Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
14 June 1920, Stuttgart
A teacher reports about the independent religious instruction in the beginning and intermediate classes. They discussed verses from the mystery plays and “Cherubinischen Wandersmann” (Cherubic wanderer).
Dr. Steiner: It is important that you don’t ignore the children’s level of feeling. Can you give a concrete example?
A teacher: In the upper class, I had the children recite, “Let me peacefully act in you.…”
Dr. Steiner: Do you think the children can work with that? Yes, then you can continue with it.
A teacher: Perhaps we could divide the courses.
Dr. Steiner: That is certainly true. I think that if we divided the beginning class in two and left the upper class as it is, things would go well in all three groups.
That is, grades 1-3, 4-6 and 7-9.
A teacher reports that he had used three hours for the preparatory instruction for the Youth Festival.
Dr. Steiner: Isn’t that too much for the students? How many are there?
A teacher: Twenty-six.
Dr. Steiner: It will be difficult to say anything until we have seen a real success. It is certainly good to try that. If it is not successful, then we will need to see how we can do it differently.
A teacher reports about the course in social understanding. There were two hours per week in the sixth through eighth grades, and also some for fifth grade.
Dr. Steiner: Of course, the age from eleven to fifteen is difficult, but this is a separate class.
A teacher: We are also visiting factories.
Dr. Steiner: If you do this really livingly, make it lively, and connect it with all the questions about life that arise at that age, then things will work. I would try to see if the children have too much to do, and then try to connect things to life concretely wherever possible.
I believe the children may be overworked now, and that will, of course, certainly come out in some odd place. It would be a good idea not to have eight hours on one day.
I don’t understand why it is necessary to spend three hours preparing for the Youth Festival. Why wasn’t one hour sufficient? In such questions, the amount of time is not so important as the time available for them. It would, perhaps, be better if we could limit those things we can definitely limit. We could do that for those children attending the Youth Festival by dropping the independent religious instruction as such and connecting it with the preparation for the Youth Festival.
A question is asked about who may attend the Sunday services.
Dr. Steiner: That is certainly a problem. We had never thought that anyone other than the parents would attend. Of course, having begun in one way, it is difficult to set a limit. How should we do that? Why did you admit people who are not parents at the school? If we allow K. in, there is no reason we should send other members away. Where does that begin and where does it end? It’s mostly people who think this is just one more tea party. We have also had other disturbances by people from outside the school being at the school. The thing that disturbed me most was that people who have absolutely nothing to do with the school became involved in discipline. I certainly have nothing against strictly limiting the admission to the services to the parents, no siblings and no tea parties. We did not create that service for that. Now there are no limits. We should admit only the parents or those whom the faculty recognizes as moral guardians.
A teacher asks again about an older member in connection with the Sunday services.
Dr. Steiner: She should stay away. You need to make that clear to her in an appropriate way. That is the problem. The moment we allow someone in who has no child, it becomes difficult to draw the line. Where we need to make exceptions is in the Anthroposophical Society, or we simply leave it as it is.
A teacher: That has been impossible to do.
Dr. Steiner: The exceptions should perhaps only be for once or twice, but they grow.
A teacher: It should not be strictly a school affair. It is separate from the school.
Dr. Steiner: We hold the Sunday services within the context of the school. They are a part of the school in just the same way as, for instance, a class for a particular craft would be. That would also be something special that would be within the school, but not a part of the school. We can do things only in that way, otherwise we will have all these problems. I was recently asked if we could arrange to have a Sunday service in H. for their anthroposophical youth. At the present, when we are under attack from every direction, that is total nonsense. There are already such areas of attack, such as when Mr. L. stands up and conducts a service for the anthroposophical children. He has already received permission to observe our service. I would certainly deny any association with a Sunday service outside the school. It only makes sense if there are a number of children receiving religious instruction from an anthroposophical basis and there is a Sunday service in our school for these children. Thus, we would never admit someone from outside the school.
A teacher: Then we should leave it that way.
Dr. Steiner: We could leave things that way, but there are exceptions. It is difficult to understand how we could turn someone away when we say that Mrs. G. said they could come. Then we would have to turn away Mr. Leinhas, but he is a member of the Waldorf School Association. Eventually this will become a kind of right and will include everything connected to the school in any way.
A teacher: Can we include the wives of faculty members?
Dr. Steiner: Of course, we cannot admit them. If they have no children, they also have no right to it.
A teacher reports about the deportment lessons. An attempt was made to teach the children a soul diet. The children brought all kinds of gossip into school.
Dr. Steiner: It is unavoidable that the anthroposophical children hear things at home. That is not dangerous as long as the parents are reasonable. The healthy attitude of the parents will keep the children from becoming too wild, even though those things may go in deeply. The things we have often had to struggle against, such as those you mentioned about O.R. may arise because the parents talk about silly things.
You will have noticed that the instruction is bearing fruit. I would mention that particularly in critical cases, you have had good success with stories that have a particular moral. If you are certain a child has a specific kind of misbehavior, then you can think of a story in which that type of misbehavior becomes absurd. Even with very young children, you can rid them of their greed for sweets and such if the mother tells a story that makes that behavior absurd. If you think of something along the lines of the dog who goes over the bridge with meat in his mouth, that strongly affects the child and has a lasting effect. That is particularly true if you allow some time to go by between the misbehavior and telling the story. Generally, you can achieve more when the child has slept, and you return to the subject the next day. To take up the behavior immediately after it occurred is the worst thing. That sounds very theosophical, but it is also quite true.
It would also be a good idea if we, as the entire faculty, could take up individual children, or groups of children, who are a source of concern and speak about them. That seems to me to be something very desirable. It requires only that we give some interest to it.
This morning I asked about P.I. He has disappeared. You remember that his father had told me certain complaints he had. It would be a good idea if we could compare what is happening with the boy to what the father is complaining about. The father appears to be a rather useless complainer, always blaming things. I will talk with the boy. It seems to me that the father always complains and picks up small things that bother the boy. Then he expands them into fantasies so that the boy does things the father suggests. The boy certainly does not know what he wants to do.
That is a major problem in every school because it is so difficult to keep everything under control. Precisely in such questions, we must have complete clarity within the faculty about the individual students.
Some things are very interesting when you look at the statistics in detail. I have looked at all the classes. It is striking to me that there are very few children lacking in talent and also few who are gifted, but there are a large number of average children. One sign of that is that they are all making good progress. I always want to differentiate between progress as such and the content of the progress. It is possible that some things have not gone forward, but the tempo is good.
In the fourth grade, there are actually only two slow children and three who are not really moving along. However, the others, at least according to their writing, are sufficiently talented children. It is possible that there may be a number of pranksters, but those whom we have called such are actually gifted pranksters. That certainly hits the nail on the head.
All that relates to something else. When we raise the general level of morality, then things will even out. A characteristic of the Waldorf School students is that they are terribly jealous about their teachers. They only like their own teacher, and that is the one who does things right. That is certainly the case. But, on the other hand, although that has its good side, it also has a darker side. The main thing is not to pay too much attention to it. You shouldn’t feel flattered when you hear such things. That is readily apparent during class when Mr. A. is no longer a human being. The children see him almost as a saint.
Why shouldn’t the children laugh? That is more in keeping with the school. If you know anything, you will know the most important people were pranksters. If you connect that with life, you will see it has another aspect.
It would be good if they were not so loud. The fourth grade is terribly loud. But, we should not take these things so seriously. Morally, it is very significant if you have changed a child’s obtrusive characteristic. For instance, if you can achieve that the fourth grade is not so loud, or if you can break B.Ch.’s habit of throwing his school bag ahead of him. If you can change such an obvious characteristic, regardless of whether you view that as good or bad behavior. It has great moral significance if you can break the boys in the fourth grade from all that terrible yelling. I would say it is a question of general didactic efficiency, how far the speaking in chorus goes. If you develop it too little, the social attitude suffers. That is formed through speaking in chorus. If you go too far, the capacity to comprehend will suffer because that has a strongly suggestive force. When they speak as a group, the children will be able to do things they otherwise have no idea of. It is the same as with a mob in the street. The younger they are, the more they can fool you. It is a good idea to randomly request them to do the same thing again individually, so that each has to pay attention to what the other says. When you are telling a story, you can give some sentences and then let the children continue. You should do things I have done, for instance, when I said, “You there, in the middle row at the left end, continue on,” “You there in the corner, continue,” so that they have to pay attention and that you can make the children move along with you. Speaking in chorus too much leads to laziness. The tendency to shout in music confirms that.
Particularly in the fourth grade, you should pay attention to the intangibles. I am speaking of the very real intangibles that exist in the tension within the entire class. For example, there is the ratio between the number of girls and boys. I don’t mean you have to change that. You need to take life as it is, but you should at least try to pay some attention to such things. If I am not mistaken, in the fourth grade there is the highest ratio of boys to girls. It occurs to me that the physiognomy of the class is related to the ratio of boys to girls. In Miss Lang’s case, the situation is different. You should pay attention to such things. In Miss Lang’s class, there are significantly fewer boys than girls. Today, there were certainly twice as many boys in the fourth grade, twenty-five boys and eleven girls. In the sixth grade, there are twelve boys and nineteen girls. That is something you should certainly pay attention to, don’t you agree? The fifth grade is interesting for its balance. Today there were twenty-five to twenty-five. (Speaking to Dr. von Heydebrand) Today was certainly a good opportunity, because you had brought some very interesting material to the class. That is the proper way to bring anthroposophy. Such things are what we should pay attention to.
A teacher: I believe I have perceived a relationship between the phlegmatic children and a deep voice, the sanguine children and a middle tone, and a higher voice with the cholerics. Is that correct?
Dr. Steiner: That is certainly true with the first two. The question regarding the higher voices is rather interesting. In general, it is true that phlegmatics have lower voices and the melancholic and sanguine children, middle tones. The sanguine children are among the highest voices. The choleric children spread out over all three. There must be some particular reason. Do you thing that tenors are mostly choleric? Certainly on the stage. The choleric element spreads out everywhere.
A teacher: How can we have such differing opinions about the temperament of a child?
Dr. Steiner: We cannot solve that question mathematically. We can certainly not speak in that way. In judging cases that lie near a boundary, it is possible that one person has one view and another, another view. We do not need to mathematically resolve them. The situation is such that when we see and understand a child in one way or another, we already intend to treat it in a particular way. In the end, the manner of treating something arises from an interaction. Don’t think you should discuss it.
There is a further question about temperaments.
Dr. Steiner: The choleric temperament becomes immediately annoyed by and angry about anything that interrupts its activity. When it is in a rhythmic experience, it becomes vexed and angry, but it will also become angry if it is involved in another experience and is disturbed. That is because rhythm inwardly connects with all of human nature. It is certainly the case that rhythm is more connected with human nature than anything else and that a strong rhythm lies at the base of cholerics, a rhythm that is usually somewhat defective. We can see that Napoleon was a choleric. In his case, the inner rhythm was compressed. With Napoleon you will find, on the one side, something that tended to grow larger than he grew. He remained a half-pint. His etheric body was larger than his physical body, and thus his organs were so compressed that all rhythmical things were shoved together and continuously disturbed one another. Since such a choleric temperament is based upon a continuous shortening of the rhythm, it lives within itself.
A teacher: Can we say that one sense predominates in such a temperament?
Dr. Steiner: In cholerics, you will probably generally find an abnormally developed sense of balance (Libra) and an external display of that in the ear canal through an autopsy. The experience of rhythm, the sense of balance and sense of movement, the interaction of these, rhythmic experience. In sanguines (Virgo), in connection with the sense of balance and sense of movement, the sense of movement predominates. In the same way, in melancholics (Leo) the sense of life predominates and in phlegmatics (Cancer) the sense of touch predominates physiologically because the touch bodies are embedded in small fat pads. That is physiologically demonstrable.
Now, it is not so that the touch bodies transmit sense impressions. What occurs is a reflex action, just like when you compress a rubber ball and allow it to spring back. The little warts are there to transmit it to the I, to transmit the impression in the etheric body to the I. That is the case with each of the senses.
A report is given about the eurythmy instruction.
Dr. Steiner: The enthusiasm for eurythmy is somewhat theoretical. We always have the desire for the Eurythmeum before us, but we do not have enough rooms. If we did more tone eurythmy, we would want to have someone who played the piano. That might be necessary. We have until now done relatively little tone eurythmy. Miss X. started a children’s tone eurythmy group in Dornach and has been very successful with it. One thing we should take note of is that except for those older children who are more talented, the younger children more easily learn eurythmy, that is, they more easily develop their grace through it so that in fact eurythmy has been quite fruitful. With the older children, it is more difficult because they don’t want to get used to properly springing up, but the younger children learn it quite gracefully. It would never occur to people that having the younger children spread their legs is something ugly. It is certainly not ugly, but I am convinced that would never occur to them.
A teacher reports about gymnastics. Some children are cutting the class.
Dr. Steiner: We certainly have to ask if those children are avoiding gymnastics, or if they only want to sneak away to fool around.
A teacher: M.T. is very graceful in eurythmy, but outside he is clumsy.
Dr. Steiner: Just in his case, I can imagine he is avoiding things in order to do something else.
A teacher: He is lazy.
Dr. Steiner: Since he is fooling around so much, he is certainly very active. He is a very good boy.
A teacher makes a remark.
Dr. Steiner: In my opinion, it is very good that O.N. copies the writing. You can see that in marriages where the husband often writes like the wife or vice versa.
There is a report about working in the garden and shop class. There are difficulties with some children who are unsocial and lagging and don’t want to help each other.
Dr. Steiner: Are there many? We can hardly do anything else than put all of them together, give them a certain area so they are ashamed when they don’t get anything done. They need something that would be obviously complete so that they will be ashamed of themselves when they finish only a quarter. But not a hint of ambition. What I said does not count upon ambition, but upon shame. We could also form a group that looks at what they have done in the presence of the children and brings some dissatisfaction to expression. I think that if Mrs. Molt and Mr. Hahn were called upon to look at what he did, then M.T. would certainly decide to work in order not to cause any words of displeasure. Another method would be that you take those children and keep them close to you during class, but that is difficult to do. We must make them feel ashamed when they do not finish. I would not arouse the feeling of ambition, but of shame.
A teacher asks if it might be possible to form a bookbinding shop.
Dr. Steiner: I am not certain if that is consistent with the school. Bookbinding is something normally contained in the curriculum for the continuing education school. We could, however, try binding. Is there someone here who could take up such a course for the continuing education school? One or two perhaps, since we can certainly develop bookbinding as an artistic craft. We had no transition from those beautiful old volumes, which are slowly disappearing, to these monstrous modern volumes. The things made now are mostly just trash. It is always intriguing to accomplish something through artistic craft. What are made today are really not books. We should make books again. That is something that falls within the realm of the crafts in the continuing education school.
As such, it is a simple job, but we certainly could accomplish something. Of course, we will need to master the technique. That would give the children something to improve upon. I mean, for instance, when it comes to gold leafing, there is certainly much that can be improved. What they need to learn is relatively simple, though. It is simply practice.
A teacher: I am not certain I could take that over.
Dr. Steiner: This is a question we must discuss in connection with the continuing education school.
A teacher: Should I give a few lessons in my class?
Dr. Steiner: Then we would come into the question of subject teachers. That is something we must avoid as long as we can. As long as someone is there who can do it properly, then that will do. A teacher: Two periods a week for handwork are not enough. Could we increase the number of hours?
Dr. Steiner: I notice that there is considerable ability in the handwork class. As soon as the Waldorf School Association provides us with many millions, we will be able to have many rooms and employ many teachers. Now we can hardly add more work time. We must accomplish everything else by dividing classes. Two hours per week should be sufficient. We must divide the classes and then that is only one hour.
A teacher: Should we take the boys and girls separately?
Dr. Steiner: I would not do that. I would prefer to begin by dividing the whole class into two halves. You let the boys do things other than knit in handwork, don’t you? The girls, of course, also. Nevertheless, I would not do it. I would not begin separating the boys and the girls. We need to find another solution.
A teacher: Should the preschool be like a kindergarten?
Dr. Steiner: The children have not started school yet. We cannot begin teaching them any subjects. You should occupy them with play. Certainly, they should play games. You can also tell stories in such a way that you are not teaching. But, definitely do not make any scholastic demands. Don’t expect them to be able to retell everything. I don’t think there is any need for an actual teaching goal there. We need to try to determine how we can best occupy the children. A teaching goal is not necessary. What you would do is play games, tell stories, and solve little riddles.
I would also not pedantically limit things. I would keep the children there until the parents pick them up. If possible, we could have them the whole day. If that is possible, why not? You could also try some eurythmy with them, but don’t spoil them. They shouldn’t be spoiled by anything else, either. As I said, the main thing is that you mother the children. Don’t be frivolous with them. You would not want to do anything academic with them. You can essentially do what you want.
In playing, the children show the same form as they will when they find their way into life. Children who play slowly will also be slow at the age of twenty and think slowly about all their experiences. Children who are superficial in play will also be superficial later. Children who say that they want to break open their toys to see what they look like inside will later become philosophers. That is the kind of thinking that overcomes the problems of life. In play, you can certainly do very much. You can urge a child who tends to play slowly, to play more quickly. You simply give that child games where some quickness is necessary.
There is a question about speaking in chorus.
Dr. Steiner: You can certainly do that. You can also tell fairy tales. There are many fairy tales you should not tell to six-year-olds. I don’t mean the sort of things that the Ethical Culture Association wants to eliminate, but the stories that are simply too complicated. I would not have the little children repeat the tales. However, if they want to tell something themselves, then listen to it. That is something you will have to wait on and see what happens.
A teacher asks about student reports.
Dr. Steiner: We spoke about that already. You will need to emphasize some things, but not pedantically. You should try to have a little bit of personal history at the beginning, and then go into each child individually. For instance, you could write something like, “E. reads well and speaks interestingly,” and such things, so that you create the text yourself. You create a sentence freely written in which you emphasize what is otherwise simply a subject. You may need to speak about all subjects, but perhaps not. I would print the report form so that it has only the heading, “Independent Waldorf School, Yearly Report for …” and then leave room for you to write.
Each of you will describe a student in your own way. If more than one teacher has had the child, then each should write something. It would, however, be preferable if the various statements were not too contradictory. For example, one of you says, “He reads quite well,” and another says something that supports that. The best is that the class teacher begins the description of the child and the others go from there. It certainly will not do if the class teacher writes, “He is an excellent boy,” and then someone else writes, “He is really a terror.” You will have to put things together.
A teacher asks about the reports from the religion teachers.
Dr. Steiner: Well, they will have to write their two cents worth, also. We must also include the religion teachers. Here, they will have to control themselves, or they won’t be able to write anything.
A teacher: Do we need to have the parents sign the reports?
Dr. Steiner: I would simply have an introduction that says that those parents who want to have their children return the following year should sign the report. If the children are not returning, then we don’t need to do anything, but if they are, the parents should sign it. We made it through without any midyear reports. Do the parents want a midyear report?
Yes, the children will simply report and bring their report cards. They will receive them again at the end of the year when the report is already a booklet. It can certainly be a booklet, but perforated. Suppose at the beginning a child is not very good, then you could write a criticism. Perhaps later the child is better and would want to have the previous report removed. The booklet can be perforated.
Then you can write something that is not praise. You cannot give these two children reports that say their writing was very good, but you could phrase it in a way that describes how well the child writes without criticism. With little M., I would write, “He has not accomplished more than copying simple words. He often adds unnecessary strokes to the letters.” Describe the children.
Another question is asked.
Dr. Steiner: We hold the child back. I would only differentiate between those moving on to the next class, and those we have determined will go into the remedial class if they return. I don’t want to keep children back. In the case of these two children, they came only after Christmas. Now that we have the remedial class, it is possible to place those children who will be unable to meet the goals of the class into the remedial class; for example, those who are slow learners. It is not a good idea to begin failing the others. We should have held them back when they began school. It would certainly be preferable not to fail children. I don’t see how we could do that. In your class, there are at most three others who might be held back, aside from those two who we could place in the remedial class. For now, you will have to bring them along by not excessively praising them, but also not criticizing. Simply state that they have not quite reached the goals of the class. It was our responsibility to place the children in the proper classes when they entered the school. It would not be wise to fail them. It is important that we discuss H. and how we will treat her. We had to put her in the third grade; after we promised that, we had to put her there. In general, we should not keep the children the entire year, especially those who come from other schools, and then let them fail. But, now they are in this situation. The children we need to carry along are really not so bad, but we should never put a child into a class that is too advanced.
A teacher: How should we place children from other schools? Should we go according to their age, or is there some other way?
Dr. Steiner: In the future, when the children come at the age of six and go through all the grades, then this will no longer happen. For now, we must attempt to put the children in the grade that is appropriate for them, both according to their age and to their ability.
A teacher asks if a child can be placed in the remedial class.
Dr. Steiner: I don’t think that is possible. Particularly in the first grade you should not go too far in separating children into the remedial class. I have seen the child, and you are right. But, on the other hand, not so very much is lost if a child still writes poorly in the first grade. If we can do it, it would be very good for all of the children like that if we could do the exercises I discussed previously with you.
If you have her do something like this (Dr. Steiner indicates an exercise): Reach your right hand over your head and grasp your left ear. Or perhaps you could have her draw things like a spiral going inward, a spiral going to the right, and another to the left. Then she will gain much. You need exercises that cause the children to enter more into thinking.
Then we have writing. There are some who write very poorly, and quite a number who are really first class. The children will not improve much when you want to make them learn to write better by improving their writing. You need to improve their dexterity; then they will learn to write better.
I don’t think you will be able to accomplish much with your efforts at improving bad handwriting simply by improving the writing. You should attempt to make the children better in form drawing. If they would learn to play the piano, their writing would improve. It is certainly a truism that this really poor handwriting first started when children’s toys became so extraordinarily materialistic. It is terrible that such a large number of toys are construction sets. They really are not toys at all because they are atomistic. If a child has a simple forge, then the child should learn to use it. I wish that children had toys that moved. This is all contained in Education of the Child. The toys today are terrible, and for that reason the children learn no dexterity and write poorly.
It would be enough, though we can’t do this at school, if we had those children who write poorly with their hands, draw simple forms with their feet. That has an effect upon the hand. They could draw small circles or semicircles or triangles with their feet. They should put a pencil between their toes and draw circles. That is something that is not easy to do, but very interesting. It is difficult to learn, but interesting to do. I think it would be interesting also to have them hold a stick with their toes and make figures in the sand outside. That has a strong effect upon the hands. You could have children pick up a handkerchief with their feet, rather than with their hands. That also has a strong effect. Now, I wouldn’t suggest that they should eat with their feet. You really shouldn’t do this with everything. You should try to work indirectly upon improving handwriting, developing dexterity in drawing and making forms. Try to have them draw complicated symmetrical forms. (Speaking to Mr. Baumann) Giving them a beat is good for developing reasoned and logical forms.
A teacher asks about writing with the left hand.
Dr. Steiner: In general, you will find that those children who have spiritual tendencies can write without difficulty as they will, left or right-handed. Children who are materialistically oriented will become addled by writing with both hands. There is a reason for right-handedness. In this materialistic age, children who are left-handed will become idiotic if they alternately use both hands. That is a very questionable thing to do in those circumstances that involve reasoning, but there is no problem in drawing. You can allow them to draw with either hand.
A teacher asks if they can tell fairy tales where bloody things occur.
Dr. Steiner: If the intent of the fairy tale is that the blood portrays blood, then that is inartistic. The significant point in a fairy tale is whether it is tasteful or not. No harm is done if there is blood in it. I once mentioned to a mother that if she absolutely avoided mentioning blood when she told her children fairy tales, they would become too tender. Later, they would faint when seeing a drop of blood. That is a deficiency in life. You shouldn’t make children incapable of facing life by setting up such a rule.
A teacher asks about L.G. in the third grade. She is nervous and stutters.
Dr. Steiner: It would help if you made up some exercises. I am uncertain whether we have any sentence exercises with k and p. You should have her do those and walk at the same time, and then she would also be able to say those sentences. It would also be a good idea for her to do k and p in eurythmy. However, don’t take such things too seriously because they usually disappear later in life.
A teacher asks about E.M. in the fifth grade, who also stutters.
Dr. Steiner: Yes, didn’t you present her to me before? I must have seen her. You will need to know what the problem is, whether it is organic or lying in the soul. It could be either. If it is a problem in the soul, then you could have her do specially formulated sentences. If it is an organic problem, then you would need to do something else. I will need to take a look at her tomorrow.
A teacher asks about A.W. in the fifth grade. He adds titles to his name and underlines “I.”
Dr. Steiner: That is a criminal type. He might become a forger. He has a clear tendency toward criminality. He can write much better. Clearly a criminal type. You will need to undertake a corrective action with his soul. You will have to force him to do three (not recorded), one after the other. I will take a look at him tomorrow. His father is infantile.
A teacher asks about a closing ceremony.
Dr. Steiner: I would make the closing ceremony such that, assuming I will be there, I would speak, then Mr. Molt, and then all of the teachers. We should make a kind of symphony of what we have to say to the children. There should be no student presentations. They can do that in the last monthly festival. We could review the past school year and then look toward a summer vacation that will awaken hope, then give a preview of the next school year. That is what I think.
A teacher mentions a woman who intends to make a film about the Waldorf School and three-folding.
Dr. Steiner: I don’t have any idea what to do here. If, for example, someone wants to photograph the buildings, that will certainly hurt nothing. There is nothing wrong with that. If she wants to make a film publicizing the Waldorf School, we would have nothing against showing that publicly, since it is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is that the Waldorf School be properly run. We are not responsible for what she photographs any more than you are responsible for what occurs if you are walking along the street and someone offers you a ride. We can tell her we will do what we can do, but there is nothing we can do. She may want to photograph the eurythmy lessons. I did that in Dornach, but it was not very good. That is a technical question. I don’t think much will come of it. She wants to film the three-folding? I was thinking, why shouldn’t the film contrast something good with something bad? We certainly can have no influence if she creates a scene in the film where two people speak about the Waldorf School, but we do not need to let her into the classrooms. She can certainly not demand that we allow her to photograph anything more than a public eurythmy performance by the children. Since she wants to publicize eurythmy, that would be her contribution to the members’ work. It is rather senseless if she wants to film the classes. She could film any school, there is nothing particular to see. She could, for example, record that terrible yelling in the fourth grade.
It would certainly not be proper to suppress offhandedly, due to false modesty, somebody who wants to publicize three-folding and the school. It would be better if we could hinder everything that is tasteless, but, due to false modesty, I would be hesitant to hinder anything. We have much interest in making the school as perfect as possible, but there is certainly nothing to be gained by preventing someone from photographing it. If she had set up and filmed my lecture, what could I have done against that?
A question is asked regarding the trip to Dornach for the First Class of the Anthroposophical University of Spiritual Science (Sept. 26–Oct. 16, 1920).
Dr. Steiner: Well, you see, those things are not so easy. We want to have a course this fall where various people present lectures. We have invited Stein and Stockmeyer, and it would, of course, have been nice if many could come. But, finding lodging in Dornach is just as difficult as in Stuttgart. It is not so easy to invite people, the exchange problems, and so forth. It is, however, possible, if the exchange problems are resolved by then, that we could find room for a number of people. My desire is that everyone coming from the Entente will pay for two others coming from Central Europe. However, that does not need to be too cozy. We could do it as we did for the physicians’ course, that would be possible. However, you need to remember that we don’t have rich people in Dornach and Basel.
A teacher remarks that there are also difficulties in obtaining a visa.
Dr. Steiner: Generally, when people travel to Switzerland for vacation, they can obtain a visa. You only need to be careful that you are not going for another reason. You cannot travel in Switzerland in order to earn money. We are treated terribly there. Now they allow people to move there so that they will pay taxes. Otherwise, you cannot. We are being hit very hard. That is one of the major problems we have with the Goetheanum. If there is not another attitude toward the Goetheanum, people outside Switzerland will soon be unable to visit it.
There was some discussion about reproductions of the paintings in the cupola of the Goetheanum.
Dr. Steiner: What was painted in color in the cupola needs to be understood from the colors. If you reproduced it photographically, you could achieve something only if you enlarged it to the same size as in the cupola. It is just not something we can reproduce simply. The less the pictures correspond to those in the cupola, the better it is. Black and white only hints at something. It cries for color. I would never agree with those inartistic reproductions. They are only surrogates. I do not want to have any color photographs of the cupola paintings. The reproductions should not stand by themselves. I want to handle that so that what is not important is what is given.
It is the same with the glass windows. If you attempted to achieve something through reproductions, I would be against it. You should not attempt to reproduce such things exactly. It is not desirable that you reproduce a piece of music through some deceptively imitative phonograph record. I do not want that. I do not want to have a modern, technical human being. The way these paintings appear in the reproductions never reproduces them. The reproductions contain only what is novel, not what is important. You then have a feeling that this or that color must be there. That reminds me of something you can find in The Education of the Child — namely that you should not give children beautifully made dolls, but only those made from a handkerchief.