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Project “Renate Riemeck”

In the “Marburg Summer Lectures 1981/1982/1983” Prof. Dr. Renate Riemeck presented the “Classical Pedagogy by Comenius and Reichwein” for the Department of Education at the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. This lecture was inspired by and made reference to Scheuerl’s earlier work on “Classic Pedagogy” (1979) and highlighted exemplary classic portraits all characterized by scientific excellence, enthusiasm and authenticity. In contrast to Sceuerl’s medley of specialists, Dr. Riemeck provides us with a lively and entertaining portrayal of over two dozen classical heavy-weights.  This series of lectures represents a synergy of all these aspects and is as such a priceless pedagogical treasure which must not be lost.

Renate Riemeck was a patriotic pacifist and instrumental in the peace movement in central Europe; she considered the ideas of anthoposophy and Waldorf education with sympathy but also with constructive criticism. Renate Riemeck regarded pedagogy and school education as part of a process of holistic social reform. All in all and unsurprisingly, she was a highly controversial character in her time. Her lecture series was organized and accompanied by Prof. Dr. Christoph Berg, to this day professor of Education at Marburg University. Following in the footsteps of Wagenschein and in the context of classical pedagogical writers, Christoph Berg developed the concept of “The art of teaching” and related it to the great masters of Pedagogy.

The art of teaching is made up of exemplary moments. These moments are composed, rehearsed, varied and constantly developed examples of ”moments of eminently human experience” or “timeless historical themes”. By teaching these moments, the students learn how scientists or personalities from our cultural heritage came to their insights and discoveries. The art of teaching concentrates on consolidating learning curves into real formative processes, which emphasises the aesthetic dimensions of education.

In a collaborative project between the Universities of Marburg, Paderborn and the Alanus University we have been editing lectures by Renate Riemeck. The aim is to complement these with primary texts, particularly focusing on those that have proven to be successful school teaching in recent years within the context of the didactics of the art of teaching. This project is about restoring the concept teaching within both state and Waldorf education and repositioning it in relation to wider teaching theory. Within this context it is possible to analyse the basic principles of anthroposophy and Waldorf education in the context of the broad scope of classic pedagogical theory. As a result it is also a way of clarifying and developing reciprocal relationships between the art of teaching and the art of education.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Peter Schneider, Prof. Dr. Christoph Berg

Project duration: 2010-2012

Project funding: Software AG Stiftung

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