Working with the School:
EDU (name changed) a State Board School in Bengaluru, Karnataka is one of the schools which believes in the overall development of the students. They are using multiple approaches towards this end. In lieu of this, InStrengths Tool was used as an instrument towards development of both students’ and teachers’ Inner Strengths. We profiled 100 students of State Board of Class 9 and 10 and 18 teachers of the entire state board school.
Our Approach – Discovering Inner Strengths of Students:
The aim of education is to enable holistic development of a student, discovery of their true inner capacities and potential. However, the focus today is on imparting knowledge and skills and industry readiness which shifts focus outwards and away from their natural abilities. Our approach through Integral Education is to enable students to be aware, access and focus on their unique inner capacities or strengths which will propel them to develop holistically. To facilitate this, we approached the institute to work with students, and teachers through our Integral Education model and InStrengths Individual™ Tool.
The model and the tool provide an inside out framework for inner development of teachers and students. It maps one’s inner being across eight parts of being (physical, sensory enjoyment, dynamic energy, emotional care, data mind, creative mind, integrative mind and one’s deeper self) and enables the link between inner presence and potentials and outward action, learning and skills built. This then influences the teaching – learning space. InStrengths tool is a ‘way to look inward’, ‘mirror to yourself’. It provides avenues for self-discovery through a unique way of getting to know about one’s inner strengths in an authentic and holistic manner.
What we did at the school:
- Administration of the Instrengths tool
Session for students (Two sessions each for 9th and 10th standard students) -The sessions included introducing and describing parts of being to students, help them identify their strengths, help them understand the report and also devise their own action plan for future development of parts of being through an activity.
Workshops for Teachers (using InStrengths Approach to their own self an
d in the teaching -learning space) – The workshop included introducing and explaining about InStrengths and Parts of Being, and activities using Insights cards which was a novel feature and helped a great deal in triggering interest about several resources of parts of being.
Experiences to Share:
The experience of working in the school was interesting and enlightening. The entire session with teachers was extremely energetic and interactive. The teachers were curious on using it for their self-development and using it in their classrooms to increase effectiveness of their teaching. One of the teachers also told “that she could use Insight Cards every day in the morning for her own self”, other mentioned she could use it in her class for students as an activity”. It showcases the potential of teachers being able to use it for their personal development and use it in the teaching learning space too.
The experience with students was one filled with curiosity, lot of how’s and why’s. They were inquisitive to understand each part of being. They were excited about making action plan for themselves to see how they can improve on specific resources. They were also seeking help of their friends to stick to their action plans. They were more open to learning about their strengths and to know about their classmates as well. Few were of the opinion that they were not aware they had so many strengths. The experience reminded us of the title song from the Hindi movie Taare Zameen Par which expresses the thought that each child is unique and a star on earth. They are a wave of expectation, they are a dawn of hope, they are a stream of joy, let them not get lost, these stars on the Earth. So, we need to make these stars shine!!
The sessions we did highlighted the relevance of teaching children their strengths. To us, it seemed crucial to sow the seeds at the right age to reap far greater benefits. Our system of education places immense importance on studies and some emphasis also on extra-curricular activities. But it is all still in the ‘doing’ domain. Their core being, who they are is not being touched upon. And often the approach taken is evaluative and judgmental. Therefore, a shift in the approach can turn around the life of a student. Celebrating their strengths and focusing on their overall development will leverage their true potential.
Through the tool and the process, we found the following enabled:
Building Self-Awareness among students and teachers
Internalizing of one’s own inner strengths
Indications for Development of Inner Capacities
Motivating students to discover their natural gifts and talents and express them more
Inspiring teachers to discover their authentic self and individualize to be their true best selves.
Paving inroads of Holistic approach towards imparting education
Reasons why we continue to be inspired to do our work
“Best exercise to improve our abilities”.
“The concept of inner strength helped me to improve my strengths which are lacking in me”.
“It helped me to know my strengths and positive feeling”.
“Kind of got some confirmation of what I knew I had”.
“If we all use and develop our inner strengths then our nation can be developed one too”.
“The class was interesting and the information about ourselves was quite accurate”.
“The experience was an amazing one. It helped me to get back to my old self. I gained insights of being myself and more fit. I am getting back to my dance class to be fit.”
“It was a delightful experience for me. Usually we assess others, but with InStrengths, it was possible to assess our positive and negative aspects of our physical and mental strengths”.
“For me, the key take aways from InStrengths were the hope and confidence that we can build in ourselves to grow professionally as well as in our personal life”.
“It was very good experience with InStrengths. After this I got more confidence to improve my strengths”.
Call for Action
If you want us to partner with your school or run sessions for your students/ teachers, please do email [email protected]
About our Organization
In the field of education, People First is pioneering research and learning initiatives on integral education, renaissance in India and fostering an environment of inner strengths in the system of education in India.
To know more about our organization – People First visit www.peoplefirst.co.in . Facilitators and Associates doing our Integral Education Work include Arul Dev, Uma Narayanan, Dr. V Vijayalakshmi and Dr. Priyadarshini.
About the Author
Dr, Priyadarashini Shivakumar is an associate with People First Consultants. She is involved in the Learning and Development Services – primarily with Profiling, Interpretation and Research of InStrengths, and also supports the Integral Education Projects of the organization.