Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Education and Research (SAFIER) conducted a short workshop on Education from April 25 to 27, 2019, for a group of 15 teachers and 15 students from a school named ‘Sri Aurobindo’s School’, Gaddipally, Telangana, at the Society House of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. The staff and students were accompanied by their mentors Lakshmy Reddy and Meera.
Priti Umamahesvaram and Shivakumar from SAFIER conducted the sessions, which included the basics of Integral Education, as given by the Mother:
April 24, 2019
There was an introductory session on April 24, 2019, where the SAFIER team enquired about and held
discussions on the needs of the teachers with respect to Integral Education. Their primary needs listed, included:
- To develop patience and calmness so that they can be effective with the children.
- To be inspired so that lessons can be more innovative.
- To enable language development, as although theirs is an English-medium school, all the teachers except the English language teacher were not able to understand or communicate in English.
April 25, 2019
On April 25, the session started with an understanding of the different parts of our being through a skit, in which the teachers participated enthusiastically. They were able to comprehend and distinguish between the Physical, Vital and Mental parts of our being (as explained by the Mother) and get a basic understanding of the influence of the Psychic on the other three parts.
In the second session, the story of Mahatma Junun and Yusuf (a story told by the Mother in her Friday story classes) was narrated so that the teachers could enact it and imbibe the lesson ‘to know oneself and to control oneself’ and also to learn to communicate effectively through the medium of drama.
April 26, 2019
The teachers enacted the skit prepared the previous day in front of the students and one of the students was able to recount the whole story quite accurately. But they needed more guidance on how to use theatre more creatively in classrooms. Thereafter, a few minor games were played with the teachers and the students, where the general response was enthusiastic. The teachers were able to reflect on the purpose of the games which was to enable them to use it in their classroom or on the playground as effective tools to develop alertness, observation, patience, listening, mathematical skills, agility, memory skill, etc.
The session ended with bringing their awareness to their breadth and thereby understanding the relationship between our breath and our state of the mind, and thus the need for concentration and just being aware.
Last, but not least, the children also were asked what could be done to improve the classroom teaching and they expressed their desire to learn in an experiential way. The teachers were happy and eager to practice their learnings and take it forward with the children in their school.