Auroville Education

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Now corresponding to these Mother has once said that in education two tendencies must be synthesised, the scientific tendency and the aesthetic tendency. Now these words correspond to the right hand faculties and the left hand faculties, synthesis of scientific is left hand faculty and creative, aesthetic is right hand faculties. Now if you combine the aesthetic and the scientific, a very beautiful combination and composition of human nature evolves out of it. Now based upon this even if I want to use the word subjects as terms for designating this, I would say that you should have a curriculum which includes the study of history, the study of classics, the study of music, art and poetry; this would be the syllabus of the right hand faculties. On the left hand faculties the syllabus would consist of languages, mathematics, astronomy, geography, anatomy, physiology, hygiene, physics, chemistry, biology, number of subjects. They are all very good in developing the left hand faculties. If I now speak of these in terms of faculties, not in terms of subjects but faculties then I would say that our whole curriculum should be so designed that emphasis falls not merely on subjects but also on development of faculties. And this should be done at all the levels but particularly in what Mother has called After School Level. That is to say when Mother speaks of After School I, After School II, After School III, I find that these three stages of education are extremely important for emphasising not subjects as such but faculties. In the beginning, what Mother has called Last School that is the first levels of education, first eight years, let us say should be devoted to the study of languages, pronunciations, how to pronounce words in different languages. As I said in the first stage you teach subjects mainly, emphasis on subjects, later on in After School Level you emphasise faculties. I must tell you these are all mental ideas and I would not like to say that this is something which I would propose or prescribe, this I am only suggesting as a research work but to start a research I am only proposing the first rough draft, a kind of a statement so that it can be dealt with properly. But what I suggest is that in the beginning of what Mother called the Last School would be concentrated upon a few subjects. In After School you develop faculties’ especially through subjects but also especially exercises’ for example of reasoning, exercises of memory, exercise of pronunciation, exercise of discovery, exercise of invention, different faculties that we have. They can be developed in especial methods of exercises. In Super School; you combine the two together, subjects and faculties in a very high manner. And when these are developed you come to No School and then you are free to develop whatever you like to do, you want to be an athlete, then you specialise in your own way but by your own processes, if you want to be a great surgeon or a doctor, you can develop that, you want to be a great architect, you develop architecture on your own etc. etc. but that it is left to you. You have now got everything that a school or education can give you, all the rest is for the life to develop for you.

And as Mother said all that, when somebody wrote a letter, I’ll give you the anecdote; a teacher wrote a letter to the Mother saying that the new method of education that we have now in our school and in our higher education is such that the quantity of studies will be very small, and as a result our students will be very poor as far as the quantity of studies is concerned. Outside world has so many subjects, whereas our students will have only a few subjects because you are emphasising too much on understanding, – the faculty of understanding. So Mother wrote in answer: ‘Higher course is meant to develop the faculty of understanding, if they can, the rest can be studied all throughout the life. In my own personal life this was a great revelation by the Mother because there is a great pressure usually in our school education or college education to stuff a number of subjects and then the whole load becomes so great that children cannot bear, even higher students also not bear that burden, its tremendous burden of education. So Mother simplified by saying: that even in higher education the important part is to make children understand, and to make them intelligent; if they can. All the rest can be studied throughout the whole life. So our curriculum should be such that it gives to the children lot of programmes for whole life time. They still have to develop quite a lot but now it is No School, you are on your own. So this is the framework that I was thinking of, that our curriculum that we need to develop is first for the first eight levels that is from class I to class VIII, then you develop class VIII to class XII, which I call After School and then you develop what is called a curriculum for is called Super School. And then a program for No School to be handled by students themselves in the way in which they like.

Question: There is one important faculty which I as a teacher of language something called the deep memory, not just something that you memorise and it is tested but something deep memory, just you don’t think, it’s just there that is how a pianist doesn’t concern with what is this note or what does his finger do, shouldn’t this be developed as a faculty?

Answer: Actually Mother has answered this question to me, when I asked this question she said: There are children, Mother said who are gifted with musical faculties and she said they need to practise a lot so that even their fingers, their fingers have got automatically the knowledge that is required to put their fingers at the right point and the right piece, so Mother gave a great importance to this capacity and the children should be given such exercises that is  where subject verses faculty comes into sharp focus. Very often this faculty is hardly developed. As you rightly said that if you learn a language properly then grammatical mistakes won’t occur, when you speak, your language is certainly grammatical, not that you apply grammar and then you speak. The grammar will have so much woven in your habit of speaking that you cannot utter something which is ungrammatical, your own speech, your tongue will oppose you, will not allow you to speak that is incorrect. This is a great faculty, which has to be developed. I agree entirely. Mother herself spoke of it.

In fact if you study how to develop faculties, it is a big science by itself. When we speak of Piaget, for example the modern thinker in education, what is his speciality? His speciality was faculties; develop the faculties of the children. When Vivekananda said: you should have man making education; he was asked what is man making education? He said man making education is the development of faculty of concentration, this is all. If you develop the faculty of concentration all that you need comes as a result of it. The whole human personality is contained in the power of concentration that was his definition.

So this idea of faculty development is so important that I personally feel that Auroville as a field of research, we should have a very important research into this field, how to develop various faculties, as I gave the example of stamina, how to develop stamina of the body. It’s also a faculty; it requires exercise and various kinds of exercises by which stamina can be developed. Many children in our ordinary world when he can’t do something, we say don’t now it is finished, don’t worry. We don’t take the trouble as in the army for example a soldier who cannot run; he is given a capacity to run afterwards in two years time. He comes up with the stamina of running afterwards, it’s because there is concentration upon faculties, therefore the whole army training is of a different kind. Army training is so good because of this reason.  

Let me state what I feel but before that I want to answer a question to François, the question that he had raised, you correct me if my formulation of the question is correct or not. I spoke of the need to develop faculties, need to develop a number of articles of information regarding number of subjects and his argument was that school is only one of the instruments of education. There are many other instruments of education like the home, like the society, the groups in which one moves and the suggestion that he made was, do not arrogate to yourself as a school all the functions that belong to many others because education is only a part of the totality and don’t arrogate to yourself all these responsibilities, leave something to others also and do not burden yourself with so much of problems and troubles which you are taking in analysing this field of education. Is it a correct exposition of your question? Best instrument of education?

Now I think what he says is very true and now with this new amendment that he has made my answer becomes much easier. If it was only one of the instruments, I would have argued that it is not one of the instruments. Even if it is one, it is one of a very important instrument of education, now we are saying one of the best, or the best; I am much more than satisfied. But the other aspect of which he spoke are important and my answer to that question is actually Auroville has been conceived as a totality of a school, Auroville as the whole not the school, not Livelier, not the Transition, not the Last School, not the After School, the whole of Auroville is a totality. The home, the parents, the members of the society, architects and gardeners, electricians and cooks all are teachers and children are to plunge into the totality and they will all learn from there. And actually speaking a good educationist would also prescribe a curriculum for the whole society, but a different kind of curriculum. I would say that actually in Auroville, the whole of Auroville should have a curriculum and actually Mother has given that curriculum – the divine life but not through mystic means but through life itself and no religions. I think this is the curriculum that Mother has given for the whole of Auroville. Charter of Auroville is also a curriculum of Auroville, or you might say quest for mutation of human species is the curriculum of Auroville, which we are not emphasising sufficiently today and that is why also there is a problem in Auroville. If this quest for the mutation of human species is broadly shared and intensely shared, then some of the problems of Auroville could be resolved very easily. And it is necessary to have this vey broadly shared by people in Auroville.

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