Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Education and Research (SAFIER)
The condition of our world at any point in time depends on the actions of its people, how we do things. And, our actions are a result of what we think and feel, which in turn are the outcome and expression of what we are within, what we hold in our consciousness. We cannot hope to change the world without changing the consciousness in which we live. This inner change must precede the outer if it is to be a true and integral change.
An education which aims to facilitate this transformation in the classroom is the key for a change on a larger collective basis—an education that focuses on an integral development in our thoughts, emotions, and the expressions of our body, allowing it to express freely and dynamically in the workings of student’s progress. Every aspect of our present-day education must then be remodelled to make this happen.
This, again, calls for a new breed of educationists who can be the catalysts in bringing about such a change. An innovative research which is psychological and also has an immediate bearing on the external events needs to be carried out in conceiving and conceptualizing Integral Education.
SAFIER provides a platform to those who would like to dedicate themselves for initiating this research and change—first within themselves and then allowing it to spread on to others. We invite all those who would like to live an Integral Education. Write to us, if you would like to perch on the edge of the present, gazing into the future skies.
Sri Aurobindo briefly describes about the methodology of a ‘true education’ and the role of a teacher of Integral Education in the following quote:
The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an instructor or taskmaster, he is a helper and guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose. He does not actually train the pupil’s mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impart knowledge to him, he shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself.
The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth. The idea of hammering the child into the shape desired by the parent or teacher is a barbarous and ignorant superstition. It is he himself who must be induced to expand in accordance with his own nature. … Every man has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of strength and perfection in however small a sphere, which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop it, use it.
The third principle of education is to work from the near to the far, from that which is to that which shall be. …We must not take up the nature by the roots from the earth in which it must grow or surround the mind with images and ideas of a life which is alien to that in which it must physically move.
Almost every child has an imagination, an instinct for words, a dramatic faculty, a wealth of idea and fancy. These should be interested in the literature and history of the nation.
Every child is a lover of interesting narrative, a hero-worshipper and a patriot. Appeal to these qualities in him and through them let him master without knowing it the living and human parts of his nation’s history.
Every child is an inquirer, an investigator, analyser, a merciless anatomist. Appeal to these qualities in him and let him acquire without knowing it the right temper and the necessary fundamental knowledge of the scientist.
Every child has an insatiable intellectual curiosity and turn for metaphysical enquiry. Use it to draw him on slowly to an understanding of the world and himself.
Every child has the gift of imitation and a touch of imaginative power. Use it to give him the groundwork of the faculty of the artist.
Such colossal, difficult yet sensitive work, having far-reaching effects, cannot be the sole responsibility of the teachers or confined to the schools and educational institutions alone. The learning process of children should expand into their homes and even spread onto the entire life of the society, the parents and the entire society must participate and collaborate in it.
The school structure and functioning should be so designed that every aspect of social life is represented in it and each experience of the child is made into a means and an opportunity for learning and progressing. These children when they graduate and become citizens of a larger society shall carry on the same aspiration and make their whole life a process of spreading joyous education, in and out of structured school life.
SAFIER aims at building such a society where education becomes a truly life-long collective process—an Integral Yoga.