In an era of computerization and high speed exchange of information through internet, mobiles, media, western societies are seeing an acceleration in lifestyle resulting in stress and downward trend in new generations. In schools around the world, in fact, every year students have increasing behavior problems with decreasing attention and concentration skills, more cases of dyslexia and other learning disorders. For this reason many researchers in pedagogia are searching for a solution to prevent learning disorders.
A final solution seems to come from an education that combines Western and Eastern methods. Two italian teachers Luigina De Biasi and Valentino Giacomin, have brought in India, after successfully experimenting with it for ten years in three Italian governmental schools, a new revolutionary school method called “Alice Project”. It takes the name from the Carroll’s novel “Alice in the Wonderland”: in the school, as following the white rabbit, students can find the path to knowledge of themselves and the world. In 1994, Giacomin and De Biasi founded the first Alice school in Sarnath (India), intercultural and generously open to the lower social classes. Today, after 20 years of operation, the school has more than a thousand students, and is officially recognized by the Indian government as NGO “Awakening Universal Special Education”.
The Alice Project takes as a model the delphic motto “Know Yourself” and promotes this through meditation and periodic assessments required by the teachers, in order to detect the specific difficulties of pupils. Also yoga, ayurvedic massage, and collective prayer, are practices useful to develop bio-psycho-spiritual unit, transpersonal psychology, and the emotional intelligence.
After conducting a considerable amount of research, the results were quite encouraging, and made the researchers wonder if they had in fact stumbled onto a possible solution to the problems plaguing modern societies in relation to student behavior and academic achievement.
Alice project has been studied with scientific method in order to prove that it can help even the children from the lower classes to bridge the gap towards their peers socially and economically more fortunate.
Within a few years, disadvantaged students who had failed in the early verbal and nonverbal tests proposed by the school psychologist, not only have recovered brilliantly disadvantage compared to socially higher students, but were also able to overcome them.
The Alice method include all spiritual teachings with no preferences of religion, teaching the attention to humanitarianism and ecology.
It is proved that in the Alice schools there are almost no discipline problems neither cases of students who suffer from hyperactivity and attention disorders or learning disabilities, diseases which instead concern other countries worldwide, even Italy where this research comes from. This new path in teaching, learning and human consciousness has been encouraged by Dalai Lama and sustained by private funds. In 2001 another school has been opened in Bodhgaya, and it is now partly self-managed by the students. A third school, for the Chakma ethnic minority is located in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.