Robert Thomas, 'Das Goetheanum', May 2018
The International Forum for Steiner Waldorf Education presented their core values “ committed to the human being” to the Czech public in May 2018, 50 years after the Prague Spring.
Eine Charta der Internationalen Konferenz der Waldorfpädagogischen Bewegung und der International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education mit einer radikalen Position in Bezug auf den Angriff, den die Digitalisierung für das Bildungswesen bedeutet, sollte bald folgen. In den Gesprächen wurde klar, dass Frühkindheit wie Kindheit entsprechend gefördert werden sollen, damit eine Medienmündigkeit für Jugendliche ermöglicht wird. Es wurde eindrücklich gezeigt, wie in Ländern wie Japan, Kolumbien, Südafrika und Indien das Schulwesen vom kommerziellen Trend der Digitalisierung erobert wurde und wie Waldorfkindergärten und Schulen für viele Eltern als Alternative dazu stehen. Unsere Herausforderung liegt in der Kommunikation der Botschaft, dass eine Pädagogik, die sich konsequent und systematisch an den Entwicklungsschritten der Kinder und Jugendlichen orientiert, nicht technikfeindlich ist, sondern Medienmündigkeit statt Medienkompetenzen als Bildungsziel hat.
Report of the Meeting of the International Forum in Prague 10th-13th May 2018
by Jeppe Flummer
The 2018 spring meeting of the International Forum/Hague Circle (IF)took place in Prague. The 50-year anniversary of the Prague Spring and Charter ’68 was taken as an occasion to address the current threats to inner freedom and social development with a human face. The IF wrote a 2018 charter for education in a digital world.
Speaking in the introduction, Dusan P. presented a picture of Saint Procop, who ploughs with the help of the devil and used it to explain the situation of education in the Czech Republic.
Education plans are being developed by teachers, parents or the state less and less. Rather they are dictated by the needs of the market and the media’s own “requirements of the times”. Global media companies formulate them convincingly. They have the logistics and developmental psychology at their beck and call, which translate their guidelines into action plans with the appropriate level of financing.
In our circle we hear reports from the USA, EU, Japan and Columbia on the themes of electronic learning, PISA for babies and learning robots. The picture arose of a human being, who is just data, appears intelligent, but is subject to being directed and manipulated. Everywhere people are wrestling with media education and with cultural and educational policy, but in very different ways.
We need a new departure, a 2018 charter of humanity, freedom in the cultural life as well as in educational policy.
The prelude to this meeting was a conference in Prague, which was open to the public, in co-operation with IASWECE, ECSWE and friends from the Czech Republic on the motto of the 2018 Charter: Education in a digital World. The 2018 Charter presents Waldorf education’s idea for dealing with digitalisation. It is conceived as an appeal to educational policy makers and parents world-wide. It calls for a way of dealing with the digital media in keeping with children’s ages. It is a question of setting aside quiet spaces in schools to enable learning to deal with digital technology, media, android robots etc. and understanding technology in keeping with child development.
The 2018 Charter was debated from various viewpoints and is now being worked through by a small group in order to publish it at the end. To what extent and for whom will still have to be worked out in detail.
The IASWECE likewise developed a manifesto, which was presented with the same aim and which focuses on the first seven years.
The joint meeting of the IASWECE and IC showed what possibilities lie in working together in depth. The school as a whole entity, from the early years until leaving school, which is based on the Steiner/Waldorf school, has only just begun. Interest in child development which can connect the kindergarten with school, right through to upper school, can be considerably enhanced.
Of course, the centenary of Waldorf education was a subject of conversation again. We heard the report on a lot of initiatives, on the state of the finances as well as on the budget. The preparations for 2019 are developing positively, we are glad to say! An important point was the conferences taking place world-wide in the framework of the centenary of the Steiner/Waldorf school. As at every meeting there were conversations on the admission of schools to the world list.
Rudolf Steiner frequently visited Prague; he held eighteen lecture cycles here, which makes Prague the place most visited by him, apart from the cities and towns in which he lived. Really central themes were worked upon here; for example, and perhaps best-known, “Occult Physiology – a Course”, March 1911. A lot of cultural streams meet in Prague; one can get a sense of its western atmosphere and, at the same time, its spring landscape mood. Even with the noisy tourists and the enjoyment of the first proper warm weather and evening sun during the tour in the footsteps of Steiner and the theosophists and anthroposophists of that time one can evidently sense, directly on the banks of the Vltava, Prague has its long and colourful history. Not only I myself as a European, also my Chinese colleague and my Columbian colleague feel this especially soft, mild soil. One can feel at home in one’s core.