After a decade as a HR professional in the corporate sector, I shifted tracks. The trigger was having a child and spending time with him in his learning pursuits. I realized I enjoyed learning and facilitating children learn.
Having studied in the mainstream education system, I wanted to explore the alternative ways of teaching. The whole idea of schooling as modelled on factories and children being groomed to become good industrial workers are a sad commentary on education today. I reflected on my own schooling and wanted to do my bit to see that the same thing should not be repeated for the coming generations. My search led me to the Holistic Education course conducted by Bhoomi college.
Bhoomi college has a sprawling green campus at Bangalore, that boasts of over 108 species of trees and a large number of herbs and shrubs. The holistic education course deals with child-led open learning methods and enabling oneself to become a creative facilitator.
We also learnt much more about the importance of processes of learning – about theatre which can enhance learning, multiple ways of presenting content to children, conversations and circle time and many more aspects of experiential and holistic learning. And it was a bonus that I discovered aspects about myself which I was not aware of and some got reconfirmed.
Holistic nutrition was an unexpected thing I came across at Bhoomi College – very relevant for children in these days of chemical-ridden processed foods that children are tempted with. Being a hardcore non-vegetarian all my life, it was an eye opener for me to know how the human digestive canal is not suited for eating meat since it is much longer like a herbivore’s and not like those of carnivores. The concept of our blood being alkaline, and hence we should eat sufficient alkaline food i.e, fruits and vegetables was also new; also the iimportance of eating millets not only from the perspective of our health but also thinking about the water crises, since millets need less water and also about public health since they are extremely nutritious.
What difference did it make?
I am more tolerant towards the diversity around me. I learnt to focus on strengths and not be bothered by areas of ‘weaknesses’; learnt about what my filters are and how I happen to judge people through them.
Instead of breaking up learning into different subjects one should lay emphasis on the connectedness and relatedness of everything, value ‘wholeness’ – this can be called the basis of holistic enquiry.
Lastly “A teacher is a guide on the side not a sage on stage”.
Students of the course with Satish Kumar, co-founder of Schumacher college.
The resource persons I met through this course have kindled a fire somewhere which I carry with me as I step into the future. It has made a difference to the way I think and live and hopefully I will be able to make a difference in someone else’s life too.
I am reminded of an Urdu couplet by Majhrooh Sultanpuri:
Main akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil magar
Log saath aate gaye aur karwaan banta gaya
I started all alone towards the goal/(but)
people kept joining and it became a caravan
By Priyanka Das, Bhoomi college alumnus
To know more and to apply for the Holistic Education course at Bhoomi, check out: http://www.bhoomicollege.org/one-year-programme/pg-diploma-holistic-education