Shivakumar, Director, Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Education and Research (SAFIER), conducted a one-day workshop on Integral Education on April 15, 2019, for a group of 30 teachers of Grades 3, 4 & 5, along with the heads of the Academic Team of The Indian Public School, Erode, Tamil Nadu, at their premises. The school follows both the CBSE and IB curriculum in separate streams.
The workshop opened with an interesting question from one of the participants on what we mean by Indian Education – or, is there something like that at all. Through the discussion, Shivakumar brought out the key principles in practice during the Gurukulam system of education and how these principles are still very much valid and relevant to the growth of children in the modern educational set-up.
After this, Shivakumar took all the teachers on a journey of the expectations of a child when the child steps in the school and the classrooms, the child’s real needs of expressing, sharing and learning through real-life situations and less from a book. This was followed by a hard-core look at what we as teachers offer to the child in the name of syllabus and the need to modify to suit the child’s needs.
A deeply engaging discussion followed on a most difficult concept to practice in the classroom, of what is “right” and “wrong” and the variations of it: beneficial & harmful, happiness & unhappiness, positive and negative, freedom and discipline.
A play was enacted dramatizing the different parts of our personality, followed by a fun questionnaire on if we can recognize these parts within ourselves. The afternoon started with some fun and yet meaningful games to sustain the energy levels. After this, situations were given to them for enactment where the new way of looking at oneself could further be explored. All the teachers enjoyed presenting the plays taking cues from real-life situations!
The workshop concluded with a discussion on the real focus of education, which is to help the child to get in touch with his/her own Genius and express it!