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Seminar on Don Bosco's 'Preventive Method' of Education

By Fr. A.Jayaprakash
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Guwahati, Aug. 15. A seminar for teachers was held at the Mama Margaret auditorium of Don Bosco School, Panbazar, Guwahati on August 14, 2013. The main Theme of the seminar was Don Bosco's ''Preventive Method' of education. The resource person of the seminar was Dr. Peter Gonsalves, sdb, a Salesian priest from the Mumbai province, who is also a professor of Mass Communication at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Rome.
The modern day education system needs to do away with the archaic 'repressive method' of education, which was an ancient model of educating man as well as controlling the society, and adopt Don Bosco's 'preventive method' of education. This was the core idea of the teachers' seminar held at the Mama Margaret auditorium of Don Bosco School, Guwahati.

Around 250 teachers of five Salesian missionary schools of the city participated in the enriching and invigorating seminar. The participating city schools were Don Bosco School, Guwahati, St. Marys Guwahati, St. Marys Maligaon, Holy Child School, Krishnanagar, Guwahati and Little Flower School, Hatigaon.

The topics of the seminar were beautifully presented by Dr. Peter with powerpoint presentations and slide shows interspersed with clippings from the highly inspirational Taare Zameen Par movie as well as some disturbing video clippings of small children as young as five years being employed in the hazardous stone crushing industry in North Bengal.

The seminar started with the principal of the host school Fr. Antony Thekkel welcoming the participants and Vice Provincial Fr. Thomas Lakra introducing Dr. Peter Gonsalves to the audience. The other dignitaries present were Fr. VM Thomas, Provincial, Guwahati Province, Fr. TO Jose, Parish Priest and school Vice Principal Fr. Xavier Beck.

During the course of the seminar, Dr. Peter harped on the 'preventive method' of education of Saint John Bosco, the 19th century Italian Saint, and also added a new dimension, 'expressive method' of education, where the child is nurtured and allowed to blossom with his inherent or innate talents.

He urged teachers to shed corporal punishment and instead follow some of the non-violent ways to discipline children such as talking to the problem child, being patient with slow learners, appreciating and encouraging them, etc.

The seminar also saw some of the teachers emotionally share their own personal experiences with regard to corporal punishments. The seminar ended with Fr. VM Thomas addressing the audience, where he cited an example of a mischievous student during his stint as Principal of Don Bosco School, Guwahati in the 1980s, who always used to be thrown out of the class. That student has now gone on to become a novelist and a professor at the University of London.
-(Saikh Md Sabah Al-Ahmed)
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