This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Need for self-awareness and reflection activities in a school context 

Alok Mohanty — Rajghat Bensent School, Varanasi


Schools are primarily engaged in imparting information and to some extent helping children to process it. Self-knowledge is not the primary concern. They do not work consciously on sharpening the faculties, honing the skills, nurturing the values and developing an attitude. Yet true learning is not possible without self-knowledge, without questioning and enquiry.

Education is the process which attempts to draw out the inherent perfection already in the child and the teacher. In the growing up process we gradually move away from the essence and get caught in our mental, emotional and physical constructs. Learning is a subversive process. Learning is usually guided by the interest and curiosity in the child. Learning generates sensitivity and enables one to perceive the truth. But behind the learning stands an Awareness without which no learning will be possible. It is the awareness which is capable of noticing the gaps, lacunae; hence further learning is possible. Awareness helps us to see our reactions, conditioning, instinct and samskaras without any condemnation or justification. It enables self-knowledge and only through awareness can one understand the content of one’s consciousness and its swabhava and swadharma and move towards the essence. Awareness is beyond division.

Since all the educational processes essentially aim at widening, deepening and heightening the awareness, some space in the school curriculum should consciously be kept for developing this capacity and not leave it to chance. This does not mean that awareness can be cultivated through some training or practices yet it definitely demands a state of mind which is not engaged all the time in utilitarian pursuits. In that space one can play, enquire, reflect, question, and do things so that one can rediscover oneself.

Indian yogic science had long back known the essential role, played by the “Witness” within us. It can definitely help the educational process to make it more meaningful if the methods and techniques mentioned and practiced in yogic science can be recognized by modern psychology. This recognition will facilitate a space where Educational Psychology can benefit a lot and help schools making a shift from schooling to educating.

Email the author, Mr. Alok Mohanty, at