In its code of practice, as part of the membership criteria for Steiner schools – remember this is for free schools too – the SWSF insists upon regular use of SWSF advisers, further training and “teacher development”.
This sounds good, and I am sure we hope all teachers should have the opportunity for developing their skills . But what many outsiders (including the D for E, presumably) do not know is that what the SWSF have in mind is anthropoposophical training and the development refers to spiritual development.
As part of this development, The SWSF recommend teachers attend the Easter Conference. This is held each year at a different Steiner school. Last year it was at the Hereford Steiner Academy (a state-funded school) and this year it will be held at Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School.
The details for the conference can be found here and are of interest to those of us concerned about how anthroposophy is brought into the classroom.
The mornings begin with an “Offering Service”. This is an anthropsophical service, and here we have information about what takes place.
The Offering Service, the service for the older, high school students, teachers, parents
and friends, introduces in the form of a religious ritual this gesture of lifting the soul up
to the spirit as a free offering of the individual. Carl Unger indicates this fact when he
says that (1) the service extends the Anthroposophical Society into the life of a school
and (2) that it takes place exclusively in the realm of the soul.
Then the teachers will do “Bothmer” – well, we know what this is…
After lunch there is eurythmy.
Deeply meaningful to anthroposophists, this is a slow form of movement expressing spirituality. The flowing robes are optional…
There are courses in all kinds of activities including blacksmithing and pit – forging.
I see that “Trial by fire” has been cancelled – health and safety?
There is also the “Inner work of the teacher” where state school teachers will learn
How do we “imbue ourselves with imagination” as Rudolf Steiner calls upon us to do?
Starting with Steiner’s verses and meditations, we will look at how his words can be
practically implemented in our teaching and inner life.
There are talks by many, many anthroposophists on subjects such as “Practical Anthroposophy”. I am sure they are delighted to have the opportunity to share their love of all things Steiner with state-school teachers.
One speaker is an expert on alchemy. Another is an “anthroposophical weaver”.
One or two speakers are from our area including a man who said an acorn spoke to him and changed his life…(page 39)
I wonder if attendance at this conference will be funded by the tax -payer as part of training expenses. Justifying this kind of use of public funds would be impossible, surely…?