As I was expecting a lot more Eurythmy, talking about the right wall colours for certain ages and generalised sentences beginning with the words ‘Steiner said…’, but I was pleasantly surprised by the rigour and depth of research in the presentations and the running of the conference itself.
The focus in the scientific talks every afternoon seemed to be rhythm. There was a lot presented about one field of research in particular – temporal rhythms and their effects. For example, very quick rhythms (such as brain waves), slower ones (such as waking and sleeping), or much slower ones (extending to life and death) that exist within our body. Sleep was a focus of a number of the talks, particularly the ‘sleep architecture’ of students and how this affects their learning capabilities.
I managed also to get my hands on some excellent literature at the bookshop. Things suggested to me that aren’t necessarily so easy to get. The one that has impressed me the most is titled ‘Republican Academies’ and it is an annotated chronicle about what Steiner spoke to the Stuttgart school about in the years 1919-1922 or so. The most heartening thing was his frustration at how badly the teachers were handling faculty conflict and thus undermining the college of teachers.
In another book, T. Finser’s ‘Silence is Complicity’, we hear about how important teacher research is, and how it need not be much extra work, but rather extra consciousness towards what is already done. Brilliant ideas and I just can’t wait to unleash them on the next school I happen to work in ;)
I really enjoyed the conference very much and I met many interesting people. It was heartening and wonderful to be among so many others dedicated to a renewal of education.