Download the article: From the Editor
Ideas have a mysterious way of occurring to different people in different places at the same time. The history of science, for example, is rife with discoveries and theories that appeared almost simultaneously to researchers working in different locations, even separated by continents. Words (e.g., “collaborative,” “synergy, ” “emergent”), phrases (e.g., “paradigm shift,” “multiple intelligences,” “contemplative inquiry”), and even conceptual frameworks (e.g., Transcendentalism, postmodernism, string theory) appear on the scene and take their place in the public discourse seemingly overnight when only a short time before they were merely the private musings of a few thinkers.
Download the article: Report from the Co-Directors
The election of Arthur Zajonc, professor of physics at Amherst College, as board president of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education opens a new chapter in the biography of the Institute.
A frequent contributor to the Research Bulletin, Arthur is well known as author, teacher, and researcher. As visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, as well as the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, his research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, and most recently the relationship between science, humanities and the contemplative traditions. Among his many publications is a history of optics, Catching the Light, several collections of essays on the scientific writings of Goethe, and a series of dialogues that he organized with the Dalai Lama.
Download the article: The Great Rift in Modern Consciousness
Science and the Humanities
This may at first seem like a strange title.
After all, the curricular division between science and the humanities has long been the basic organizing principle for the main subjects in the whole of modern education. It is an organizing principle that reaches from the university level all the way down. Even if, as we shall see, regard for the distinction has often become in modern education little more than lip service, has not the science/humanities division been, nevertheless, extremely useful, and does it not, in spite of problems, remain so? In fact, is it not a given task of thoughtful educators to wrestle perpetually with the relationship between science and the humanities, and are not the problems thrown up by this wrestling and the need to grapple with them a part of the essential service rendered by the distinction itself? Moreover, is not the suggestion in the title of this essay more than a little overblown; namely, that the science/humanities division is not only an issue for education, but is deeply implicated in a major crisis in the whole of modern culture and consciousness?
Download the article: What Stands Behind a Waldorf School
If we were to ask, “What is this school that we call a Waldorf school,” how would we answer? As is the case with all cultural institutions, the answer lies not with the buildings; schools have many types of buildings, from the gray, sturdy stone building of the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan to the breezy grass huts which serve as a school for the children at one of the Waldorf schools in South Africa. It does not lie with the teachers; over the course of time teachers leave an individual school and new ones will replace them. It does not even lie with the children; they too come and go, staying for up to 12 years and then leaving as others take their place. So, what do we mean when we speak about the Waldorf school? If it’s not the building, the teachers, the parents, the children, then what is it? Does it have any reality at all? Is the “Waldorf school” merely the conjunction of two abstract nouns such as we use daily when we speak of “the U.S. Government” or “the World Environment,” or the most unreal of all nouns, “money”? Do the words “Waldorf school” actually label something?
Download the article: On Earth as It Is in Heaven: The Tasks of the College of Teachers in Light of the Founding Impulse of Waldorf Education
At the center of the Waldorf school stands the College of Teachers.1 What is the College? What are its tasks? Who serves on the College? Why is it important for a Waldorf school to have a College? The answers to these questions will help us understand the mission and tasks of the Waldorf school.
In this work, I will address these fundamental questions about the College in light of the founding of the first Waldorf school in 1919. I will also share some ideas about the College that I have developed in nearly three decades of working with Colleges. I hope that my work will inspire others to delve deeply into these questions and to develop their own perspectives.
Download the article: Letter from the Editor
The sense of thinking has long been one of the most puzzling aspects of Rudolf Steiner's teaching about the senses. Sensory input (or percept) is defined as that which we join with concepts, gained through thinking intuition, in order for full cognition to arise. How is it possible to perceive a thought before thinking? Detlef Hardorp explores this mystery, including a fascinating description of the one instance in which we gain concepts directly from other human beings without needing intuitions to facilitate the acquisition of these concepts. His extended essay offers a significant contribution to the study of the senses and will be of special interest to high school teachers working with the higher, cognitive senses.
A trio of articles explores issues related to health and well being. Philip Incao contemplates the role of warmth in allowing the human being's spiritual essence to take hold of healing processes. He describes a historical progression that has led to a significant decrease in "warm" (fever-inducing, acute, usually infectious) diseases and childhood mortality, but that, having swung the pendulum too far in the other direction, has led to the rise of "cold" (and chronic) conditions such as ADD and asthma. One is left with renewed appreciation for the crucial importance of warmth not only as a physical process but as a pedagogical and social principle as well.
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Download the article: Report from the Co-Directors
With the support of an enthusiastic donor, the Research Institute has posted online a broad range of invaluable yet sometimes inaccessible books on Waldorf education. This collection will be of special interest to researchers and other individuals seeking to gain access and download books for research and study. Through the generosity of the Waldorf Curriculum Fund we have, since November 2010, produced 23 additional electronic books. Together with the 30 e-Books already produced, this represents a significant treasure trove of research material available at our Online Waldorf Library (OWL), www.waldorflibrary.org. This web-based resource is accessible free of charge, and we encourage you to visit it frequently. Our online librarian's regular report of activities appears separately towards the end of this issue.
As Co-Directors we have continued to meet, correspond, and collaborate with the leadership of the Padagogische Forschungsstelle in Stuttgart and the Alanus University in Alfter, outside of Bonn, Germany, as well as research colleagues in Australia and New Zealand. Due to financial constraints we are unable to expand these efforts into a larger scale.
In collaboration with our colleagues at the Padagogische Forschungsstelle in Kassel, Germany, the Research Institute has produced a book Topics in Mathematics for the Waldorf High School: 11th Grade. The English-language edition of this book is available via AWSNA Publications at www. whywaldorfworks.org.
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Download the article: Tending the Flame: The Link Between Education and Medicine in Early Childhood
People are social creatures; just try to remember we need human contact and warmth more than any thing.
- Colorado eighth-grader Kelly Ash, reflecting on the Columbine tragedy.
Education is to light a fire, not to fill a bucket.
A social issue is essentially an educational issue and this in turn is essentially a medical issue, but only if medicine is fertilized with spiritual knowledge.
- Rudolf Steiner
Fever is the purifying flame which renews the body.
The Tragedy of Hospitalism
I once had a medical consultation with an eight-year-old Waldorf student who had been adopted by her American mother from a Romanian orphanage. The mother recounted to me the intensely moving story of their first encounter. She entered a room full of children and her eyes rested on a tiny waif in a crib who looked to be about eight months old, with no teeth and as yet unable to stand or talk. Their eyes met, the child laughed, and in that moment the mother knew that “this was my child.” Then to her shock she learned that the child was over two years old! “I just took her home and loved her,” she told me, “and all her teeth started coming in and she began standing, walking, and talking!”
What an amazing demonstration of the power of human caring, of human warmth, and of the human spirit itself, I thought at the time. I’ve since learned more fully that this was by no means an isolated example.
Download the article: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's
The case that I want to make is that babyhood is much more important to our lives than many people realize. A lot of the behavior that worries us in later childhood, such as aggression, hyperactivity, obesity, depression, and poor school performance, has already been shaped by children’s experiences in babyhood. For those of you who have not studied the scientific literature, this might seem a bit farfetched. I was rather amazed at just how significant babyhood is when I first undertook the research for my book Why Love Matters.
But over and over again, as people look into it, they discover that this really is the case. Just to take one recent example, the World Health Organisation recently published a report from their Commission on the social determinants of health which stated: “Research now shows that many challenges in adult society—mental health problems, obesity/ stunting, heart disease, criminality, competence in literacy and numeracy—have their roots in early childhood.” They went on to say: “Economists now assert on the basis of the available evidence that investment in early childhood is the most powerful investment a country can make, with returns over the life course many times the amount of the original investment.”