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July 2016

Kairos Eurythmy programme at Centre for Creative Education

The recent two week training module with the students of the Kairos Eurythmy programme gave an opportunity to explore what we understand as 'education', as the course content consisted of the 'pedagogical eurythmy exercises' developed by Rudolf Steiner. My approach was not only to teach the exercises per se, but to enter into a conversation with them to understand just what was 'educational' about them.

We did this through exploring the forms (or choreography) in a participatory and phenomenological way. That is, to observe ourselves in the moving of the different forms; circles, ovals, figure eights, squares, spirals and rich combinations thereof. We experienced which woke us up and got us active and thinking and which enabled us to enter a state of rhythmical, dreamy feeling; which grounded us in the structure of the outer world and which took us more deeply into our inner selves; which held us in a unified whole where we were only dimly aware of the others (a kind of 'group-think') and which enabled us to stand apart from the other in our individuality, seeing them quite clearly and demanding that we form each step and curve quite intentionally.

Listening to and with our bodies in this way, and observing the shifting dynamic and relationship with the other helped us to 'get inside' the exercises and to develop a sensibility for what we are bringing when we teach them. And so to appropriately meet the child or young person in order to help support, stretch and enhance their ongoing development, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And so, ultimately, to see education not as a 'thing' we bring but as an attuning to, engaging with and supporting of the already present ongoing developmental process of the child or young person.

Through entering deeply into the exercises in this way we unavoidably became aware of the journey they were taking us on together and how we interacted with each other. This brought up questions of how we work together and, in teaching, whether the primary intention is to get the form 'right' by telling participants what to do, or whether it is to enable a process of discovery where each one finds their own way into the form and so bring it to life through the inner striving. As leaders or teachers how do we do this, where do we have to hold back, where to guide, and what are our personal, and often unconscious habits and traits in this social process.

I had intentionally approached this module differently, deciding to hold the process more loosely than usual and rather pay close attention and try to read the needs and moods of the group as we went along, bringing content and process accordingly. This stretched my own learning and helped me enter more deeply into both the group and the exercises. In reviewing the module I asked the students to share what they would take away with them. Some of the responses were:

Working out of process.

Openness to learn from where you are.

The journey is important, not the destination. We encounter others on the journey – how we meet those people and how we interact is important.

I thoroughly enjoyed the problem solving in the group, as a group.

The rhythm of the forms allowed the process to unfold, held by contraction and expansion in all the forms – also a bit of a metaphor.

I experienced the eurythmy in the periphery more – not just focusing on my little form with others moving around me. I often felt I had a bird's eye view of the whole and found myself adjusting accordingly.

I experienced Rumi's words:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.


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"What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality."