ENASTE-Congress May 14-16, 2015


Call for Papers

Every approach to education is situated in a dialogue with its own times. The diverse and rapid social, cultural, technological, economic and demographic changes of recent years pose new challenges – and offer new possibilities – to the field of education. The third International Congress of the “European Network for Academic Steiner Teacher Education” (ENASTE) aims to reflect on these developments and their relevance for children and adolescents, for education, schools, and teacher education programs.

Childhood and adolescence are phases of life characterized by intense changes. However, does the nature of childhood and adolescence itself change? When social contexts become radically different, does this lead to a fundamental transformation of archetypical developmental processes? These questions point to the educational challenges posed by the forces of globalization, modernization, and social acceleration. How can schools and teacher education programs address such social and cultural transformations?

These and related questions will be explored from various points of view in the course of this Interdisciplinary Congress. Empirical research concerned with childhood, adolescence, and teaching will be presented alongside theoretical and philosophical considerations of the characteristics and phenomena of our times and their relevance for the field of education.

Topic areas:

The transformation of our images of childhood and adolescence

”Childhood" and "adolescence" are always social constructs. What we understand to be “childlike“ or “appropriate for children” is, to a great extent, dependent on our individual and collective sense of values, our lifestyles, and our understanding of human beings. For many hundreds of years, children were basically considered to be “small adults” and it was only relatively recently that childhood was “discovered“ as a particular phase of individual development, characterized by ”a special way of seeing, thinking, and feeling” (J. J.Rousseau), and defined by its own intrinsic values. What is the typical image of childhood and adolescence in today’s society? Are children, who have been discovered by advertising and media companies as part of a lucrative “target group”, still viewed as children ? Do current social, economic, and technological developments, along with the development of the “multi-option society” (P. Gross) present children with challenges which even adults are no longer able to master? Which concepts of “childhood” and “adolescence” are particularly relevant at the beginning of the 21st century?

Age-appropriate education: new approaches and concepts

Educational approaches, learning concepts, and curricula incorporate the findings and models of developmental psychology in various ways. Yet, what role does age-appropriate education actually play in the context of pedagogical theory and practice? Are differences between developmental stages recognized, or are they disregarded? In what way does the politically supported emphasis on standardization and the (international) comparability of test results take into account the psychological development of children? Are today’s children and adolescents physically, socially, and cognitively more “grown-up” than a few decades ago? Are childhood and youth themselves changing, or just their social context?
For teachers and educators, considering these questions raises a host of others. How can (or must) teachers modify their teaching approaches to compensate for possible changes in child development processes? Do teachers who aim to respect the dynamic development of children need to rethink their theories and practices to accommodate new situations? Which current approaches and concepts regarding the understanding of human development can provide new impulses for the field of education?

Childhood and adolescence in transition: the role of media

There is hardly any phenomenon which demonstrates the vehemence and rapidity of the changes which have taken place in recent years more clearly than the exponential development of media and communication technology. To what extent do modern media change the life and development of children and young people? How do children and adolescents see their own relationship to media?
How do children learn to work with new technologies? What challenges and possibilities do modern media pose to teachers and educational institutions?

Communication: changing relationships

People “cannot not communicate" (P. Watzlawick). Children and adolescents continually communicate with their peers, with parents, teachers, etc., and yet the forms of communication have changed dramatically in recent years. Are relationships between people also changing? How does the transformation of relationships between generations and the modification of family structures influence these developments? Do today’s children need new and different kinds of relationships with adults? What forms of intersubjective relationships enable children and young people to develop abilities such as autonomy and stability within our “risk society”? (U. Beck). Are changes in the relationships between teachers and students necessary?

Multicultural education: challenges and opportunities

Processes of globalization and migration have caused social, cultural and religious heterogeneity to become essential features of modern societies. These processes have created new challenges for educational institutions: Do school classes carried out in a language which is a foreign tongue for many or most students require new approaches toward teaching? What opportunities are offered by “globalization in the classroom”? What institutional and structural conditions can help enable a successful multicultural education?

Social and emotional intelligence: new perspectives for the field of education

In a time in which the meaning of traditional ties and values is steadily decreasing, while social individualization – but also fragmentation – is increasing, social skills are becoming of ever greater importance. In what respects do the promotion and facilitation of social and emotional intelligences belong to the essential tasks of modern education? What kinds of spaces do children and adolescents need for playing, learning, and creating in order to practice such 'soft skills' ? What social and emotional capabilities are necessary for children and adolescents to develop in the context of societies in accelerated transformation?


Short lectures (approx. 20 minutes) can be held in the context of the working groups on the themes outlined above, followed by discussion.
Lectures can be given in either German or in English.
Submissions for lectures can be sent before November 30, 2014 to . Abstracts should present content, goal, and methods of the planned lecture, taking into account the theoretical and/or empirical background of the research presented. Maximum length is 400 words. The selection of contributions is the exclusive responsibility of the organizational committee.
In addition to main lectures and working groups, we are also planning discussion forums. Suggestions for themes for these forums can be submitted by email up until November 30, 2014. (Submitters should be willing to take the responsibility to introduce the theme briefly in the forum and to moderate the discussions.)


The Congress will be held on the premises of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (Favoritenstrasse 15a, 1040 Vienna), and the Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik (Tilgnerstr. 3, 1040 Vienna).


Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik – Institute of the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences. On behalf of: ENASTE (European Network for Academic Steiner Teacher Education).


Caroline Bratt
Waldorflärarhögskolan, Sweden

Univ.-Prof. i. R. Dr. Karl Garnitschnig
Universität Wien, Austria

Prof. Dr. Peter Lutzker
Freie Hochschule Stuttgart, Germany

Prof. Dr. Marcelo da Veiga
Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences, Germany

Prof. Dr. Leonhard Weiss
Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences: Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik, Austria

Prof. Dr. Carlo Willmann
Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences: Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik, Austria


Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik
Tilgnerstraße 3, 1040 Wien, Austria
Tel.: +43 (1) 504 84 83