Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
10 May 1922, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: I want to discuss a number of important points.
A teacher: What should we do in the eleventh-grade art class?
Dr. Steiner: It is certainly possible to cover the relationship of art to the development of culture, so that the students have a good understanding of that. You could point out why music as we understand it today arose relatively late. What the Greeks called music, and so forth. Do such things. Of course, you should also discuss in detail the things you are now covering from a German literary perspective. Why did landscape painting begin at a particular time? Look at such questions and also at the relationship of art to religion from an artistic perspective.
A religion teacher says something about that.
Dr. Steiner: The teaching of religion should have different emphasis. The emphasis in teaching art should be upon art itself, upon comprehending art. In connection with religion, I think we should work toward achieving a genuine religious attitude. It should be a religious education. In earlier times, there was a strong tendency to bring an intellectual element into religion.
We still need to discuss the eleventh-grade curriculum in more detail. The difficulty lies in our desire to maintain a certain kind of teaching practice, but also in the need to bring the children to the point where they can take their final examinations.
A teacher: I would like to ask about which fundamental areas of art we should undertake in the eighth and ninth grades?
Dr. Steiner: Do Dürer’s work in the eighth grade. I want to think about the ninth grade.
A teacher: I have a suggestion regarding final examinations. Perhaps we should have an Englishman and a Frenchman as teachers for the foreign languages.
Dr. Steiner: That is a question of money.
A teacher: We need to do more grammar. We are still not meeting the goals of the curriculum.
Dr. Steiner: There is a compromise in the curriculum. If we can achieve the goals of the curriculum as we planned them, we will also find that the students pass their final examinations. We are still not doing everything needed to complete the curriculum.
A teacher: Would it be possible to engage special language teachers?
Dr. Steiner: Language teachers are accustomed to receiving what they presently earn. Suppose someone wanted 1200 Francs. That would be 72000 Marks. I have always considered hiring a Frenchman or an Englishman to be purely a question of money. We are everywhere short of money.
I have been thinking about hiring Miss Mellinger, Miss Bernhardi, and Miss Nägelin as new teachers. I do not know Mr. Rutz well enough to make a binding decision. He has agreed to a trial period. He will be here for a trial period, and then I can decide what to do after I know him better.
What are our financial reserves for the kindergarten? The kindergarten is very desirable. Just think for a moment, though, what it will mean to have four new teachers and compare that with the figures in the Waldorf School Association account. It is now extremely difficult to undertake projects that go beyond absolute necessity. We could open the kindergarten if it would at least carry itself, that is, if there is money for it. The financing from the Waldorf School Association troubles me. In the event it becomes possible to have the kindergarten, we will open it. But we cannot overburden the Waldorf School Association budget with that. We must maintain the kindergarten separately.
There is one thing we need to discuss. I mean here that we need to discuss a situation only so we do not incite all possible opposition. That is the behavior between the sexes. I don’t want to imply that it is so terrible, but it cannot go on without limitation.
I don’t think it is so bad. K.S. appears to be one of the main participants. The girls say the boys are learning this from books or from movies. In any event, we will need to pay attention to it. I do not want to say anything more than that we should be aware of these things and try to get through them in a good way.
What I meant is that we should keep an eye on things and not let them get out of hand. There is not much we can do since we would only be throwing oil into the fire. Altogether, there are only a few children involved. I would, however, prohibit this trashy literature. I would also try to stop the boys from going to the movies, because it ruins their good taste. It certainly is related to the development of good taste.
A teacher: Are there any eurythmy exercises that are good for this age group?
Dr. Steiner: That is something we need to discuss in connection with the curriculum.
A teacher: The tenth-grade handwork will carry over into the eleventh- grade school year.
Dr. Steiner: A few weeks in that regard will not matter.
A music teacher: I would like to ask about learning to play the piano in connection with using both hands.
Dr. Steiner: That is a very correct perception. It is true that it is possible to correct left-handedness quite easily through practicing the piano. That is something we need to keep in mind. We should always correct left-handedness. However, in this connection, we should also take the child’s temperament into account so that melancholics give the right hand preference. You can easily find a tendency with them to play with the left hand. We should emphasize the left hand with the cholerics. With phlegmatics you should see to it that they use both hands in balance, and the same is true for the sanguines. That is what is important.
It would also be an advantage if you tried as much as possible to train the children away from a simply mechanical feeling when playing the piano, but have them learn to feel the keys as such. They should learn to feel the various places on the piano, up and down, right and left, so that they feel the piano itself. It is also a good idea to have them play without any written music, at least at the beginning.
There is a question about the closing ceremony.
Dr. Steiner: On Tuesday, May 30. We could then reopen on Tuesday, June 20.
Experimental psychology could be extended beyond that aspect of the soul that ends with death. We speak about immortality, and we should also speak about premortality.
The essay in Das Goetheanum, “Goethe the Seer and Schiller the Feeler,” is intended for the West.