König Karl - Arithmetic

Author : König Karl
Title : Arithmetic and zoological considerations
Year : 2009

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Lecture by Hans Christoph Valentien. Dear friends, when we teach arithmetic to mentally handicapped or disturbed children, our familiarity with the subject covers more or less the beginnings of number-work only. It is worthwhile to turn to the Waldorf curriculum in both arithmetic and geometry, especially in the light of Dr. König’s lecture this afternoon, where he described mathematics as being rooted in the formative forces working in man’s sensory organization, particularly in his lower senses. These forces become conscious in arithmetic and geometry. Very important, just to us who are working in curative education, are certain general aspects of the Waldorf curriculum and of mathematics in particular; for instance, the question of how to introduce arithmetic and geometry to children in such a way that we reckon with human nature and life in their totality. Let us ask, first of all, how arithmetic is placed within the whole of Waldorf education. As curative teachers we are aware of the curative, therapeutic aspects of the curriculum. Often we have experienced its harmonizing and healing value. In trying to adapt the Waldorf curriculum to the more limited scope of schooling in curative education, our first objective must be to retain and make use of, and not to lose, its therapeutic powers. This objective is very much in keeping with the overall idea of Waldorf education. Remember that in the introductory courses given to the first College of Waldorf teachers, “Allgemeine Menschenkunde” (Study of Man) and “Methodisch-Didaktisches” (Practical Course for Teachers), Rudolf Steiner points outs: “The aims of Waldorf education are derived from the spiritual tasks of our age. In order that men can fulfill those tasks, the method of teaching in the widest sense should always have the aim of harmonizing the ‘upper’ and the ‘lower’ man, the spirit-soul and the body (Leibeskörper). In Waldorf education, any subject, be it botany, history, gardening or shorthand, is to become a tool in the hands of the teacher with this aim of harmonizing body, spirit, and soul. ...

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