Solving the Riddle of the Child
The Art of Child Study
It might be a truism and needless to say that all teachers should make efforts to understand their students. Real understanding is a sure foundation and support for children’s healthy development, without which lessons will be random and connect with the students only superficially. Skilled teachers try to understand their students so they can lift learning beyond mere compulsion and drills.
Rudolf Steiner’s ideal was the weekly pedagogical meetings in Waldorf schools to support the teachers’ developing insight into their students. He exhorted them to “become psychologists,” though not in the sense commonly understood. He demonstrated the “art of evolving insight” himself during faculty meetings in which he participated. It is an essential to the quality of any teacher’s work to develop skills of perception, reflection, and insight.
Christof Wiechert presents Rudolf Steiner’s guidelines anew. He elaborates the art of child study as a key tool for nurturing student development, as well as the teacher’s growing powers of insight. In short, the approach described here can enliven and support the educational and social dimensions of a whole school community.