Chennai, April 03, 2019: A seminar on Transformative Education was delivered by Ms Sonal Murali an expert in Transformative Education from The Theosophical Society, Chennai at MSSRF today.
Today’s education caters to the need of the society, the values of society no longer seeks the highest from the environment such as the prayers, but succumbs to the prevalent demands, school has become a contrived environment and ends up being a microcosm of the world outside due to self-centeredness, growing individuality, lack of care and concern for others, fear, comparison and graded system. Schools are no longer about what they are doing to the child but what facilities they are offering. Two centuries ago there was only one school for few villages and schools were the watering holes for the culture of traditional communities and were an integral part of the community.
Ms Sonal Murali said that a school should become a place where a student could learn how to be happy, how to look at one’s fears and be free of it, how to care for others and their surroundings, how to be of help to others. Transformative Education will be a constantly evolving, dynamic principle that inculcates the child and her interaction with the world. Culture, media, parenting and education are the influences on a child during its developing years. Transformative education will be able to develop a change in an influenced child, being in the state of oneness, of universality, when the boundaries between oneself and the other disappear, that will result in benediction for all, so there will be education where there is built-in empathy.
Ms Sonal Murali also stressed on Reggio Emilia Approach that a child is the active constructor of knowledge and not the target of instruction. The physical environment is of fundamental importance to the early childhood program which is referred to as the ‘third teacher’. She also said that a child learns through hundred of languages, through drawing and sculpting, through dance and movement, through painting and pretend play, through modeling and music, and that each one of these Hundred Languages must be valued and nurtured. These languages, or ways of learning, are all a part of the child. Learning and play are not separated, so major part of the curriculum is ‘emergent’ and not ‘top-down’. Lot of learning is always taking place through child’s experiences. That learning is happening at subliminal levels. So when a child plays, it has to be taken seriously.
Play has to be taken seriously and although no formal learning is done in those years, a lot of real learning takes place at subliminal levels. Respect and reverence for the world around one, brings about the sense of self-awareness which is the first step towards self-mastery which in turn will result in self-culture which will have respect and empathy built into it. Ms Sonal Murali finally quoted Rabindranath Tagore who said “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence”.
Prof MS Swaminathan, the founder of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation was also present during the seminar and congratulated Ms Sonal Murali for the good work. Many scientists, researchers, students and MSSRF staff attended the seminar.