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. Therefore it seeks to help the individual as follows:
1. To develop an integrate personality of both the pupil & the teacher.
2. To realize self-perfection in physical, mental, vital, psychic and spiritual aspects.
3. To manifest supreme divine consciousness in the physical life.
Sri Aurobindo includes the four basic values, physical, vital, mental and psychic in his curriculum. The child is not moulded according to the desire of his parents or teachers. Therefore he emphasizes flexible, interest-related and environment-based curriculum.
Yoga, physical exercise through games, sports etc. Intellectual cultivation through reading, writing, learning, teaching and so on. Spiritual values are also emphasized by him.
Methods of Teaching
The methods and techniques of teaching should be determined by the objectives. In this connection Sri Aurobindo has enunciated three principles of teaching in his book “A system of National Education”. His principles of teaching are discussed below:
1. Nothing can be taught:
The pupil has to acquire new knowledge by his own attempt and the teacher is to work as helper or guide to the pupil. The pupil is allowed to study by his own capacity and interest.
2. Self-pace learning:
The teacher should not impose on the child from above if the child is not prepared to receive the knowledge. Once the Mother said that if a child wants to remain ignorant we may explain to him consequences of remaining ignorant but we should not pressurize the child for learning. The child will be allowed to learn according to his interest.
3. Teaching from near to far:
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. We may teach the child through the use of audiovisual aids, but if the application of this principles is felt essential.
Role of Teacher
A teacher is a true Yogi who acts as a philosopher and guide to the students. He nourished the students as plants. According to Sri Aurobindo the duty of the teacher, “is to suggest not to impose”. He does not actually train the pupil’s mind; the 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. The Mother says “One must be a saint, Yogi and a hero to be a good teacher”.
International Centre of Education, Pondecherry is the laboratory for future where Sri Aurobindo’s educational philosophy is being experimented. The institution started functioning from 1943 and in 1952 it was inagurated by Mother as the “Sri Aurobindo International University Centre”.
But 1959 onwards it became known as “Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education”. In the year, 1968, the Mother inaugurated “Auroville” which aimed at developing of a new education for a new society.