The year 1924 in which these lectures were given was the last of Rudolf Steiner's active life as a lecturer and was indeed cut short by illness at the end of September. But during those nine months he gave an almost unbelievable variety of lectures, including courses on Life after Death, on Karmic relations, on Truth and Error in Spiritual Investigation, on Christian Festivals, on Eurythmy in its two aspects as interpreter of both Speech and Music, on Speech and Drama, on Medicine (for Doctors) on Theology (for Priests) and on Agriculture (for Farmers). Many of these were given in Dornach in the so-called “Carpenter's Shop” where work had been done for the first Goetheanum and close to which the new Goetheanum was rising from the ashes of the old. Others, however, were given in places as far apart as Stuttgart, Berne, Prague, Koberwitz, Paris, Arnheim, Torquay and London.
In addition to the great variety of subjects listed above were five courses on Education, given in five different places, of which that here printed was the penultimate, the last being the course for English teachers in Torquay, published under the title The Kingdom of Childhood.
When Steiner was in Torquay for this last course, he remarked to the teachers for whom he gave it that the English do not like long names and titles. The full German title of the lectures in this volume is The Educational Value of the Knowledge of Man and the Cultural Value of Education. Prompted, as it may be said, by Rudolf Steiner himself the Translator and Publishers have ventured to give them the shorter title of Human Values in Education. For this is their constantly recurring theme. We make educational programmes and systems but in making them we constantly forget the human spiritual and cultural values by which the child, the teacher and civilisation itself can only truly live. In Steiner's view it is man who gives significance to the world: and the lectures contain the terrible indictment that “the world significance of modern education is that it is gradually undermining the significance of the world.” The lectures show the way to restoring to man the significance of the world and to the world the significance of man.