Educational ideas of Aurobindo

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2 April 2016

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Sri Aurobindo developed an education system which is popularly known as integral education. Integral Education aims at bringing about change not merely in the society but primarily in the human behaviour or nature itself. According to him, the essence of education is the recognition of a child as a soul and developing its other faculties. He is of the view that the education must begin with as well as build on sound theoretical understanding of the child. Aurobindo’s idea of education is holistic in that all the five aspects of child’s activities namely the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual are included in his proposed curriculum of a child. Spiritual values are also emphasized by him through integration of mind and body through practice of yoga and physical exercises.. Sri Aurobindo has enunciated three principles of teaching in his book “A system of National Education”. His principles of teaching are: 1. Nothing can be taught, 2. Self-pace learning, and 3. Teaching from near to far or known to unknown. According to Sri Aurobindo, the child should be led from near to far. That is all education should be built upon the day-to-day experience of the learners. On the role of a teacher he is of the view that a teacher is a true Yogi who acts as a philosopher and guide to the students. He nourishes the students as plants.

According to Sri Aurobindo the duty of the teacher, “is to suggest and not to impose”. He does not actually train the pupil’s mind; he only shows how to perfect his instrument of knowledge and helps & encourages him in the process. He does not call for knowledge that is written. He only shows the student where it lies and how it can be habituated to rise to the surface. He therefore essentially subscribes to the idea of teachers as facilitators. There is no doubt on the relevance of Aurobindo’s ideas of education to the present scenario of education in our country. The principles of education reform articulated by Sri Aurobindo 100 years ago in his essays on A System of National Education have culminated in the methodology formulated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, adopted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and now being implemented nationally, known as the National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005).

The NCF document provides the framework for making syllabi, textbooks and teaching practices within the school education programs in India. This document and the principles of education that it expounds embody the most progressive, child-centered educational ideas and strategies practiced today in many schools of the world, and illustrate the pervasive nature of the insights expressed by Sri Aurobindo a century ago. Their seminal ideas have become the norms of progressive education reform. For instance, Aurobindo’s ideas of child-centered pedagogy and teacher’s role of a facilitator are being advocated by the current educational reforms like NCF.

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