Intensive workshops on Integral Education have been an integral part of SAFIER, educational wing of Sri Aurobindo Society, for the last three decades. This year, after two years of gap due to Covid-19, this most awaited program was conducted from 16th to 24th May under the title of ANTAR-GAMANAM: Workshop on Integral Education (IE). 37 sincere seekers of IE from across the country including pre-primary, primary and high school teachers, directors, administrators, principals, and also trustee members, ranging from the age of 23 to 73, participated in the workshop while a team from Bejon Desai Foundation, Nasik, came to Puducherry to take part in it as co-facilitators. This workshop was conducted at two places, the first half being conducted at Sharanam community centre and the latter half being conducted at the Society House of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
Course Facilitators: SAFIER, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
Introductory address - by Shivakumar
The workshop began on the 16th of May at Sharanam Community centre of Sri Aurobindo Society, which aspires to provide a conducive spiritual atmosphere to the guests and participants. Shivakumar addressed all the participants by telling them that this workshop- ‘Antar Gamanam’- is an opportunity to go within and look for a treasure which is within each one.
Shivakumar read a quote by the Mother- “We are not here to do (only a little better) what others do. We are here to do what others cannot do because they do not have the idea that it can be done.”
The sessions on laying the foundation of Integral Education and giving the participants an experience so that they could assimilate the essence of Integral Education were:
Jointly facilitated by Shivakumar and Priti:
Knowing the Founders of IE: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Source of Inspired Education, Science of Living Introduction and Journey begins, the Magic Mirror, Journey continues: Decoding oneself, Exploring & Refining the Vital.
Facilitated by Shivakumar:
Story of Sharanam, A Re-look at Current Education – Part II and Embarking on the Journey of Integral Education, Learning to BE with an Object, Opening Up of Our Senses, Exploring the Physical, Wonder That is Sanskrit and Reading of ‘The Science of Living’
Facilitated by Priti:
Knowing oneself and Knowing others, Exploring the Space and A Re-look at Current Education – Part I, Silent Skill-based Creative Corners with the help of the facilitator team, Inner Weather, Chanting, Dialogue with Oneself and Minor Games II along with Shilpa, Reflecting on the experience of Sharanam, Sunrise Walk, How to build an Integral Classroom, Project Based Learning [PBL] in the Integral Way, Project Work
Facilitated by Jasmine:
Yogic Exercises, Story-telling, Awareness of the Body with the help of the facilitator Team. Fun with Cahier Pointelle - by Jasmine (with Pre-Primary & Primary level teachers)
Facilitated by Kavita:
A Walk in Nature (visit to Matri-Udyanam) - by Kavita
Facilitated by Sushanto:
A Welcome with Flowers, Visit to Maret Garden along with the help of Rathi and Sumedha.
Facilitated by Sahana:
Minor games I, Connecting with Oneself through Beauty
Facilitated by Shilpa-di
Implementing IE at Pre-Primary [KG] Level
Facilitated by Uttama-di
Self-Introspection with Line and Colour (with Pre-Primary & Primary level teachers)
Facilitated by Dilip-bhai
Facilitated by Shekhar
Yoga & Yogic Living
Mehfil - A Celebration at Sharanam
Mehfil was the cultural offering made by all the participants, which was conducted in the indoor hall. The hall was nicely decorated with flower and candle arrangement and a beautiful environment was created. The participants got to know about their hidden potential and opened up like a flower opening petal by petal. In the end everyone held their hands standing in a circle and expressed the harmony and unity felt deep within the hearts of all, in the form of a song sung together.
Flower Mandalas with Dr. Bharadwaj
Every morning a group of interested participants got-together before the sessions started and everyday made beautiful Flower-mandala. This became an engaging, quiet and concentrated way to begin the day. Dr Bharadwaj shared his love for flowers and Manda-making with the participants and joined them as an encouragement.
Project Presentations and Exhibit of Creative work
All the four groups beautifully and creatively presented their Journey of Growth during the 8-day workshop, ‘Antargamanam’, at an Individual and Collective level by the way of songs, dances, PowerPoint-presentations and musical dramas. The presentations gave a nostalgic review of the workshop and gave an opportunity for sharing and listening to each other's progress and challenges. The exhibition of the beautiful artwork created by the participants in a meditative and quiet space was put up and it was a delight to the eye.
Conclusion: Flame of Aspiration
The 8-day IE workshop ‘Antargamanam’ concluded with the participants lighting a flame of aspiration within themselves towards becoming an integral facilitator and connecting better with the students and the world around them.
Feedback by some of the Participants:
“Immersion in Nature and facilitators is what I like the most. Nature is home, it always takes me home to myself. The centeredness and facilitators disinterestedness, self-giving, warmth and love for the work is very inspiring for me. It was like being showered with deeper wisdom while being held in a lot of love.”
Shaily Shah, Volunteer teacher at Nandanam school, Auroville
“Before coming over here only one most powerful word was sent to us through whatsapp - that was ‘LOVE’. Came here, saw and experienced the power of ‘LOVE’ in a true sense. The Magic Mirror session was what I liked the most because it was so confusing before coming here and now I can connect my activities to the parts of my personality. ”
Indrani Basu Das, Managing Committee member, SRI AUROBINDO VIDYABHAWAN, West Bengal.
“What I liked most in the workshop was the topics covered. It is an effective way to bring spirituality into teaching and daily life. Now I understand my inner friend and have more faith in myself.”
Hinal dhakad, teacher at Harmony Montessori, Mumbai
“A truly enriching experience, which every individual should get an opportunity in their lifetime. These kinds of workshops should not be restricted to only teachers though the topic is Integral Education.”
C. Geetha, Vice-Principal, Auro Mirra International School, Bangalore
“Journal writing (having a dialogue with oneself) has given me a way to vent my AHA & OHO moments. A must session. It is much required. The whole workshop was something unique and new for me. Though it looks simple, yet it took me deep down to the inner space in a subtle way. If I can help myself and my students, it will be one of the best achievements of my life.”
Uma Bholerao, Principal, Meghe Group of schools, Nagpur
“The workshop was something beyond my expectations. All the topics covered were really useful and helpful to us as humans and then as teachers. The observation of the facilitators was so good that they could involve everyone during the sessions. “
M. Naga Prashanthi, Academic Coordinator, Sri Prakash Synergy School, Peddapuram, Andhra Pradesh
“I liked the practical approach of the workshop. Every learning experience went through practical work.”
Raman Virdi, Pre-primary teacher, Auro Mirra centre Of Education, Patiala
“I came here with no expectations, but I am going back with a better version of me. Each and every activity conducted can easily be replicated with the students. The food and care ws so complete and nutritious, each and every aspect was taken care of.”
Shruti Sahai, teacher at SETH MR JAIPURIA school, Lucknow
“What I liked most is the vocabulary used by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is so powerful that it invokes the energy that you need to get the message and apply it. I will try to change within myself by continuously reinforcing, refreshing, learning new vocabulary, otherwise one becomes complacent and the purpose of the job is defeated.”
Santosh Bhandari, Principal, The Sky School, Panchkula