First Advisor

Steven N. Fueller

Term of Graduation

Winter 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Foreign Languages: German


Foreign Languages




Steiner, Rudolf, 1861-1925, Waldorf method of education, Second language acquisition



Physical Description

1 online resource (87 pages)


Rudolf Steiner is best known as the founder of the philosophical movement Anthroposophie and as the ideological father of Waldorf schools. The Waldorf school program follows Steiner's education principles in that it teaches children to explore their world with all senses. The goal of Waldorf education is to help children develop their soul and spirit in order to become a conscious, mature adult. Waldorf schools introduce two foreign languages at grade one in order to raise world-awareness in children and young adults.

This study reviews Steiner's biographic background until the opening of the first Waldorf school. It highlights Steiner's spiritual development, projects it against the background of philosophical movements at the turn of the twentieth century, and portrays Anthroposophie as a new cultural direction. It then details Steiner's theory of education and its consequences for foreign language teaching at Waldorf schools and will give meaning to Steiner's ambiguous spiritual language. Respect for humankind in general and teaching students to become balanced, spiritual individuals by nurturing them according to their strengths and weaknesses accent Steiner's educational principles. Finally, this work critically examines Steiner's specific theory about foreign language learning with respect to his theory of speech and language development. It presents Steiner's original ideas, compares them to subsequent developments in teaching at Waldorf schools in regard to goals, content, methods, and contrasts it with the language program at the German American School.


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