The most important thing for which we can prepare a child is the experience of freedom, at the right moment in life, through the understanding of one's own being.


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)

education of the will, the feeling life, unconscious repetition, conscious repetition
By: Ellen Fjeld Koettker, February 2020, First published in the Reader 'Waldorf 100 Centenary Conference on ‘The First Teachers Course’ Goetheanum 2019

Day 4: Awakening the will towards wholeness

Thoughts on 'The First Teachers Course'* from Ellen Fjeld Koettker

The focus in Lecture Four is the education of the will and the feeling life. The will manifests itself differently in the various members of the human being. As Waldorf teachers, we hope to identify and address these different expressions of the will in the growing child. This is because the way we teach affects their will. Steiner says in Lecture Four that feeling is held-back will, and will is feeling made active. We understand feeling only if we understand the will. Steiner goes on to say that unconscious repetition strengthens the feeling, whereas conscious repetition strengthens the will.


How can such an understanding support and assist us in school? How can we as teachers support moral judgment in the growing child through an appreciation of the various will expressions? How can the wish of a teacher to do better also apply in helping children to strengthen their own will? Why is it significant that education emphasize the development of children`s will and feeling for the future?

Ellen Fjeld Koettker, MS. Ed., has been a Waldorf teacher for 40 years, first in USA, then in Norway, where she has been instrumental in building up a Waldorf school. For the last 15 years she has been working at the Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo, where lectures on anthroposophy, Waldorf pedagogy, math, religion and special education. Ellen Fjeld Koettker is the leader of the Pedagogical Section in Norway and a member of The International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education (Hague Circle).


* 'The First Teachers Course' is the foundation of Waldorf Education with the notes from the lectures of Rudolf Steiner: 'The Foundations of Human Experience', 'Practical Advice to Teachers' and 'Discussions with Teachers'.

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