A five-day Teacher Education Camp on “Innovative Pedagogical Interventions & Creative Teaching Aptitude” was held from July 2 to 6, 2018, in Puducherry for Master Resource Persons of the Ministry of Education, Puducherry. Twenty-nine participants underwent a transcendental journey through this camp on the experiential learning approach to Integral Education. The Camp was organized and conducted as an additional programme of Sri Aurobindo Society’s transformative educational programmes initiated as Rupantar.
Day 1: Introduction to Integral Education
The Camp began with the inauguration ceremony that created the necessary atmosphere for understanding the Integral Education System. The session on day one that was conducted by Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni, gave all the participants an insight on the five aspects of Integral Education and its significance in today’s world. Special emphasis on spiritual education widened everyone’s perspective and sensitized them towards the need for innovations in teaching and the learning processes.
Day 2: Implementing Integral Education – I
This session, which was facilitated by Ravi Shanker, showed the possibilities of making learning and teaching processes experiential and integral through Theatre Arts. Participants were sensitized towards the need to invoke the unitive qualities in teachers and children in order to have a conscious, compassionate, creative and inclusive society. Through the process of theatre arts, teachers were taken into an inner journey to expand their understanding of their core values and innate qualities that are nourishing and conducive to their integral development not only as teachers but also as unique individuals.
Beginning with reflections the group was taken into a creative learning spree through a “Project-based learning approach”. The day’s session was conducted by Ravi Shanker along with Kiran and Hrishikesh. Teachers explored the processes of theatre, arts and craft as means for teaching Mathematics, Environmental Sciences and English. The entire process sensitized them towards their role as compassionate and creative teachers and elevated them to the summit of their consciousness.
Day 4: Preparatory Yogasanas, Pragmatic Approach to Teaching English & Music in Education
Kiran began the fourth day’s session with preparatory Yogasanas amidst the serene natural beauty of SHARANAM. Following Yogasanas our participants refreshed their understanding of the principles of true teaching via a contemplative reading session with Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni. They also enjoyed exploring ways of teaching English through various games.
Second half of the day was facilitated by Shoba with a brief introduction and continued with an interaction on the idea of music in the minds of the young teachers. Participants were also shown how musical vibrations help in super activation of the brain as well as in memory retention, calculations, concentration and perception. Everyone present explored the musical aspect of their self and recognized the hidden form of music they inherited.
Day 5: Creative Approach to Teaching Mathematics, Redefining and Expressing Aspirations.
Assimilation and Plan of Action
Following a brief concentration, participants explored with Kiran an enjoyable and creative way of teaching the four operations of Mathematics using natural resources such as dry leaves, pebbles, sticks and dry flowers. During reflection they realized that these activities could help in developing observation, imagination, concentration, discrimination, creativity, fine motor skills, aesthetic sense, the sense of touch and smell, accepting each other’s ideas, working as a group, etc. At the end of the session, participants enjoyed creating collectively an artwork using the same available materials.
Another session on the creative use of Abacus was conducted by Hrishikesh. First, they were facilitated to craft their own Abacus using discarded house-hold materials; they then enjoyed exploring with their newly created Abacus, the four operations of Mathematics. Here too they could discern that these activities, besides making Mathematics fun, helped in developing observation, imagination, concentration, discrimination, creativity, fine motor skills, aesthetic sense, the sense of touch and smell, accepting each other’s ideas, working as a group, etc.
After experiencing the joy and beauty of Mathematics, the participants were taken into an inner journey by Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni. They expressed the very significance of their names and aspirations via craftwork which helped them to widen their self-knowledge.
Finally, the Camp culminated with deeper reflection which resulted in chalking out their plan of action with regard to implementing all the innovative practices learnt during these five days, to foster the integral development of their children. With vibrations of renewed enthusiasm and joy and fresh perspectives, they celebrated their valediction.
We had a different experience on the first day which I was not used to earlier. I felt like I was rushing aimlessly. First day’s session made me think that I need a pause to rethink – who am I?
G. Subashini, GPS Nonankuppam
Now we can use both games and music to teach different subjects . . . we thoroughly enjoyed the integrated teaching method which will be very useful because while teaching EVS, we can teach English and Maths too . . . learning outcomes are 100% possible through this method and apart from learning outcomes, there are numerous things they will learn. . .. Now we can take a classroom to the next level from conventional to joyful and child-centred method. . .
In this technology-driven world, there is no time for us to be with our self. After this session I get to know the importance of self-awareness . . . It was a wonderful experience to feel the beauty of silence and learn to teach creatively with activities. . . This method will make children more aware and alert . . . It is useful for all subjects.
K. Senthamizhselvam. PST, GPS,Thirubvanai
I learnt about how to use natural materials tolearn Maths and how it can give happiness to children . . .
R. Senthil Kumar, GHS Kanuvapet
Theatre which has song, music, dialogues, sets, costumes, etc. will nurture Children’s integral growth which eventually will lead him to be a good human being. . .. This can be used to learn language, mathematics and other concepts, etc. Children also become good observers . . . Theatre is a fantastic way of learning Integral Education. There is a need and this is the time that we teachers can use these Interventions in our schools. . . We can sensitise children towards everything because sensitisation is the need of the hour. . . Since we are integrating the subjects it will help us to work smart. Children will be having an all-round development . . . For each and every lesson we can try this pedagogy. We can combine the lessons from various subjects and inclusively we can try these creative teaching approaches.
G. Subashini, GPS Nonakuppam
Abacus session conducted by Hrishikesh was wonderful. This may be conducted for one day completely.
K. M. Ramyasri, Govt. Primary School, Kamaraj Nagar
Loved the session conducted by Kiran on physical exercises and the surroundings at Sharanam gave a lot of joy in learning new things.
G. Mangalambigai, GMS, Keezhur
Morning yoga session was really admirable.
K. Kalaiselvi, GPS Irulansandai
We do not give much emphasis to the physical and the spiritual part in our education system which may be the root cause of the frustrations we teachers and students experience. Hence it is very important that we incorporate integral education in our education system.
K. Meenatchi, PST, GPS, Pethuchettipet.
Learnt to use natural resources to teach four operations of Mathematics and how to work on children’s physical, vital, mental & psychic aspects. It’s an easy method to teach basic operations of math.
N. Vani. P.S.T, GPS Kirumampakkam
The practical session on implementing Integral Education through project-based learning environment was very much enjoyable . . .
G. Siyamala, GMS, Nallavadu
Drama in groups will give us opportunities to get out what is inside the students . . .
N. Vani. PST, GPS, Kirumampakkam
I learnt some new things about engaging students in a play way/activity method. I learnt about how to convert the content into a play. I learnt how to make craftwork faster in five minutes as part of theatre pedagogy. It’ll be really very useful for our children and for us too. It will sensitize the children towards what they learn.
R. Senthil Kumar, GHS, Kanuvapet
The session was useful and enjoyable. I can help our children to do and learn without insisting. . . Also incorporating values through lessons and daily life . . . doing new things as a team . . . and teaching through music or music in education can provide various supports and promote children to learn easily . . . and build social responsibilities.
Karthikeyan.R, GPS , Narambai
Had a good exposure and experience in Integral Education. Loved the “Name game” – really helped to find out my inner strengths.
G. Manglambigai, GMS, Keezhur
Implementing the method of making drama for any lesson in EVS, English and Maths is my plan now. It will help us to meet the learning outcomes to a greater extent.
K. M. Ramyasri, GPS, Kamraj nagar
We learnt how mathematics calculations was done by the object which we collect from the ground. Abacus was taught nicely. . .
M.Suresh.T, GMS, Sanniyasikuppam
Integrated learning will make children realise that all the subjects are interrelated and related to life as well. The expected learning outcome can be achieved with multi-sensory approach introduced by the resource person.
V. Manjuparkavi, PST, G.S.P.S, katterikuppam
Concentrating without any distraction for the whole day is not that much easy. Ravi Shanker sir proved it is possible . . . these approaches will help us to give opportunities to our students to act as leaders . . .
K. Adirai, GPS Kurusulcuppam
Sometimes I find it very difficult to complete the syllabus . . . the integrated learning will be very useful to meet the learning outcomes in all the subjects… I feel yoga may be utilised in our educational process regularly as it will be very useful for our children. Music, Brain juggling, Arts & Craft and Abacus widened my creativity and I want to learn more regarding this.
D. Shankara Devi, GPS, Archivakpet, Lone-3