Don Bosco’s Way Introduced to 986 Teachers in northeast India

Program coordinator Fr Thomas Lakra with Prof. Gonsalves, at Guwahati.

Program coordinator Fr Thomas Lakra with Prof. Peter Gonsalves, at Guwahati.

GUWAHATI, (C.M. Paul) — In a multi-city program spanning the entire northeast India, author of Don Bosco’s Way spent three weeks visiting nine centres introducing his book to teachers in Salesian Institutions.

“The day-long program had teachers from average three or four institutions from the neighbouring area participating,” says author and facilitator Dr. (Fr) Peter Gonsalves, Associate Professor at the Social Communications Faculty, Salesian University Rome.

Presenting the introductory course for the self study guide on Don Bosco Way of Educating took Prof Gonsalves, originally from Mumbai province, to Dimapur, Kohima, Woka, Imphal, Maram, Doimukh, Jorhat, Doom Dooma and Dibrugarh. During this trip Fr Gonsalves addressed 986 teachers from some 50 institutions.

Fr Gonsalves was at the Provincial House Guwahati, 9th August, talking to an exclusive group of the Salesian Family members consisting of Salesians, Salesian Sisters, Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians.

“It’s only here in the northeast that I have addressed groups of teachers along with members of the Salesian Family,” said Prof Gonsalves who has covered eight provinces of Salesian India over the last three summers, starting with Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Dimapur, Guwahati and in the coming days Shillong.

Every new teacher in Don Bosco Schools knows that he or she has to clear an on-line program on the Don Bosco’s System (style) of education.

It is made mandatory in several Don Bosco Insitutions across the country for new teachers to clear the on-line course within the first six months of their appointment.

“Let’s not force it upon the teachers, nor take the soft option of leaving this induction program to their good will,” said Fr Gonsalves reminding the audience the Don Bosco jayanti bi-centenary theme for August 2012-2013 is “Don Bosco’s Method of Education.”

The DB’s Way as presented by Prof Gonsalves is an attempt to re-interpret DB’s original method of education for South Asia with its pluri-religious context, domination of corporal punishment, and the lack of space for creative expression in education.

“Nurturing presence lived in an environment of care and concern for young people with space for opportunities for creativity and self expression is the hall mark of the DB’s Way,” Fr Gonsalves reminded the audience.

It all started in 2008 when Fr. Adolf Furtado and Fr. Mario Vaz at the Don Bosco Kurla Institute of Learning wanted all teachers to be collaborators in the Don Bosco’s Way of educating. They called on Prof Peter Gonsalves author of 1994 “Growing with the Young” cartoon book DB’s Way made for teachers. It was the first time that teachers and parents had Don Bosco’s system of education explained in the multi-faith context of India in carton format.

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