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Summer reflection

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, July 2014

A waterside promenade, evening light, peaceful coming to rest, observing. A girl and a boy, both about seven years old, come dancing by. Each one of them dances their own dance, jumps a few steps, walks, skips on one leg, experiments with the rhythm, transforms it, saunters on and suddenly both “arrive” in the same place together. [more]

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New Year’s resolutions

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, February 2014

I resolve to let one less child die of hunger this year. More than two-and-a-half million children under the age of five starved to death in 2013. The strength to feel what that really means is beyond me. But with a few euros enabling a single child to survive – that should be possible. I resolve to enable a child to have a school education. While our governing parties once again make a great big German media song and dance about the clapped out “laptops for all” initiative, I intend to ensure that a child in Bangladesh or India can attend school for a year. None of this is new. The Rio earth summit 22 years ago came up with the slogan “Think Global, Act Local” together with the hope: “Another world is possible”. Meanwhile the Internet has... [more]

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Everything fine?

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, August 2013

“It will frequently be found that the defenders of freedom are more often than not the greatest tyrants in their house.” Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799) [more]

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Hats off to stress-free learning

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, July 2013

All of them did it: Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Winston Churchill, the actor Harald Schmidt, the journalist Ul­rich Wickert and the comedian Otto Waalkes, but also the leading politicians Edelgard Bulmahn, Edmund Stoiber, Christian Wulff, Peer Steinbrück, Guido Westerwelle, Klaus Wowereit as well as, incidentally, the author of these lines: all of them had to repeat a year at school. Ever since the state government of Lower Saxony has started thinking about whether holding children back a year should finally be assigned to the dustbin of history, a debate has flared up in which a surprising number of education politicians have felt called upon to stand up for this relic of a bygone age. The second most frequent argument, “It didn’t do me any harm”,... [more]

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Helicopters, tigers and doers?

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, June 2013

“Can you imagine marrying a guy who was breastfed until he was six?”, author Tracey Morrissey asks in a blog and adds: “… and then having to deal with [his mom’s] domineering bullshit at Thanksgiving?” A year ago, a cover of the US magazine Time featuring a breastfeeding mother caused a stir. Because her son was standing upright on a little chair while he was suckling – he was approaching his fourth birthday. “Are you mom enough?” the magazine asked its readers and reported about the growing number of parents who no longer release their children out of their protective envelope at all and want to shield them against all... [more]

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Learning culture not arms

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, March 2013

In Ohio (USA), the janitors of two schools will with immediate effect carry firearms when performing their duties. The director of the responsible authority praised the measure because it would “considerably improve” the safety of the children. He allayed the concerns of parents with the assurance that the two janitors would undergo two days of training. [more]

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Hand and head

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, February 2013

“A bright head, if we think aright, is really just a carpet knight:it eats and drinks, states its opinion – but on the move is carried by a minion…”(from a verse for a class 4 pupil) What kind of education is it which without much ado declares the head to be a parasite? We have learned so much in the meantime about its neuronal inhabitants, the synapses, their dwelling places and mirrors, that we can almost watch ourselves thinking. Brain researchers have studied the central organ of our conscious life in such detail with the aid of imaging methods that some people would like nothing better than to relocate the whole soul into the brain. The author of these lines also admires the revelations from these modern-day high... [more]

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Setting a light to powder kegs or ideas

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, November 2012

In September, sixteen people died in Pakistan because a fanatic in the USA had insulted the Prophet Mohammed in a film. That led to angry protests in the Muslim world which escalated into bloody violence in several countries and which also claimed the life of the US ambassador in Libya. How things will continue is hard to say today; but one thing is certain, this is not the last “intercultural” powder keg which was made to explode by a single spark. Our children are growing up in a world in which the differences between cultures, religions and a sense of justice are becoming increasingly pronounced. This is a world which is subject to a never-ending wave of emotional kitsch produced by gigantic media machines, in which financial speculators can... [more]

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Loss and trust

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, September 2012

One of the great riddles of our time is undoubtedly how people managed to survive for millennia without self-help books or courses. Even today we can still see mothers in remote parts of the world who, barely twenty years old, make their way through life ­– or do they stumble? – with a baby on their hip, another one by the hand and a third one attached to their leg in total ignorance of our bookshops full of advice books on education, health and how to throw a birthday party. Back home after our travel adventure, casting our gaze over the grey-haired ocean of an orderly German shopping street, the question arises: “How do these young mothers bring up their children? Are they allowed to at all?”   [more]

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Who owns the Waldorf school?

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, May 2012

We have lived with the tradition that schools are a public task for such a long time in Germany that we forget that we are the public: the state has considered public life to be its property since absolutism spread across large parts of Europe in the eighteenth century, and thus it sees itself as being entitled to manage the school system. [more]

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