Shri Shivakumar, Director, India Council for Integral Education (ICIE), conducted a workshop at Seth M. R. Jaipuria School, Lucknow, on August 1 and 2, 2018, wherein he conducted sessions for their teachers on Integral Education and how to improve the quality of education through a better understanding of children and their true needs.
Some of their teachers had already attended the Annual Workshop on Integral Education held at Puducherry over the years, and this visit was to consolidate the exposure that happened through these workshops and also to introduce the approach of Integral Education to all the teachers.
On August 1, Shivakumar addressed an assembly of students and shared with them a glimpse of how education happens at the Centre of Education at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He also said that school is a place for us to be happy and also a place for discovering all the special things that are hidden in us.
After this, for the rest of the morning, Shivakumar conducted sessions with about 50 teachers from the Play Group Section to Class 1. He began the interaction with emphasizing that the first step for a teacher is to imbibe things for oneself before one can do it with children. It is through example that education becomes effective and not by merely teaching things objectively. In order to be the examples, we as teachers need to know ourselves – how we think, feel and act – in order to be the best that we can be.
Once the attention was turned on themselves, the group set on a deep exploration of finding the most important thing that governs each one’s life. This led to the exploration of how our thoughts, emotions and bodily impulses are not fully in our control and the need to control and integrate them under the wisest and most knowledgeable part in us—the Mother has called it the ‘Inner Genius’ or the ‘Psychic’. This was followed by an activity that helped all to glimpse into the nature of this Inner Genius. It is only the practice of such an integral life that will help us to inculcate Integral Education in children in the classrooms. The process of Integral Education was understood to be an extension of integral life into the classrooms and with children.
In the afternoon, the next interaction was with about 50 teachers from Classes 1 to 5. After exploring the need for an integral life centred on the Inner Genius that is within every one, we entered into a discussion of how the child could be helped to get in touch with and grow by nourishing this Inner Genius. This was followed by a discussion on the various stages through which a child grows and the education that was appropriate to each of this stage. The interaction concluded with a lively question–answer session.
On August 2, Shivakumar interacted with another batch of 50 teachers from Classes 6 to 9. It started with a lively discussion on the values and their place in education of children. Then the focus shifted to the growth and refinement of the vital and emotional energies of children of those classes. A skit on what is meant by Integral Education was demonstrated. A couple of activities to introduce the sense of rhythm to children was introduced. A video ‘Children: Full of Life’ on the real-life experiences in a Japanese classroom was shown, as an illustration of making classrooms as places of life’s experiences and how to facilitate children themselves finding of solutions to problems that they face.
Shivakumar also held discussions with all the head teachers of the various sections and explained the process of Integral Education in simple terms. He also stressed on the need to be practitioners of Integral Life before one can be an Integral Education facilitator. The Principal of the Jaipuria School, Mrs Promini Chopra, and Headmistress of the Pre-Primary section, Mrs Mitali Srivastava, coordinated these interactions.