I want to wish you all a good new year. I hope it brings us all the right balance of joy, challenge, humor and insight to enable us to keep growing and striving! Let it be a year in which we all find the courage to take one more decisive step on this remarkable path of becoming human.
Here at CCS, we are all looking forward with great anticipation to the coming February conferences. (If you haven’t registered, now’s the time!) Breaking the Mold begins on Saturday evening, February 14th. The second science teacher’s conference From Phenomena to Insight begins Tuesday evening, February 17th. Florian Osswald, from the Goetheanum in Switzerland will be joining us for Breaking the Mold, Wilfried Sommer, from Kassel, Germany, and Craig Holdrege from the Nature Institute in Ghent, NY will be in California for From Phenomena to Insight. Both conferences will focus on questions concerning adolescent education and how we can better meet and cultivate the will to learn in our students today. These are both working conferences and we hope that participants will find that they have the opportunity to practice forms of collaboration and social artistry called for in today’s classrooms, wherever they may be.
With Breaking the Mold, we are venturing into uncharted territory. The form is very open, allowing us to identify and explore the questions and hopes we have for our teaching. At the center of our endeavors will be the striving to articulate and flesh out qualities of classroom culture and lesson planning that serve to stimulate and support self-directed activity in our students. As background reading, we have chosen the last lecture Rudolf Steiner gave to the teachers of the first Waldorf School on October 16, 1923. One theme from this lecture that deserves attention has to do with the nature of intellectual activity and the challenge of cultivating what Rudolf Steiner called an “inwardly mobile understanding, an actively creative knowledge”. Keeping this in mind, we’ll open a collaborative inquiry into the question: “What would “school” look like if we thought it from the future rather than the past?
During From Phenomena to Insight, we will continue the work of deepening our understanding of the practice of Goethean science in relation to our teaching. Topics this year will include light and color, quantum theory, understanding whole organisms, and evolution. As background reading, we have chosen the 3rd lecture from Rudolf Steiner’s initial lectures to the prospective teachers of the first Waldorf School.
It promises to be an exciting week of intense exploration and dialogue, experimentation and thoughtful reflection that will give us the opportunity to kindle new initiative and enthusiasm for the wonderful challenge of teaching today.