophical investigation a teacher is able to develop her inner strength and the qualities necessary to become enlightened with these eternal truths.

When the spirit is strongly connected to the soul we are able, as an individual and as a human society, to devote our interests to the great needs and tasks of the times and to create connections between our actions and the spiritual world. This is the goal of the teacher: to equip our children with the skills, strength and tools necessary to participate and contribute to society wholly in an authentic and moral way.
Steiner’s statement, “Do not underestimate the importance of what I have just said, because you will not be good teachers if you focus only upon what you do and not upon what you are”
highlights the importance of Spiritual (Anthroposophical) Investigation for teachers. We must find the guiding light within ourselves so that a living inner spiritual relationship may be sparked between us and the children we teach so that when they go out into the world they are in healthy harmony with their Whole Selves which in turn will reflect on the greater good of society.
©Meagan Wilson. 2/12.

2 comments:

At Number 32 said...

Well written. It is certainly a beautiful way to be taught.
We looked strongly into the 'steiner' schooling system for our children, but the 2 things that held us back were 1)there is no focus on reading until the child is about 8 and as our eldest loves to read, we thought this would have been a disadvantage to her and 2)The fact that the children have the same teacher for the first 7 years of schooling. I believe every teacher, as does every child, has something to offer with skills and strengths that would be better shared. I think to spend your entire junior years with the same teacher/style is almost a shame.

Having said that, we are looking into high school as an option still......

Mama Nature said...

I loved reading this! Beautiful!

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