Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
23 December 1919, Stuttgart
A teacher who took over the seventh and eighth grades in the fall reports about teaching the humanities.
Dr. Steiner: You should begin by developing an outline of Roman history and then, from the general character, go into the details. There is no particular reason to go into everything, for instance, the history of the Lucretians. In Rome, much more occurred than what has been handed down, and there is really no reason to tell about everything that has been handed down by chance.
A teacher: Who were the Etruscans?
Dr. Steiner: The Etruscans were a southern Celtic element, a branch of the Celts transplanted in the south.
A teacher asks about books on Oriental history.
Dr. Steiner: Well, there are the chapters about Babylonian and Assyrian history by Stahl and Hugo Winkler in Helmolt’s Weltgeschichte [World History], and also the things written by Friedrich Delitzsch, for example, his Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens (History of Babylonia and Assyria).
A teacher: What is Baal?
Dr. Steiner: Baal was originally a Sun god.
A teacher speaks about the practical subjects in the seventh and eighth grades.
A teacher reports about teaching Latin.
Dr. Steiner: It would be good to direct the children’s attention away from the linguistic aspects and toward the meaning, toward the subject itself. There is too little personal contact with the students.
A teacher reports about shop class.
Dr. Steiner: We should learn what we want to teach, for example, how to bind books or to make shoes. We should not bring too much in from outside.
On Friday, December 26 at 9:00 a.m., those children in the first through fourth grades who are causing the teachers difficulties in some ways are to be called in for a “discussion” and on Monday, December 29 at 9:00 a.m., there will be another such meeting for children from the fifth through eighth grades. A list is made of those children.
Two teachers report about the independent religious instruction.
Dr. Steiner: In the independent religious instruction, you could try to bring in something imaginative, mythical religious pictures, for example, the story of Mithras as a picture of how we overcome our lower nature. You could use such pictures to bring something to the fore, that is, to integrate mythical stories pictorially.
A teacher asks about reports.
Dr. Steiner: We must first determine what we have to do [to meet the state requirements]. We can give two reports, one in the middle of the year, as an interim report, and one at the end of the school year. To the extent allowable by the regulations, we should speak about the student only in general terms. We should describe the student and only when there is something of particular note in a subject, should we mention that. We should carefully formulate everything, so that in moving to the higher grades, there is as little differentiation as possible.
When the student goes to another school, we must report everything that the new school requires.