Posts in Testimonials

To my students

  To my students As I bid adieu to yet another batch….. I ask myself “What do I feel?” I feel proud to have been part of their lives... I ask myself “Would they recall the hurried crammed up facts?” I believe that years from now they will perhaps remember some facts vaguely but they will reminisce on the stories we shared. Of kindness. Of Humaneness. I ask myself “Did I not listen to their confused minds patiently?” Yes, with a firm belief in the inherent goodness of young minds and young people I ask myself “Did I leave any stone unturned towards success?” Maybe yes, for I shared with them the importance of failures I ask myself “Did I shower them with enough love and affection?” I think I did. Despite the late submission, absenteeism, and occasional rebuke ☺ I ask myself “Will they remember me?” They would reply “In our Nostalgia of Space? May be somewhere…yes somewhere.. “ And now I ask myself “What next” as I look around at the empty corridors … And realise that ‘Life goes by in the blink of an eye’

Flawless by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  We teach girls to shrink themselves To make themselves smaller We say to girls "You can have ambition But not too much You should aim to be successful But not too successful Otherwise you will threaten the man" Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage I am expected to make my life choices Always keeping in mind that Marriage is the most important Now marriage can be a source of Joy and love and mutual support But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage And we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to each other as competitors Not for jobs or for accomplishments Which I think can be a good thing But for the attention of men We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings In the way that boys are Feminist: the person who believes in the social Political, and economic equality of the sexes

International Round Square Conference – Chit...

  Chittagong Grammar School, the institution that held the first International Round Square Conference I ever attended. Bangladesh was a country I had never been to before, so I had no idea what to expect. The first night was the opening ceremony and it was quite short and ended quickly. However,  when we got to CGS the second day, we were all in different groups and were made to mingle with everyone. I think that day, I made a lot of friends from the school. We went on a long trek, got to know each other better and played some games at night. That was the day I realised that no matter where you go in the world and how different cultures may be, the people, their attitudes and the way they grow and some of the things they do will always be universal. We had so much in common with regard to taste in music, what we like doing in our free time, what we like to do with friends, how we’ve learnt things and what our interests are. I was able to gel with them very quickly and effortlessly. On the third day, we had a lot of activities-we painted on bamboo sticks, made a kite, played a treasure hunt, played some ball games but my favourite part was when they called students from government schools and we interacted with them as they drew and coloured on pieces of paper. They were all really smart and they were so aware of their city and it’s history, I was so happy to learn that. Chittagong has done a lot to uplift the poor and uneducated and they continue to do so, they have even inculcated these morals within the CGS students. Because of this, they are very empathetic. After the day’s activities, the school conducted a Jam night with great food, music and lights. We had a lot of fun and it was a great way to end our last night together in Bangladesh. One more really important connection I made was with the students from other Indian schools located in Nainital and Delhi. We were even in the same hotel so we spent a lot of time together, ate all of our meals together and travelled together. We grew extremely close by the last day. Thanks to the digital age, all of us are still in touch and continue to update each other about major events in our lives and just how we are doing even in general. I am really happy about it. I am really grateful about the fact that Inventure is part of Round Square because I do believe it is really essential, especially for people my age. Students learn so much from it, from differences in culture and area codes to learning there are still several similarities in upbringing and interests. Students develop great social skills and learn to make the best out of every situation.

The POCSO Effect

  A workshop on POCSO was held at Inventure Academy for its support staff. This was conducted by Smita and Priyadarshini from Enfold, an organization that has created a unique scientific and value based program on Life Skills, Gender Empowerment, Sexuality and Personal safety for children. Topics discussed included Social responsibility, Safety and sexuality, Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Child Sexual Abuse-Awareness and Sensitization. The session was very interactive, with the support staff appreciating the workshop! We spoke to some of the support staff at school which included drivers, bus didis, housekeeping didis and the canteen staff. Arunkumar has been a driver with Baghirathi, our transport vendors, for the past 4 years. “I was very happy with the training given to us. It has made me even more conscious of how I should handle any difficult situation with patience and calm. Treating everyone with respect and ensuring that I am on my best behavior has always been my mantra and after this session I am even more determined to be one of the best school bus drivers in the company.” Nandiyammal is a school didi and has been with us since 3 years. “The training program opened my eyes and gave me a good idea of how my behavior can affect the children. As a mother I have a lot of patience with the students. If a child or faculty member is rude I would ask them to not speak to me in that manner as I am also a human being working with dignity.” Subash Mallik is a canteen staff member and has been with us since 5 years. “We have had such training programs in the past in school. I learned something new and different this year with regard to actions and consequences.” Mary Josephine and Pushpa have been bus didis for the past 2 years. “We appreciated that someone was taking time to explain to us, what was acceptable behavior, not just in school but also in our own homes! Though we knew most of what was explained we were made aware of many issues that we had not paid close attention to.”

Learning to Transform Waste into Treasure!

  Grade 6 visited The Spinning Wheel at Bellandur, where they had a delightful experience learning how waste can be judiciously converted into objects of treasure. Students were asked to carry waste products like old bottles, newspapers, rubber tubes, old wooden frames, metal cans or bottle caps from home. These were used to make creative and useable products. During their visit they were asked to contemplate on various questions like: What is waste? Are there different types of wastes? How do we presently dispose off waste? What is the impact of growing waste on the Environment? What role can you play to reduce this impact? The students were very creative with their answers and their produce!

Grade 11 go on the Nag Tibba Trek!

  Outbound trips are an integral and compulsory part of the Beyond Academics Program at Inventure. In collaboration with INME, an organisation that designs learning experiences using adventure and challenge, students are given the opportunity to learn numerous life skills during their travel. This trip’s focus is learning about ‘Enhancing Consciousness’, ‘Community Building’ and ‘Exploration’. Read the experiences of some students here.

Middle School Publishing

  Opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing was the first term’s focus in the Reading & Writing workshops held for Grades 6 - 8. They showcased their writing skills to parents and peers alike, covering some interesting topics like ‘Children should be taught Philosophy in School’, ‘Yoga should be made compulsory in schools’ and ‘Is Animal Testing justified?’. During argumentative writing, students think of topics and then evaluate whether their chosen topic can be argued for or against. This is followed by learning how to establish a claim and use evidence from text/media to support this claim. The students then include their reasoning behind why they chose that evidence and how it ties to their claim. While in Narrative writing students learn about character development, descriptive settings, how to knit a sequence of events together, use of dialogues, and to wrap up their story with a strong ending.

Principal and Head of Middle & Senior School

  Meenakshi Myer, earlier Head of Middle and Senior School, has taken over as Principal of Inventure Academy. While Shruthi Y. Arun is now Head of Middle and Senior School. We take this opportunity to Congratulate them in their new roles! Read more about them below. Meenakshi Myer has proven her passion towards holistic development as well as academic rigour since she has come onboard in July 2016. She is an educator with vast experience both in national and international education. Prior to joining Inventure, Meenakshi was an educator at Indus International School, Bishop Cottons Girls School, and Bangalore International School. She also held leadership roles at Indus - both at the school and the training and research institute.  Meenakshi has a Master’s Degree from Delhi University and a B.Ed.  She considers teacher training the most vital part of her career, as she feels well-trained faculty, versed in the best practices of 21st-century education, constantly redesigning and upgrading their practice, are the biggest value additions to the teaching-learning process. She believes that education should create open-minded, sensitized lifelong learners who are prepared to face the challenges of life with confidence and resilience.  She is passionate about History and her biggest takeaway from the subject has been to develop a capacity to learn, unlearn and relearn in life. Shruthi Y. Arun’s passion for education and her drive for excellence has been shaped over the past 14 years as a Senior School educator, Head of School and Principal. Her career spans across schools offering International and Indian curricula, in Bangalore and Mumbai. These include Vidyashilp Academy, Ecole Mondiale World School, Vibgyor High and Indus International School. A Post Graduate in Science with a UGC NET Certification and Junior Research Fellowship Award, she believes in being a lifelong learner and is currently pursuing an intensive 2 years’ job-embedded Course, culminating in a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. Shruthi believes in providing meaningful academic experiences to students that are rigorous, relevant, and help them build relationships while making real-world connections. She also thinks it’s crucial that everyone who steps through our doors- teachers, students, and parents- are excited and happy to be here, enabling us to meet the challenges of academic excellence in a positive, fun and nurturing environment.  Her belief in the Inventure Philosophy and desire to be associated with us through our journey prompted her to move from the role of a Principal to that of Head of School- Middle and Senior, at Inventure.

Exams Tips for Parents

  March usually is the dreaded exam season everywhere. This period of time involves a lot of stress and anxiety for both the parents & children. But, during this time, it is the role of the parents to remain calm and provide unlimited moral support to the kids. Displaying nervousness and anxiety can deter the confidence of the child, leading them to be distracted and apprehensive about their future. As parents you might be stressed and say unimportant things that could create blocks in your child’s mind. Resist any kind of urge to threaten or mention things like “your entire life depends on this, or you won’t get into a good college!”. Also, avoid mentioning any amounts of money or financial sacrifice you’ve had to go through to put them through school. A holistic child growth: Parents also need to understand that exams are not the end of the world; and a child should grow up in a holistic environment that involves stress-free activities like watching TV, playing games or spending time with friends and family. This would ensure their education is successful and they will grow into a mindful individual. As parents here are some tips that you should definitely follow:
  1. Let them study the way they want to: As parents, you should always respect your child’s studying style. They might want to study alone for hours together or study with their peers. Sometimes when children are studying together, their understanding of subjects is much clearer as it involves questioning, revising and learning together that does not happen when they are alone.
  2. Be a support system: Being supportive in any way will help the child study better. Help them prepare a studying schedule, or put up a timetable in the house so that everyone knows what exam is the following day. Sit with them, have conversations about things other than studies; this will ensure they’re relaxed and will be able to prepare better.
  3. Let them be involved in activities: It is not good to be an old school parent who cut off internet & TV time during board exams. The child does not have the capacity to study the entire day. Taking periodical breaks in the middle is essential. It’s a positive distraction that ensures that after the break studying is faster and better.
  4. Ensure balanced meals: It is the parent’s responsibility that during exam time they should feed the children a balanced meal of carbohydrates and proteins. So ensure they eat lots of vegetables, eggs, fish and fruits. Once in awhile junk food can be allowed, but not regularly.
  5. Do not put any pressure: Parents should understand that exams and marks are important but not more than the health of their child. There are more things in life to cherish than this. Let your child breathe, and avoid putting any pressure on them by reminding them to study, comparing them with peers or giving them any advice.
Our in-house counsellor Sanaaz Tyagi says, “It’s an important time of the year and parents are all worked up over the upcoming exams. But, what's essentially important to keep in mind is that you stressing out is only going to further stress your already worried child. Stay calm and reassure your child that you believe in their capabilities. Also, provide them with reassurance and support that they need to overcome their apprehensions. What's most significant is to remember that academics are a part of life and not life itself. “ Lastly, as parents it is important that you are updated about anything important happening at your child’s school, be it events or informative workshops; you can start with reading newsletters, or checking the school/exam websites, and attend educational sessions that will lead to your child performing as per his/her capabilities.

Nirbhaya documentary debate: An opportunity to re-...

From Sureshbhai Patel, who was left paralysed due to excessive physical force from overzealous policemen in the USA for being a “coloured” human being walking on the streets of a xenophobic town, to Nirbhaya who was brutally raped in a moving bus in New Delhi, it is apparent there is an erosion of the basic and universal values that we perhaps tend to take for granted. It is left to us to salvage this state of anomie by inculcating in children universal values such as respect, compassion, treating people the way one wants to be treated and helping those who are in need. In the Indian context, it is imperative that we stay away from those so called “traditional” values which often reinforce and encourage discrimination against women and merely reinforce the injustices that stem from the resultant gender discrimination. The documentary about the Nirbhaya case (which is now banned) renders most of us too numb to say anything. We are shocked by the sentiments expressed by the rapists, their lawyers and families. It is devastating for us as people who are responsible for young lives that we co-inhabit this world with people who feel this way, with total disregard, for their fellow beings. So, how do we deal with this situation? Our children live in a world that is our creation. Therefore, it is fair to say that they are victims of our own design. We want them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, yet, don’t encourage open discussion, debate, time for reflection about controversial and sensitive issues such as rape, gender discrimination and grossly unfair social norms and stigmas. We conveniently sweep under the carpet the issues that rankle and show us in poor light in the eyes of our children. Children have access to the internet, with both its wonders and horrors, the media, post-modern expressions of ambivalence through art and music that border on nihilism and yet, we expect them to be unaffected by all of this, somehow. It is high time that we make amends for our own indiscretions and create avenues for frank and open discussion with our children / students about these “uncomfortable and controversial” issues to help them make sense of the double standards that are rampant in our society. The Nirbhaya documentary showed that the crime was brutal, while the rapist's comments as well as those by eminent politicians, lawyers and citizens of prominence are reflective of the frequently dysfunctional views of women in our society. We need to confront such challenges to enable our transition to a 21st Century society, rather than pretend they don’t exist. We cannot even venture to call the viewpoints expressed by the two defence lawyers and one of the rapists in the documentary misogynistic or prejudiced, because that would connote a viewpoint that is at least in some shape or form, human. What schools and colleges can do? Educational institutions must open up avenues for debate and reflection on these issues and children should be deliberately included in policy making to address the very social problems that they will face as adults, or are already facing. Educational institutions should target children from senior school upwards to participate in a program facilitated by teachers and counsellors structured in perhaps the following ways: Develop an insight into how systems work (i.e. use a systems-based thinking approach to address this issue) – examine what has led to this incident / other incidents or views on women’s rights and gender parity issues in Indian society.
  • Develop an insight into how systems work (i.e. use a systems-based thinking approach to address this issue) – examine what has led to this incident / other incidents or views on women’s rights and gender parity issues in Indian society.
  • Ethics – revisit those ‘universal values’ and communicate to children that these are the innate values that we have espoused as human beings through history. Also assess how our personal, individual and collective conduct has an impact on our society
  • Use a range of lenses / subjects (including sociology, psychology, history, literature, law, marketing and economics) and an interdisciplinary approach so that all children can resonate with the message that is being projected.
  • Discuss the issue of rape and sexual advances by men whether on buses, in other public areas and in workplaces. Raise awareness about gender parity issues in India, access to education for all, particularly the female child, unequal remuneration scales for men and women, etc.
  • Explore the psychological / emotional / social issues vis-à-vis women’s role in society. What makes someone rape another person, and think it is okay, and get away with it if one has a position of influence in society, or express the views that the defence lawyer / the family of the rapists have in the Nirbhaya documentary? What about those who oppose these views? What has led to these differences of opinion? What is the impact of these divergent views on society and women at large? How do we address them? What do students, parents and faculty think is right, based on their own beliefs / values? How can children participate in designing a future that is theirs? And finally, what can we do to create more awareness about these issues?
  • Look at relevant laws, both in India and overseas with respect to human rights, gender issues and privacy. What should the consequences be and how should women learn to guard against and deal with such incidents? Should the Nirbhaya documentary have been banned? Was it right to divulge the name of the victim? Should the victim’s photograph have been publicised? Should the rapist have been interviewed? Should the film have been aired by BBC when the case is still in court?
  • Use these sessions as an opportunity for action, and informed political and social activism – work on developing and advocating an effective system to address this. While we can set the stage for young adults to explore these issues, it would be ideal if the responses and recommendations came from the students themselves. It is our responsibility as educators to empower our youngsters to be aware, informed, sensitive, with strong values and character, and help them arrive at their own stance on these and other issues.
  • This can also be accomplished through position papers, open discussion among students, questionnaires developed by students to gather a consensus on views and ultimately develop a charter from students that can be shared with governmental agencies and politicians to make relevant changes so that women are viewed as equals. An extremely valuable exercise would be for students from different backgrounds to collaborate on these deliberations.
We from Inventure Academy, a Pre-K to 12 international school on Whitefield-Sarjapur Road, Bangalore, hosted a similar event on child protection in November/ December 2014. We created a student charter on safety on the basis of responses from 1100 students across the socio-economic and cultural spectrum in the city. We believe that ALL human beings are fundamentally good. We also believe that all of us have the inherent ability to reflect, examine our actions and underlying values / beliefs, learn and change for the better. It is with this underlying premise that we must embark on the quest of building a more respectful, empathetic and just society, along with our children towards a future that is better than our present. Let’s seize this opportunity to make it happen! - Nooraine Fazal, Ramesh Hariharan, and Mallika Sen Nooraine Fazal is Co-founder and Managing Trustee, Inventure Academy, Bengaluru. Mallika Sen is Principal, Inventure Academy, Bengaluru. Ramesh Hariharan is Vice-principal, Inventure Academy, Bengaluru. Read more at: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/nirbhaya-documentary-debate-an-opportunity-to-re-define-our-future?utm_source=copy