The Renewal of Education
I. Spiritual Science and Modern Education
20 April 1920, Basel
Today I want to present a preview of the direction I will take in the following lectures. I ask you not to conclude from the way my topic is phrased that I, like some radical, am implying that the way education has developed during the nineteenth century until now is worthless. Please do not think I believe that education has been waiting for spiritual science to give it life. That is not my intent. On the contrary, I am starting from a very different position.
I am thoroughly convinced that education as it developed during the nineteenth century, with so many exemplary representatives, and as it influences the activities of the present, can now achieve a particular level of perfection. I believe that those who today, for one reason or another, need to look about and understand the various sciences in theory and practice, who need to comprehend the effects they have upon life, and who are also concerned with education will need to compare education to the other sciences. Through that comparison we may arrive at an unusual conclusion, but I want to express my own experience. We could conclude that modern education contains many valuable principles that should be a part of today’s education. When we look upon the desires and practice required by education today, we get only the most favorable impression. It is with just that impression that I wish to begin by stating that I do not at all underestimate a great man such as Herbart. I have learned a great deal about Herbart’s perspective on education. I spent the first half of my life, until I was about thirty, in Austria. During that period Herbart’s pedagogy was the underlying principle for all public schools, as they were then under the direction of Exner. Professors at the Austrian universities also taught Herbart’s pedagogy, so during the course of my life I have encountered his educational model in all its details. However, if I extend my considerations beyond the pedagogy proposed by Herbart to those of other perspectives, many of which affect the most modern education, then I would also have to say that there is much we can joyfully receive in the realm of pedagogical thought and feeling. This is a stream of thought we encounter when we look at education as a very important part of our modern civilization.
On the other hand, pedagogy, the whole art of teaching and educational thinking, has never been under such broad criticism as it is today, though criticism has always existed. Both lay people and professionals criticize education in a rather blunt manner, yet it is often defended itself in clumsy ways. Listen to everything said by people who, for instance, establish country boarding schools3 and speak of a complete renewal of education. Then follow the way a broad portion of the population takes up such discussions. Pedagogues try to defend how their practices developed and how they are generally sustained. When we do this, we must also admit that, despite the marvelous achievements of our modern science of education, when we look at what is actually done in the schools, this criticism is not completely unfounded.
We find ourselves caught between these two perspectives, but there is a third that is much more comprehensive. I do not believe I will go beyond the limits of an introductory lecture on education if I draw your attention to this particular viewpoint. Though it may have been less noticeable here in Switzerland, throughout Europe we have gone through a very difficult time during the past five or six years. Yet even here in Switzerland you have to admit that this was a time that would have been unimaginable ten years ago. We need only ask ourselves whether ten years ago people could have dreamed that what was to spread over Europe was even possible. We should also not forget the damage that resulted from the terrible experiences during the war: chaos in social relationships throughout a major portion of Europe. Those who believe that this chaos is improving and that life will be better in the near future are only deceiving themselves. We are only at the beginning of these chaotic relationships. We need to ask whether it is only external situations that have caused this social chaos in Europe. If we look at the situation dispassionately, we will realize that social relationships cannot be the cause, since these relationships were created by human beings. The cause must lie with the people.
The problem is that today, although everywhere we hear demands for more “social relationships”4within our society, people have so little social and so much antisocial feeling. We cannot help but admit that this has arisen in spite of all the marvelous pedagogical principles, in spite of all the achievements that deserve recognition, in spite of everything that has been done with the best intent. In spite of all that, we have not managed to bring people to a point where today they can encounter one another with genuine understanding. We see before us a period where people are certainly not stingy with their praise for how much we have achieved; but during this same time, we also see that things have developed to a point of absurdity. A desire must arise in the hearts of at least some people to find out whether our education has created that group that is so annoying in Europe today.
If we look more closely, we discover we can do nothing other than honor those great figures of nineteenth-century pedagogy: Herbart, Ziller, Diesterweg, Pestalozzi, and so forth — I don’t need to name them all for you. On the other hand, we must admit that although we have an exemplary science of education, there is more to teaching than simply exemplary science. In teaching, what is particularly important is the ability to transform that science into a genuine art; then education becomes an art.
To be clearer, if we compare education with art, we could have wonderful aesthetics or a marvelous understanding of how to do something in music, sculpture, or painting. That is, the science of painting, sculpting, or composition could be marvelous, but it is something different to be able to practice that science. We might even say that those who practice the arts — sculptors, painters, or musicians — often have real antipathy toward the “scientific” principles people have thought up. It is not important for these people that such principles enter their conceptual life. For them, it is important that such principles live in their deeds, in their entire beings, and that those principles become living entities within them. In education, the situation is not quite the same as in other artistic sciences. To educate, we must be much more conscious, much more filled with concepts than, for instance, those concerned solely with the practices of painting, music, or sculpture. Nevertheless what we understand to be correct in education must still go on to fill our entire being if we are to be genuine pedagogical artists.
In this course, I want to speak about the help spiritual science can give to education. It is not that I think every principle of pedagogical science needs to be reformed. Rather I believe that in order to use these principles in a truly practical way, whether individually or in a large class, we need to enliven and permeate them with what only spiritual science can provide. Spiritual science wants to be included into all areas of modern scientific understanding. Spiritual science can refresh everything for which our modern culture strives. Although many people believe that it is now in the process of returning to idealism, our modern culture arose out of materialism. It arose out of the materialism of the last half of the nineteenth century, and it is still imbedded in it. All areas of human mental activity — we can almost say all areas of human culture — have taken shape through the materialistic attitude of that time. This materialistic attitude has not been visible in the same degree in every area, but it has had the most damaging effects upon education.
That is what I wanted to say today as an introduction. It is the basic perspective of my lectures. Spiritual science is often misunderstood, and I find it necessary to indicate, at least in a few words, how we can correct that misunderstanding. Before I can show you what spiritual science can contribute to the proper use of pedagogical science, how it can transform pedagogical knowledge into pedagogical activity, I first need to speak in detail about some of the misunderstandings about spiritual science. I do not want to speak in abstractions and will therefore begin as concretely as possible.
Many of you may have heard that it is not as easy to consider the human being through spiritual science as it is through modern anthropology. Modern anthropology has greatly simplified the questions about the human being that confront us. People easily believe it is a kind of superstition when they hear that spiritual science believes we can view the human being as consisting of supersensible aspects. They consider it superstition when we look at growing children and see not only the general development of human beings, but also, broadly speaking, the development of four aspects of the human being.
With a modern worldview based upon our progressive understanding of nature, it is easy to laugh when we hear that spiritual science says the human being consists of a physical, etheric, and astral body, and a special I-being. I can well understand this laughter. People laugh about such things because they misunderstand. Nevertheless they laugh at the cost of genuine further development of humanity and at the cost of an art of education that truly sees the human being. I need to say you are right when you hear that here and there, in some cultlike way, Theosophists sit together while someone who has read something in a book or heard something in a lecture talks about the human being consisting of a physical, etheric, and astral body, and an I. That would be a highly unfruitful activity, and you have a certain right to laugh about it. If such people spread such things out of a religious conviction, they will achieve nothing real for human culture or human life. We can achieve something positive only when we consider such things as guidelines for enriching life, and not as abstract concepts of the human being or the growing child.
If we remain with the most abstract concepts, we can say that it is a good principle of education to help children develop according to their individuality. In that case, we should study the forces that arise and develop in the human being during childhood, and we should use education to develop that which desires to be expressed through human nature. This is certainly a wonderful principle, but we must not allow it to remain abstract. It is significant only when we genuinely bring it into life, when we consider the human being from the first years until adulthood in such a way that we can actually see those forces develop.
If we take only the concept of the human being offered by modern anthropology, the one you can learn from science, we simply will not notice what becomes visible in a human being, what wants to develop. I am only suggesting some guidelines when I say that the human being consists of a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and an I. What I am saying is that you can use the method of observation common in modern materialistic natural sciences only for the physical body. You also need another approach for observing human beings. You need to see them as much more complicated and develop an eye for how human nature develops. Human nature is not completely contained within purely natural laws, and we can comprehend it only through its higher aspects.
What does it mean when I say the human being consists of four aspects? I am pointing to something that is pretty obvious to every teacher who has learned about psychology. It is very well known, and yet a genuinely deep view of the entire human being does not flow from that understanding. Everyone knows how many psychologists, including educational psychologists, speak about the fact that we have to look at the human soul — I need to be cautious here — as consisting of three aspects, thinking, feeling, and willing. You certainly know how much discussion there was in the nineteenth century about whether the will came first and thinking developed out of it, or whether thinking or imagining was the basis. For example, you know that in Herbart’s pedagogy there is a certain predominance of intellectualism; from that perspective, the will results only from the desires of imagination, and so forth. However, when you stand back from the whole discussion about thinking, feeling, and willing, you will notice that something is missing: a true picture of human nature. Spiritual science wants to provide the way to obtain that genuine view of human nature. Spiritual science wants people to acquire the capacity to view human nature in its totality.
If we are not totally crass materialists, we often speak about the fact that the human being is not only a physical body but also a soul. To this soul we ascribe thinking, feeling, and willing. Perhaps you are familiar with the current discussions that ultimately lead to the statement that it is impossible to comprehend how the soul is connected with the physical body and how the soul affects the body, and the body, the soul. Nearly everyone who takes this question seriously undergoes a form of suffering, but they do not realize that the way the question is normally presented is simply not correct. They do not realize that perhaps we need to change the entire viewpoint.
When we look at the developing child, we can understand how the soul develops out of the physical body. Those who have a sense of outer form see how the child develops in such wonderful and mysterious ways. They can also see that when we follow the child’s growth from day to day in the first weeks of life, and then from week to week, month to month, year to year throughout the child’s life, that development speaks strongly to our sense of humanity. Those who watch this transformation and have a sense of how the soul is progressing must pose the question, “How is what develops as the soul connected with the physical body as we see it revealed externally?” It is clear that the soul is active within the body, particularly in children. Modern science, however, is not strong enough, we might say. Its weapons are dull and cannot properly approach the question of how the soul works within the physical. Certain phenomena are simply not objectively observed by modern science; yet when we observe a child’s first years of life, we see things that give us a new riddle each day. We need only to look.
The child cuts its first baby teeth about the age of one or sometimes a little later; these baby teeth fall out and are replaced by the permanent teeth around the age of seven. But what do they really mean, these facts modern science describes in detail everywhere? What do they suggest about the development of the human being? Modern science cannot research that. If we go on, we see that growing children develop until the age of puberty. We see that puberty causes a complete revolution in the child’s body and soul. If we think about elementary school, we realize that public education in elementary school encompasses the most important human developmental period, which begins with the change of teeth and ends with puberty. However, science and modern life in general cannot penetrate what actually occurs in this realm, which we do not separate into “body” and “soul,” but instead call the soul-body aspect.
In the end it is important to learn a more exact and intimate way of observing human nature. Try looking a little more closely. A year or so after birth, the human organism forms the first teeth, not out of just the upper or lower jaw, but out of the entire organism. This is also repeated around the age of seven. Here we can see that the human organism needs a much longer time to express its hardest structure, the teeth, than it needed to produce the baby teeth in early childhood.
You can see that you should use more than modern natural science to look at something connected with the body. At the same time, you need to see how the entire nature of the human being, including its soul aspects, changes with every week from the eruption of the baby teeth to that of the permanent teeth. You can see that other forces contained within human nature affect the soul during the period from the change of teeth until puberty than those that affect it later. We need to consider human beings in their entirety, and then we will find that the life of the soul exists in an entirely different way before the change of teeth than it does afterward. If we have some sense of what actually happens following the change of teeth, it follows that if we look at thinking, at the intellectual nature of the human being, we will need to understand what happens to human intellectual nature, to our imaginative nature, before and during the change of teeth! If we consider this without prejudice, we have to admit that a great deal happens. Jean Paul,8 who thought a great deal about education, properly noted that the first years of life have more impact upon a human being than three years at the university. (At that time, there were only three.) It is certainly true that when we look at the configuration of the intellect, the most important years for forming the human intellect, for forming the capacity to reason, are those first years of life before the change of teeth.
We should also try to gain a genuine sense of what changes in the soul. Try remembering, and see how far back clear memories reach. Then think about how little we remember prior to the change of teeth; that is, how little people can collect concepts to retain in their memory before the change of teeth. We can thus conclude that the less the organism has to use those strong forces to create the adult teeth, the more a human being will be able to form its thoughts into firm pictures that can remain in the memory.
Today I only want to sketch the situation. From what I just said, you can see that there is something that runs parallel with those forces in the body that in a certain sense culminate in producing the second set of teeth. In tandem with this process, there is a firming of those forces in the soul that transform the pictures we would otherwise lose into firmly contoured concepts, that remain as a treasure in the human soul. I would like to simply suggest an idea today that you will see to be true in the next days. We need to ask ourselves: Can those forces that give rise to the teeth be in some way connected to the pictorial aspects of thinking? Isn’t it as though the soul needs to give the child’s body the use of certain bodily forces during the first seven years, until the change of teeth, so that the teeth can form? When they are complete, a metamorphosis occurs and the child transforms these forces so that they become forces for conceptualization in the soul. Can we not see how the soul, the conceptualizing soul, works to form the teeth? When the formation of teeth, that is, when the use of certain soul forces in the conceptualizing soul is finished, that is, after the teeth have erupted, these same forces begin to affect the soul.
Think for a moment how little modern science tends to look at such metamorphoses. People rack their brains trying to determine the connection between body and soul. What we need to do first, though, is to look at the area where the soul acts upon the body. We may ask if it is conceptualization within the soul that expresses itself by forming teeth. Can we not see how the soul affects the body and recognize that it is then spared expressing that activity in another way, in a way that relates purely to the soul? It is important that we arrive at truly healthy ideas, ideas people had before materialism became so widespread. It is important that we return to actually seeing how the spirit-soul affects the physical body. It is strange but true: materialism is slowly losing the capacity to understand matter and its phenomena. It is not simply that materialists are losing connection with the spirit; the true tragedy is that they are condemned to not understanding matter. Materialism is unable to look at the physical body as relating to the same forces that later enable us to remember, that are active later in our thoughts, that are the same forces active in the physical formation of the teeth. It is not simply that materialism has lost sight of the spiritual; it has lost sight of the physical to an even greater extent in that it cannot see how the spirit-soul works upon the body.
Spiritual science wants to contribute a proper understanding of what works upon human beings. Materialism is in truth condemned to not understanding matter. Matter is what the spirit continuously works upon, and the materialistic perspective cannot follow that work in the human spirit-soul. All of us can certainly believe that it would cause enormous damage if materialism completely lost the spiritual world of thought and human beings had to cease thinking, if human beings had to become animals. No one can admit that when we think, we are actually engaged in some form of spirituality. That, however, is the fate of materialists, to not understand the physical.
The same forces that are active in conceptualizing, in picturing our world, work to form our teeth. If you know that, then you can observe children in a much different way. Most of all, you can observe them differently — not only intellectually; you encounter children with your feelings, with your perception, and with your will in a very different way. In the following lectures you will see how these things that really arise from the spirit-soul are not simply abstract principles, but elements we can directly apply in the present.
During elementary school, we see that important period in the life of growing children where memory is active, where we can count upon memory, where it is so endlessly important to children that they have a teacher in whom they can sense an authority, yet an authority freely chosen by the children. To not admit that one of the basic forces and basic needs of children from the ages of six or seven until fourteen or fifteen is the desire to have an authority in their lives is to completely misunderstand human nature. We will show here how this kind of authority, freely chosen through the children’s perception, an authority outside but alongside the children, is one of the most important aspects of human life.
Someone who has sharpened their vision to see a certain connection between the soul-spirit and the physical body until the change of teeth will also notice something extraordinarily important for the following period. We, of course, need a certain amount of time to grow our first baby teeth. That is a relatively short time. We then need a longer period to exchange those first teeth for permanent teeth. In the course of these lectures, we will hear how the permanent teeth have a much closer connection with the individual than the baby teeth, which are based more upon heredity. This is true not only with teeth; there is another place where we, in a certain way, reproduce those things we have received through heredity out of our own nature. This principle is also true for human speech.
At this point I would like to introduce something that I will describe more fully in the following lectures: the secret of the development of human speech is hidden in its most important aspects from the entirety of modern science. People are unaware that just as we receive our first teeth through a kind of inheritance from our parents, we receive language through the influences of our external surroundings. That is, we receive language through the principle of imitation, which, however, becomes an organic principle.
In the first years of our lives, we learn to speak from our surroundings. However, the language we learn then, that we speak until the age of four, five, or six, has the same relationship to the entire human being as baby teeth have to the entire human being. What people speak after they have reached the age of puberty, that is, after the age of fourteen or fifteen, what is active within them as they speak is something they achieve for a second time. It is something they very recently achieved, something they accomplished for themselves in just the same way that they grew their second set of teeth. In boys, we can see this externally in their change of voice. In girls, the development is more inward. It is nevertheless present. Since these forces act differently upon the larynx of a boy, they are externally visible. This is a revelation of what occurs in the entire human being during these important elementary-school years, not simply in the human body nor in the human soul, but in the entire soul-body, in the body-soul. It occurs continuously from year to year, from month to month, and is connected with the inner development of what we already learned as language from our environment during our early childhood. Those who understand how the spirit-soul acts upon the human being until the age of fourteen or fifteen, those who can, through a direct, instinctive intuition, observe elementary school children, will see this directly. Such a person might say that here we have a student; he makes throaty sounds in this way, sounds with his lips in this way, and with the gums in this way. This student can make sounds with his gums more easily than lip sounds and so forth. This can become a very intensive science; however, it is a science that points in all its details to what develops as a soul-body or body-soul in the child.
Those capable of observing them can see the transformations that speech undergoes between the ages of seven and fifteen, which people normally do not notice, as accomplished by the soul acting upon language. This is something that is lost if you have learned to observe without the help of spiritual science. Those who can observe this will then find that in the first years of life until the change of teeth, conceptualization was completely occupied with the forming our teeth; after the change of teeth, it can then act to form itself. At that time conceptualization, our ability to picture our thoughts, in a sense pulls back from the physical body and becomes something independent in the soul. Later, from the change of teeth until puberty, although this can sometimes be seen earlier, it is what we call the will that withdraws from the entirety of the child and becomes localized in the larynx, in the organs of speech. Just as the imaginative life withdraws and becomes an independent part of the soul, in the same way around the age of fourteen or fifteen the element of will localizes and concentrates in what becomes speech and its associated organs. The transformation a boy’s larynx undergoes is where the will culminates. We will speak more about the corresponding phenomenon in girls.
In other words, if we look at things from a spiritual-scientific perspective, conceptualization and will cease to be so abstract. We cannot, of course, form a connection between these abstractions and a quite differently formed body. If, however, we learn to observe and recognize how very different the nature of a child is, where we see how the child speaks quite differently with the lips than with the gums and the throaty sounds are quite different also, we can recognize how the forces of conceptualization work in the physical body during the first seven years of life. We can recognize the external, physical revelation of a spirit-soul aspect and to recognize that the will is localized in the larynx. We can learn to observe how will enters human speech. The will is thus developed and conceptualization is no longer abstract, but something we can observe in the real processes of life. In much the same way, we observe gravity in water falling from the mountains and see the speed of the flowing water in the weight of the water meeting its resistances. Thus we can learn to recognize how the body develops from the spirit-soul week by week when we first learn to observe that spirit-soul in its work upon the body.
In what I have just said, you can see guidelines for observing the development of the human being. Spiritual science speaks of human nature in a somewhat difficult and complicated way. You can contrast that with modern science, which simply does not take into account the fact that the human being is a wonderful being that draws into itself the rhythms of the entire world, that is an entire world in itself, that holds within itself a microcosm corresponding to a macrocosm. If I say the human being consists of a physical body and also an etheric body, that means you should learn to observe how the physical body develops during the first seven years of childhood. But you should learn this not only on corpses — not only anatomically or physiologically. You should learn to observe how human beings are soul-spirit and how this soul-spirit, whether we call it an etheric body or something else, acts upon the physical body. In that way you can learn to recognize how it forms the physical body by forming the teeth that arise out of the entire body, and then how it works upon its conceptualizations so that they can remain. Thus we can say that at the time of the change of teeth, the etheric body is born. Until the change of teeth, it is still active in the physical body and forms what culminates in the change of teeth. Then it becomes free and works upon the formation of concepts that can remain in memory. Later we speak of an independent I primarily concentrated in the will but which we can perceive in the development of speech when we look in the proper way. We can recognize the will if we do not simply compare it with conceptualization, but instead see it in its activities in the development of speech, that is, in a concrete form. In that development of will, we recognize the development of the I, which needs to be followed further. But we see something lying between the etheric body and the I that is expressed through speech. This is particularly important to observe educationally in the early years of elementary school.
There we see the actual soul aspect of the human being. When the child begins elementary school and is still under the influences of the forces involved in the change of teeth, the intellectual aspect is not yet present. However, by becoming more localized, the will aspect becomes from week to week and from month to month more enclosed in the body during the period of elementary school. If you know that, you will include in the elementary school curriculum those things lying in the proper direction to support the development of the will in the intellect. If you understand what will and intellect are, and can observe how from month to month and from year to year the will becomes localized in the child’s speech, and the intellect that has withdrawn into the spirit-soul; if you understand how these interact, you will understand what you must do in teaching the children for their physical and soul upbringing. Then you will consider education an art and will recognize that you first need to understand the material, human nature. Just as a sculptor has clay and works with it the way a painter works with colors, so must an artist in education understand how to work the will into the intellect. A pedagogical artist must understand how to act in order to create the proper interpenetration, the proper artistic form, of the intellect that was born at the age of seven, and how to approach the will that is to develop through the hands of the elementary school teacher until puberty.
Discussion Following Lecture One
It is not possible to say everything in the first lecture, and I mentioned many things only as a sort of introduction; later I will present them in more detail. Therefore there may be some questions that I will answer in their full context in subsequent lectures. Nevertheless I would like to ask if you have any questions today. Perhaps you can write your questions down, and I will attempt to answer them in later lectures. That way I can answer them within the full context. It is not at all superfluous to pose such questions today, or perhaps, even better, tomorrow, after you have had some time to think.
I have a written question here asking how to handle a boy in the third developmental stage of childhood, that is, after puberty, who is one-sidedly gifted in mathematics and the natural sciences, but who has absolutely no talent for foreign languages.
That question is related to a great deal that I will discuss in detail later. In the next lectures, I will discuss these special but one-sided talents and show how you can place them in the service of developing the entire human being. I will also show how you can harmonize them by proceeding in a particular way pedagogically. Nevertheless I would like to say something about it now.
There are some girls who have this kind of talent, but it happens so seldom that you can often find complete biographies of these women because they then became famous mathematicians. The one-sided talent for mathematics and natural sciences that we find in boys is generally based upon the fact that an organ that appears quite unimportant is very subtly developed in these young men. Perhaps some of you are aware of such families as the Bernoulli family,1 in which individual members of the family were particularly gifted in mathematics over a period of eight generations. In another famous case, we have the Bach family,2 which produced a large number of “little Bachs” who were extremely talented with regard to music. I should also mention that there are many boys who are highly talented with regard to the physical and mathematical sciences, but whom we cannot observe so well because their talents lie more in the direction of botany and zoology. At the same time, they are also highly talented in the area of mineralogy, but are not particularly gifted in observing the physical characteristics of minerals.
Such things can take on many different nuances. In these boys, the three semicircular canals in the human ear are particularly well developed. It may be that these three tiny vertical bones within the human ear are so arranged that they bring with them a highly developed sense of space and numbers. In other cases, they are much less well developed. These talents are connected with that development. If the human organism is particularly well developed in that way, a special talent arises out of the ear.
Within the organ of hearing are all the organs necessary for hearing, but these are further connected with the organs for speaking, for balance, and for a sense of numbers. In a certain sense, they all meld together. If these small bones that appear as three semicircular canals within the ear are one-sidedly developed within a person, then that development occurs at the cost of the development for hearing the sounds in speech and so forth, namely, for hearing the proper structure of language. This weakens the talent for hearing language, with the result that particularly those children who are very gifted in mathematics have less talent in language. The only thing we can do with such children is to begin teaching them language as soon as we notice that they are particularly gifted in mathematics. We teach them language without placing a strong value upon the intellectual aspect, that is, upon grammar. Rather we teach them language through the rhythm of the language itself. If you have the children memorize things without going into the actual content, but so that they simply enjoy the rhythm of the foreign language in short poems, then teach them the content through the sounds and what the sounds carry within them, you will see, if you begin this early enough, that these children will overcome this one-sidedness.
As we have shown in practice at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, it is absolutely necessary to avoid beginning with an intellectually oriented education when children are seven or eight. Instead we need to work from the more artistic aspect. We do not teach writing in an intellectual way, by working with the forms of the letters. Instead we teach it by beginning with a kind of primitive drawing. In that way, we develop the will more than the intellect, whereas the common way of teaching writing today speaks too strongly to the intellect. Thus we attempt to engage the entire human being. In that way, the individual one-sided talents balance out.
If you ask how to awaken the memory for correct spelling, my answer would be that you need to observe the differences in human strengths during the three periods of human life, that is, until the change of teeth, until puberty, and then after puberty until the age of twenty. You need to develop a sense for observing these three periods of life and the differences in the specific forces of life that develop. Then you will notice that people who, until the age of fifteen, have absolutely no sense of correct spelling or correct grammar will develop it if they are treated in the way I just mentioned. If you draw their attention to the rhythm of the language, they will develop this sense out of the depths of their souls after the age of fifteen.
This is why it would be totally inappropriate to keep children who have well-developed talents from progressing through the grades simply because they do not demonstrate any particular talent for grammar. If you look at what Goethe wrote as a young boy and then see that when he was older, he stood in a very exclusive group with regard to grammar, you will think about him very differently than the way people usually think about a boy or girl who cannot spell properly at the age of thirteen or so. Instead of wringing our hands about how poorly such children spell and continually asking what we should do to teach them to spell, it would be much better to think about what capacities the children actually have, seek out those special talents, and then find a way to teach the children what they need to learn from those talents.
You will see that if you emphasize the artistic element when teaching children who are one-sidedly gifted in mathematics, you will always achieve a balance.