Integral Education Workshop for Teachers and Parents

Start Date:27-Mar-2024

End Date:01-Apr-2024

Location:Sri Aurobindo Centre of New Education (SACNE), Jodhpur


Course Facilitators: The facilitators of the workshop were Shivakumar and Priti, from SAFIER, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.

Day 1: Workshop began with meditation and introductions by Shivakumar and Priti, followed by a unique self-introduction exercise where participants shared an inner quality alongside their names.

Further, Shivakumar and Priti discussed modern day educational issues, highlighting two key problems:

Utilitarianism and the Industrial mindset, two diseases that treat students like factory products rather than unique individuals and overshadowing the need for holistic development.

In contrast with this, they emphasised the importance of inspired teachers for nurturing inspired students. Participants reflected on qualities of their favourite teachers and watched videos illustrating inspiration's source and its role in education.

Continuing with this, the teachers explored integral education through activities like watching an animation film on the co-founder of Integral Education, Sri Aurobindo. Following this, there was an enactment of the "Magic Mirror" skit to understand the body, emotions, and mind's relationship with the psychic/soul.

The teachers then engaged in experiential activities to understand the roles of the physical, vital/emotional, mental, and psychic/soul aspects in various situations. The facilitators concluded with a home assignment focusing on self-reflection.

Day 2: The second day of the session started with the chanting of a 'Shanti Mantra', emphasising the importance of proper pronunciation, technique, and notation. The harmonious vibrations of the chanting created a sense of activation and energy within the space.

Following the mantra chanting, Priti guided the teachers on a meditative journey to explore the fourth house’ – the ‘Psychic Centre’ where resides the Psychic Being, our ‘Inner Friend’. The session delved deeper into methods for connecting with one's Inner Self. Priti then presented the concept of connecting beauty with happiness. To illustrate this, she gave each participant a flower, inviting them to connect with its essence. She reinforced the Mother's philosophy of embracing beauty as a constant ideal.

The session concluded with the exploration of psychic consciousness through a reading from "Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Education." Teachers adjourned, inspired to continue their journey of self-discovery.

Day 3: The workshop began with the Vedic mantra chant led by Priti, followed by an explanation of its meaning and the benefits of chanting.  Shivakumar and Priti then introduced the concept of physical, vital, and mental aspects in our daily lives, emphasising the importance of the ‘Psychic Being/Inner Friend’ as the guiding and leading force.

Participants were divided into groups and given a project theme "Me and My World". They explored the above theme through various activities facilitated to help them dive deeper into the topic:

Physical: Exploring physical energy with yogic exercises, breathing exercises, and guided meditation on body awareness.

Vital: Examining the vital nature through a story and reflection activity, learning ways of overcoming irritation/anger and changing them into opportunities for growth and appreciating beauty.

Mental: A bean bag activity highlighted the importance of physical awareness, mental judgement, alertness and concentration.

A group project allowed participants to assimilate their learnings of the whole session and present them creatively through skits, plays, and poems.

The focus then shifted to self-reflection, with guided exercises to help teachers become more aware of their inner selves and light their ‘Flame of Aspiration’. The workshop concluded with a guided meditation, through which the teachers could get connected to their highest aspiration and find one or two action points which they would take up immediately after the workshop, in order to live a beautiful life while being connected to their Inner Core.

Day 4: One-day Workshop with Senior Teachers of SACNE

It was a brief, introductory and interactive session with 29 senior teachers. The major attention was on initiating the importance of Integral Education as compared to the current education system which is in the clutches of the modern-day approaches, ‘industrial mindset’ and ‘utilitarianism’, which are two diseases deadlier than corona and plague.

The other important discussion highlighted the concept of ‘law of averages’ which when at work does not allow the academic curriculum to be developed with respect to individual progress or individual genius and thus creates only ‘average students’. The ultimate aim of education is not to create average students, but inspiring ones. And it is only an inspired teacher who can create an inspired student’.

In order to find where do Inspired people get their Inspiration from, video clippings on A. R. Rahman and the Indian mathematical genius Ramanujan were shown, where two heart touching revelations reflected on the ‘Source of Inspiration’ or the ‘Source of Genius’.

Then methods were discussed on how to connect to this Source in our everyday life. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother call this source ‘the Psychic Being’ which is the spark of the Divine that is present in all of us. In a simpler tone, we can call the Psychic as our ‘Inner Friend’, the true friend, who can help us live an inspired life. The techniques of chanting mantras, the methods on connecting to one’s psychic, the awareness activity were also effective discussions & activities of the day. The sessions ended with a collective meditation with reflections on the day’s events.

A 2-Hour Session with the Games Team

Though the duration of the discussion with the games team was quite short, the session was meaningful. The body awareness activity by Shivakumar was insightful and practical. The rhythmic movement of hands in the opposite direction was enjoyable, interesting and challenging. Only a few teachers were able to do it. Then the discussion led to the importance of warm-up exercises before playing any games and also introducing minor games/cooperative games for primary students in order to bring out the sportsman-spirit were the tips given to the team. Priti took up ‘Code of Sportsmanship’ given by the Mother from the booklet ‘Ideal Child’. She focussed on the importance of developing  the qualities such as courteousness, modesty, generosity, obedience and being fair and game towards all, on the field, in school and in life itself. The session concluded with a visit to the indoor gymnastic room and the team explaining their regular activities with students.

Feedback and Expression of the management and participants:

“The workshop with ShivKumarji and Priti was inspirational, motivational and goal oriented.”

Meera Singh, Director, Sri Aurobindo School, Jodhpur

“First of all, I would like to thank SACNE for giving me the opportunity to attend the IE workshop. The workshop was very interesting, informative, enlightening and gave us a chance of learning about many aspects of integral education.

The deliberations were centred on:

1. Integral education

2. Inspired Teachers=Inspired Students.

3. Psychic education

4. Methods of connecting with the inner friend.

5. Physical, Mental and Vital

I learnt better ways to meditate and the detailed discussions helped me to understand the nuances of our psychic being.

The highpoint of the workshop was the immense passion and effort on the part of the facilitators, Shivakumar Bhaiya and Priti Didi! They made it an unforgettable experience!!!”

Nandita Srivastava, Primary school teacher, Sri Aurobindo School, Jodhpur

Day 5: The Parents Orientation on 31 March 2024  

A New Education for New Humanity (एक नवीन शिक्षाएक नवीन मानवता)

It was an opportunity for the parents to know about the activities of the school and to create a bond with the management as the school is a second home for their children. Meera Didi welcomed and introduced Shivakumar & Priti, Integral Education facilitators from Puducherry and Shally Nab, consultant for phonetics from Australia. Shivakumar and Priti briefed parents on how to nurture their children with the 3 types of food: physical nurturing, love, and good thoughts, and thus provide a healthy environment to the child. SACNE is making its efforts to do this, the parents have to make similar efforts at home to bring out the best potential of the child. But in order to give wings to the children with their roots firmly nurtured, in order to create inspired children, heart-touching revelations by some famous inspired people were shown through video clips and a discussion ensued on the source of inspiration. To help the children connect to the source of Inspiration and live an inspired life is one of the primary goals of Integral Education, and also of the school. An experiential reflective activity with flowers was taken up by Priti to get in touch with this source of Inspiration which is there in each one of us too. Parents gained insights into how the school nurtures these aspects of integral education and performs a leading role for the overall well-being of a child.

Day 6: Screening of the Animation film ‘Sri Aurobindo: A New Dawn’

at IIT campus, Jodhpur, on 1 April 2024

Shivakumar welcomed the audience and introduced Sri Aurobindo Society’s vision towards making of the Film which portrayed the life of Sri Aurobindo in the style of a visual poetry as that gives a deeper mode of viewing and experiencing the life of visionary, a yogi and a rishi.  After the screening of the film he precisely answered questions raised by the audience which gave more clarity to the audience as regards the making of the film and its essence. He also briefed the hardships incurred in the making of the film owing to the difficulties of the pandemic time. The audience expressed their gratitude towards the dedicated work of the team. Priti shared a make-alike of ‘Bande Mataram’ a newspaper which had awakened the nation during 1906-08 with its fiery articles written by Sri Aurobindo. This make-alike journal had all the information about the film and was distributed to the audience. Seeing the enthusiasm and interest of the audience, she also requested their support for the upcoming movie based on the ‘Five Dreams of Sri Aurobindo’, which was a call Sri Aurobindo made to ‘Young and Free India’ on the eve of Independence through a radio broadcast. Meera Didi, director of SACNE expressed her gratitude towards the viewers and the organisers who provided a promising platform for the presentation.