VITA Model of Carmelite Pedagogy




Provita Mundi or Education for the Life of the World is the vision of CCR Education. Integral education calls for the creation of active and responsible individuals committed to the betterment of one’s locality and the world at large. It emphasizes holistic life long growth of an individual, growth in realistic knowledge, love and acceptance of self and others so as to discern values that will revitalize human society and replace ignorance with wisdom, darkness with light and evil with good. The VITA Model of Pedagogy is a four step Model that aims at:
Moulding minds to achieve their full potential
Acquiringknowledge that will be applied to practical life so as to ensure equity and social wellbeing
Formation of youth who will be agents of change for ushering kingdom values of Peace and Justice.
Get an experiential knowledge of God in the wonder of creation, in worship and in the service of others
Providing for the complete fulfilment of man, in all the richness of his personality, the complexity of his forms of expression and his various commitments - as individual, member of a family and of a community
The VITA Model invites a teacher to consider the four steps of vitalization, interiorization, transformation and action
V is for Vitalization. To vitalize is to invigorate, to inculcate, to endow with life, or vitality. Education alone can vitalize, provide life to self and the world. Providing life has two connotations –one is the physical aspect of life that education provides for by helping an individual earn his livelihood. But equally important is the spiritual aspect of life which education supports. Education must make this life meaningful and worth living. Just as God breathed His own life into the first man and started his functioning, so is it with a teacher who breathes intellectual life in the learner and thus gives him a second birth. Therefore in Sanskrit, education is rightly called’ Dvijanma’ or ‘rebirth’. The first focal point of Carmelite pedagogy is to provide a sort of cerebral energy to the learner. This can come through dissemination of facts, theories, principles accompanied by discussions, probing, role play, brain storming and other participatory modes. Dissemination is not merely doling our facts to passive learners. It also means Directing. By this we mean that the potential to learn is inherent and the learner has to be provided with a direction in accordance with our charism. This should help him develop without a compromise in values. The learner should be equipped with life skills as decision making, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, self awareness and acceptance, self reliance, managing differences positively. Every lesson, every activity that we conduct has scope to include some or the other life skill. There are suitable ways to incorporate these keeping in mind the learner’s background, the available resources, the teacher’s own potential and the current happenings. Dissemination and direction should ultimately aim at development … development of qualities of head, heart and hand. However an important approach to this garnering of knowledge is that the process becomes a real spiritual experience that draws on the infinite love of God. Acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills should develop perseverance and patience, re-establish the individual’s unique identity and transform them to active and responsible citizens, who are open to the values of life, cherish a purpose in their lives and live in harmony with self, society and the cosmos.

Vitalization means ‘providing life’

Intellectual

Social

Moral

Spiritual

Emotional

Thro discussions, self learning, knowledge building exercises, training in thinking and other skills

Thro participatory learning modes, inter-action with school and society

Focusing on value clarification

By fostering a sense of eco sensitivity

Acknowledging the dignity of each individual


I …Interiorisation The very important step of applying the acquired knowledge to oneself and one’s present life as well as one’s projected life. The knowledge received in step one is interiorized after silent reflection regarding its implication. The basis behind this step is since we are all incarnations of God, we are divine. When we interiorize the experiences we have received in step one we apply the same to ourselves and reflect on the message these experiences carry. For example a lesson on say adjectives in English grammar tells me that I can choose the adjectives that I would like to be applied to myself. By thinking of this against her background of life skills I would like to be described with adjectives as ‘co- operative, helpful, just’ etc. During this stage it is also vital to empathize with the characters or the situation in the lesson so that the message percolates more deeply. For example While teaching about the Second World war I must as alearner be able to get into the shoes of the victims of the atom bomb , the soldiers who fought the war , the leaders , the children of victims etcto get a fuller experience of the topic. Just like the rain water needs time to percolate to the ground so is it with knowledge. Some quiet and serenity is necessary to let this knowledge be assimilated and this is done through interiorisation.

T—transformation. Acquiring knowledge is like passing a test in driving. After passing the test one doesn’t stop driving rather he starts driving. So is it with knowledge. Gaining knowledge ought not to end with the gain of knowledge. Rather this knowledge is to be put to good use. This is actualized by translating it to action. But prior to that is an important step of transformation which will involve some kind of value judgment. This point is the point of synapse where blending of qualities of the head, heart and hand occurs. It may involve some change in one’s attitude, need the shedding of some lethargy, some pre conceived notions and be ready to take a stance. For example: A learner who learns a lesson on living beings, say in Biology, takes a definite stance towards ‘importance of life’. The learner forms some crystallized opinion regarding abortion, genetic experiments, euthanasia and related issues and is not afraid to express his/ her views due to the transformation undergone. It should be remembered that transformation is the result of interiorization and hence effective interiorization will ensure good transformation leading to good action, which is the fourth step of the VITA model.

A Action In this stage one sees how what one has learnt and dwelt upon can be translated into action for ‘the life of the world’.How do I use my experiences to bring about a change in my surroundings … both internal and external? As in the above example of adjectives, the student would have to find ways to achieve those labels that he / she decides for him/ herself. How do I become cooperative, helpful, just…. Every action of mine should reflect this interiorisation of my experience. My actions should lead to my self actualization. God had a plan for me when He made me. To unfold my latent talent and help it bloom is my job. To help me in the same is my teacher’s job. Since all of us have a unique pattern, we can’t be put in one mould. To help us understand our complexity, to help us accept and appreciate our uniqueness we need the teacher so that we can contribute to the world in our own way.

After curricular transaction that is after teaching the complete lesson, the teacher confers with the students to find out what they expected from the lesson and the extent to which these expectations were fulfilled. This helps in modifying the teaching strategies if necessary. Thus action is not simply action on part of the learner. The teacher also uses the same steps to improvise his / her interaction.
These four steps operate simultaneously. Also the steps are cyclic meaning the fourth step of action could become the first step of vitalization for another form of learning. For example after learning about ‘recycling’ a student may take concrete steps to recycle garbage and in the process this helps learning about let us say organic fertilizers. A lesson on adjectives may have a child trying to be helpful and in the process he learns about helpful organizations and NGOs. Thus the VITA Model has the potential to perpetuate a chain in learning. This is once again in keeping with the vision of ‘education with a difference for a difference’. One more highlight is that learning is not relegated to the classroom but in the step of action the child goes beyond the class and this leads to
Vivification of life by practicing values that bring out the best in every individual.
Acknowledgement of the dignity of each individual
Help in the building of the local community.
Work for the peace and justice in society.
Teachers may follow this model to seek feedback from pupils, authorities and peers and use the same four steps to modify their behaviour.
The Model can be modified as per the level being taught. At the Pre Primary and Primary levels, the step of interiorisation may need a lot of teacher intervention perhaps even to the point of sounding ’preachy’. However the step of action can be and should be reached. Subjects like Environmental sciences, Languages or even craft can incorporate the Model at these levels. As the child moves on to higher classes, interiorisation will be easier. But also bear in mind that influences of the material world may prove a challenge. The child perhaps will debate in his/ her mind and may even question if it is worthwhile being sincere and committed when the world offers a contrary picture. Hence the step of interiorization and transformation is very vital and should be handled skillfully as the children of today are the only hope for the troubles of tomorrow
Using the VITA Model:
1.In the Classroom: While preparing for class, think of what inputs you need to give. Plan for the stage where interiorisation can be carried out. For example “you are teaching a poem on Nature” perhaps immediately after teaching the poem or even at any crucial point during the development you can ask the class to shut their eyes and visualize the scene described. During this reflection offer a few questions that will help reflection. Transformation will be simultaneous with interiorisation. Encourage a few students to share their reflection aloud. Co-operative strategies like sharing in pairs can be used. Action that should follow could be put up on the class notice board. Actions can be on an individual basis, at school level or even at community level. The class could be encouraged to write letters to local newspapers, authorities etc to highlight an issue. The teacher should monitor such actions to prevent any unnecessary repercussions. While sending letters to outside authorities etc seek permission of the Principal.
2.For co-curricular activities: During co curricular activities let students interiorize the experience. Reflect on ‘What did I learn from participating in sports? What did my dance practice teach me? I lost the match/ I won the match… What did I learn? We had this competition with the other class? What lessons did we learn?’ Let this interiorization experience enable the student to take a step further in action. Action could be ‘co-operation within the team helped us win the match. Now we are going to similarly co-operate for studies” or when the student loses a competition let him/ her analyse reasons for the failure rather than get upset or feel defeated. Action includes planning for better performance. Use the model at assemblies and elicit a common action for the school.
3.At the end of a term/year: Review all activities, studies, relationships, commitments, achievements and failures at the end of a term. Reflect and devise a plan for a better term.
Strategies for:
VITALISATION
Preprimary
Primary
Secondary
Degree college
Teacher Training
Explanation
Use of stories, dramatization, questions, field visits, group activity, sharing activities, playway. At preprimary and primary stages encourage multi sensory experiences. They deepen the stage of interiorisation
Explanation
Use of stories, dramatization, questions, field visits, group activity, sharing activities, group projects, playway
Explanation
Use of stories, dramatization, questions, field visits, group activity, sharing activities, debates, discussion, self learning, independent library work, Projects, experimentation
Discussion, lectures, presentations, student seminars, use of web based learning as blogs, webquests, linkages with neighbourhood colleges, inquiry based approach, projects with industry linkage, portfolio designing, research
Discussion, lectures, presentations, student seminars, use of web based learning as blogs, webquests, linkages with neighbourhood colleges/ practicing schools, group work, inquiry based approach, projects with industry linkage, teacher portfolio designing, research.
Interiorisation and Transformation:
Preprimary
Primary
Secondary
Degree college
Teacher Training
Students being immature at this stage may need an explanation to assist interiorisation.
Students being immature at this stage may need an explanation to assist interiorisation.
Initiate interiorization by giving some lead questions to reflect over. Meditation, sharing one’s thoughts with a peer or the whole class will help
Reflection and peer sharing.

Insist on respecting the thoughts shared by others
Reflection and peer sharing.

Insist on respecting the thoughts shared by others

Action:
Could be on an individual basis: eg deciding to be a better person, deciding to be punctual, planning a schedule. On a social basis actions could be participating in different programmes eg planting trees, spreading awareness, deciding to give up use of plastic. Participatory responsibility like writing to concerned authorities, assisting an NGO, executing one’s duties as a citizen are all part of action.