Pedagogical Anthropology (HS 212)

I  Projected Learning Goals and Objectives:

Students will:
  • become familiar with Rudolf Steiner’s understanding of human nature by reading and working on the lecture cycle First Teachers’ Course
  • begin to discover the implications of this understanding for the           education of high school student
  • connect this seminal lecture cycle with material in other major works by Rudolf Steiner, especially Education for Adolescents, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, and Practical Training in Thought
  • use at least four ways to conceptualize the texts: outline, summary,      paraphrase, and precis.

II  Overview of Course Content and Methods:

This course focuses on the nature of the human being as described in Rudolf Steiner’s First Teachers’ Course, a series of 14 lectures that Steiner held directly prior to the opening of the first Waldorf School in 1919. In these lectures, Steiner discusses the physical, psychological, and spiritual nature of the human being. Understanding the complex and subtle interweaving of the different aspects of human nature and experience is the primary focus of these lectures.

We will make extensive connections to other works by Steiner, such as Education for Adolescents, Practical Training in Thought, and Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, in hopes of broadening the “subtle interweaving” mentioned above.

This course will be modeled on the rhythms of a classical main lesson. “Dynamic Drawing” will provide an artistic activity suitable for high school students; group discussion will occur every day; students will be asked to outline, summarize, paraphrase, and/or write a precis of the the content of specific paragraphs in each lecture.

Our goal in the first weeks of the course is to discover and articulate Rudolf Steiner’s conception of the nature of a human being thorugh a dedicated reading of the text.  Our goal in the final week is to apply our understanding to our own pedagogical undertakings. It is hoped that we can honestly ask prevalent questions, such as ‘What is my connection to Anthroposophy and its world view?’ ‘Can I connect the warm life of a classroom with the semingly cold ideation of First Teachers’ Course?’ ‘Is this thing I recognize as Anthroposophy too fixed, monumental, old, European, other, for me to really engage with it, even as I have dedicated my life to nurturing students through its pedagogical concepts and forms?’

III  Methodology

The best way to prepare for this course is to read First Teachers’ Course, specifically the first morning lecture of each day,  before we meet. At the same time, jot down any connections you can make to other thoughts or works that we could easily investigate. (Selections from Education for Adolescents and Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts will be suggested during the course. It is a good idea to have these last two works accessible.)

IV  Verification Requirements and Evaluation Methods:

Evaluations will be based on oral presentations, completed readings, artistic and class participation.

V  Readings:


Rudolf Steiner. First Teachers’ Course. Ratayakom Press, 2020.

Rudolf Steiner. Education for Adolescents. Anthroposophic Press,1996

Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, any edition.



FIRST year

Second Year

Third Year