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SAATA ITAA Conference-2016 team
A Curriculum to Release, Recognise and Respond - Karuna Guruprasad home
Kousalya-Karthikeyan Karuna is a graphic designer turned teacher. She worked in a Kindergarten and is currently training in and teaching Bothmer Gymnastics. As a trainee, she finds TA and Anthroposophy to be an inspiring combination - one makes life simple and the other simply adds life.
Email: karunamail@gmail.com

"Is there a prescribed curriculum? Is there a book or something…?"

"There is a curriculum with only indications, which I have already given to you in the training. There is no prescribed text book sort of thing."

"But then how do I work as a teacher?"

"The real curriculum is in the child."

Frustrated, I say to myself, "My God! This is impossible."

…………………………………………………………………………

After a few months, during the next training, I share a big monologue about my inspiration, details of a short experimental work and of course, a lot about the frustration of not having a standard curriculum.

"My dear, there is no cure for doubt." A great big hug and the words "Have faith".

…………………………………………………………………………

This has been the most frustrating part of training in Bothmer Gymnastics* with Dan Freeman**. No prescribed curriculum. No text book. No standard assessment tests to be handed out. Yet, what is there in the training is inspiring enough to pursue it, despite what is not there.

I began working with 4 batches of grade 3 children. A hundred-odd 8 to 9-year old children. By that time, I had managed to get hold of the compilation made by one of the senior trainees, in addition to my own, feeling confident and secure. What security a piece of paper could bring on the first day as a teacher!

The lesson plan for day one worked beautifully. It was almost magical. And the next week, I figured out that it may not have a magical effect each week. And in the third session, the lesson plan had to be abandoned midway. The progress did not happen the way in which I had expected it to. There was so much resistance from the children that I had to think on my feet and bring in something else, unless I chose to ignore what was coming from the children. It is at this point of time that I sat back and reflected on what was actually going on. Why did it not work?

And lo! The answer to it flashed in the question that the children had posed in all the four groups- "But how do we release?" And in that moment I knew what is meant by "The curriculum is in the child" and why this work wouldn't work with a prescribed curriculum. The many 'indications' shared during the training programs began to flash one after another.

Seeing that these children needed a bit more of 'releasing' experience, I introduced the game for the day and explained how the children with the golden band can 'release' others when they do 10 sit ups together with the ones caught. One child, with eyes wide open, squealed, "This is like the punishment….." He couldn't wait to finish the sentence and ran into the group ready to play. It was quite a moment to witness the change in expression on the child's face. What began as a frown changed into a delightful smile. And another child completed it with "Yes, but we can release".

The children 'chosen' to wear the golden bands must have done at least a hundred sit ups each in the next 15 minutes and the whole class must have done at least a 30 sit ups on an average. They panted a bit and their legs might have ached with all the running, crawling and sit-ups. Yet, no child complained or gave up. They continued to do their best to 'release' and 'get released'; to join back into the joyful hum of the game.

In 'Turning to Resilience and Power', Trudi Newton writes, "Education is the pre-eminent way that a society or culture passes on its beliefs, priorities, philosophy, hopes and expectations to each generation." (Newton, 2016). In the process, we may end up passing on our fears and frustrations too. What better magic wand does one have than an idea of 'punishment'. Wave the wand to-and-fro and true to Berne's words, we can successfully make 'frogs' out of 'princes'. That the reliving of the act of punishment causes more harm than the very act by itself is no myth. And, that there exists a possibility to change the way one feels towards the same act, in this case sit-ups, was loud and clear. An act of punishment could become an act of 'release'. It made me wonder what 'image' would come up in each child when someone calls in for doing sit-ups as a punishment. I hope and pray that at least a handful would be able to chuckle inside and 'release' themselves from its clutches.

As the days pass by, I'm also experiencing 'release'. Release from the belief that I need to have a concrete curriculum. In addition to making lesson plans from the indicative curriculum, I'm also more at ease to recognise the curriculum that the child brings and respond to what arises in the process. Couldn't help wondering how true it is that "When teachers give attention to, and reflect on, their behavioural modes with an awareness of the importance of these in influencing healthy script development for their pupils, they promote their pupils' freedom and augment their developing personhood." (Newton, 2016).

Each session ends with the children and I drenched in sweat. Sweat that may taste salty but feels sweet within.

References :
*Bothmer Gymnastics- Bothmer, Count Fritz Von (2001) Gymnastics Education. Translated by Jamien MacMillan. Introduction by Olive Whicher. Spring Valley, NY, Mercury Press.

**Dan Freeman – www.newcastlewaldorfschool.nsw.edu.au/daniel-freeman.html

Newton, Trudi(2016) Turning to Resilience and Power. Educational Transactional Analysis : An international Guide to theory and practise. Edited by Giles Barrow and Trudi Newton. NY, Taylor & Francis

 
CONFERENCE AFTERWORD
arr World Conference of TA - 2017, Berlin, Germany
- Rosemary Kurian
EXPERIENCES
arr The Strength of a Woman
- Dr. Navina S
arr Inner GPS
- Namita Shetty
arr Peacefully Messy
- Sheena Yusuf
arr A Curriculum to Release, Recognise and Respond
- Karuna Guruprasad
BOOK REVIEW
arr Healing the Shame that Binds You
- Sarmishta Mani
arr Sex in Human Loving
- Srinath Nadathur

Creative Corner
Rainbow Bridge
- Prasad Naveen

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