From April 17 to 20, 2019, Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC) coordinated a Teacher Leadership Retreat for a group of 18 teachers and teacher-administrators of MR Seth Jaipuria School from Lucknow. The session topics, activities and other details for the retreat were planned in close consultation with the vice-chairperson of Jaipuria Institutions, Ms. Anjali Jaipuria.
Most of the sessions were held at Sri Aurobindo Society campus, while a few were organized at Auroville with the help of Mr. Deven Shah of Deepanam School, Auroville
The retreat began on the afternoon of April 17, with Ms. Anjali Jaipuria introducing the purpose of the workshop. In her remarks she spoke of the significance of inner growth and transformation and its relevance to the work of teachers and teacher-leaders. She also recited a few lines from Savitri, which set the tone for the workshop – “The life you lead conceals the light you are.”
This was followed by a session titled “Leadership in Education in the Context of Inner Transformation” by Dr. Beloo Mehra. She shared some key insights from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on leadership and inner progress.
Next up was a session by Mr. Shivakumar, titled “Becoming an Integral Education School.” This session served as a preparatory one for more intensive sessions on April 19, which were also led by Shivakumar.
On April 18, the group visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the morning and experienced the spiritual ambience of the place. In the late afternoon, two sessions were scheduled at Sri Aurobindo Society. First, Dr. Alok Pandey shared his perspective on seeing every child as a soul in evolution, and the relevance of this idea for educational leadership.
This was followed by a session by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra who spoke on the “Connecting with Antaraman and Its Relevance in Education.”
On the morning of April 19, the group had experiential sessions with Mr. Amir Azoulay from Auroville on “Awareness through Body.” This programme helps children and adults develop their capacity for attention, concentration and relaxation, while enhancing their ability for self-awareness and sense of responsibility.
In the afternoon of April 19, the group had a couple of intensive sessions on some of the practical aspects of Integral Education as well as what it takes to become an integral educational institution. These sessions were led by Mr. Shivakumar.
On April 20, the group visited Matrimandir and a few other places in Auroville. A special talk was arranged at Savitri Bhavan where Ms. Sraddhavan spoke on Psychic Education. She shared key insights from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the topic, along with some of her personal experiences. In the afternoon, the group also visited a few schools at Auroville where they learned about how the ideals of Integral Education are being put in practice there. The entire day’s programme was arranged by Mr. Deven Shah of Auroville, who is also associated with some of SAFIC’s activities.
The visiting group of teachers found the entire experience extremely insightful and was delighted with the overall programme and the rich variety of topics covered through different activities and sessions.