Posts in Testimonials

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

Community Outreach- A beautiful, and special exper...

When our bus pulled up along the jagged, uneven sidewalk of the TC Halli Government school- for our first day of Community Outreach- my mind was swirling with curiosity. What would the children be like? Would they like me? Would it be difficult to communicate with them? I quickly pushed my thoughts away, as I spotted a crowd of giggling kids enthusiastically waving at us- bright, happy smiles spread across their eager faces. I found myself smile as I noticed their genuine eagerness and excitement as they grabbed our hands and pulled us inside- chattering happily. Honestly…I was really surprised and a bit overwhelmed by their friendly and happy attitude. I had never done anything like this before, and I had always wanted to do something to help our community. I was curious to see what this experience had to offer me. I set my bag on the table, and pulled out a colorful picture book, choosing to sit in front of a young girl in fourth grade. She beamed as I opened the book, and I noticed her eyes widening at the sight of the colorful pictures. Her bright eyes were filled with curiosity as I flipped the pages, listening attentively. As I glanced at the gray walls, and dull environment- I knew how she must have been feeling. She lifted her hand and slowly traced the picture as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing- and it seemed like she had drifted into her own world. But then- as if just remembering that I was there, she glanced at me cautiously. I smiled encouragingly, and she replied with a shy smile. I spent the next hour flipping through the colorful pages, and watching her enthusiastic expressions, as she tried to pronounce each word. We came to a page filled with a bright scene- with various animals scattered around. I spotted a cat, and she peered at it carefully. Recognition flashed in her eyes, and she looked like she was trying to remember its name. I decided to test my Kannada- to test my general knowledge- and to see if remembered anything from all those third language classes. I pointed at the cat. “Biku.” I told her, confidently. She giggled, clamping a hand over her mouth. “No- Bekku.” She corrected, smiling. I blushed, and decided to stick to the English. The time I spent teaching and reading to the children left such a deep impact on me. At the end of the visit, I felt emotionally attached to them, and so moved. I really wanted to do something for them, and I guess the best thing I could do was, teach them English. I was so touched by how sweet and affectionate they were, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a batch of kids so excited to learn something new. I think this is a truly a great step Inventure is taking – extending a hand to the rural community, and encouraging us all to help these kids. Looking at the conditions there, and their simple way of living- you can’t help but admire their strength. You can’t help but feel a sense of determination- a need to help the ones less fortunate than us. I think there’s actually a lot we can learn from them. Community Outreach is a beautiful, and special experience that all of us can learn from, and remember forever. It was like breaking out of the cushioned surroundings we live in, and experiencing the conditions of those less privileged than us- which opened up a new perspective on the life and people around me. More than the feeling of knowing I was doing something to help the society was the sense of pride and happiness I felt after the visit. Making others happy really make you happy. No matter how cliché it sounds- it’s true! We sixth graders really enjoyed the experience, especially because it was an entirely new experience for all of us. Here’s what we have to say: “I feel that the community outreach is a great experience for us to learn about our community and conditions. But what’s more important than just social awareness is the pride and joy after helping less privileged children. It’s been an amazing experience for me and my classmates. The bright smiling face of the children as we left was one of the happiest moments of my life!”
  • Mahika
“I found community outreach an enjoyable experience. We met other kids who spoke a different language and thought in a different way. It was such an amazing experience and the kids were so sweet. We found it a two-way learning session. They taught us some things, and we taught them some things!”
  • Akriti
“I loved the experience as it gave me an opportunity to connect with slightly less privileged children. I enjoyed teaching them as it gave me a chance and a hearty feeling that I was helping and making a difference in my society.”
  • Divya
“I think getting to visit a government school to make kids happy and have fun- and also to interact with them; it’s just so special and touching. I hope we spend all our SUPW periods this way!”      -    Siya By - Mitali (6B)

Math Magic!

Nooraine Fazal, Math Magic at Inventure Academy What do you get when you put 18 Kannada speaking 5th graders from a government school in front of PCs with access to Khan Academy? Magic! These kids had been bussed in from their school in Ramagondanahalli and were seated in Inventure Academy’s Computer lab on a bright sunny morning. We had a bunch of dedicated volunteers, 11th grade students from Inventure Academy and staff ready to help them if they needed help. We had planned the experiment to last an hour. At the end of the hour, we asked each child, should we stop the session and each of them said – “Please, can we have 5 more minutes?” We told them there was a yummy snack waiting for them when the session ended and that didn’t budge them either. These are kids who don’t necessarily get any breakfast when they come in to school and yet they were all glued into learning Math and couldn’t have enough of it. Several wished they knew what was being said in an American accented English, wished they understood what ‘Acorns’ or a ‘Ladybug’ meant but that didn’t deter them from learning. They asked for help, they asked for online hints, they watched videos and they all loved the smiley faces on the screen when they figured out how to solve a problem! They learnt shapes, how to tell time, add and subtract and did lots of word problems in a language they barely followed. And they never gave up. Not one of them threw up their hands in despair, not one of them said I don’t want to continue. Even the children who were weak in math said they would like to do it again because they love math! This experimental pilot was conceived and led by Nooraine Fazal CEO, Inventure Academy, Mallika Sen, Principal,  Inventure Academy & Lavanya Vimla, Teacher & Community Service Lead at Inventure Academy and Sumedha Rao of Whitefield Rising to understand how much of a barrier language was in the learning of math through Khan Academy. Our experiment clearly shows that even  though language was a constraint for some, it did not stop the learning process. In our feedback, each and every one of these children said that they would like to continue this type of self-paced learning and had fun doing so. In order to give these children an opportunity to continue to learn using Khan Academy in their own schools, we need your help – we need techies who can work with us in providing:
  • Affordable Solar powered UPS systems for these schools to ensure that they have uninterrupted power supply and
  • Reliable, affordable Internet connectivity and PCs
  • Setting up networking, security and firewalls for these PCs
Do you want to be part of this Math Magic? Please email Viji Vennelakanti at viji.vennelakanti@gmail.com

A few words from our Co Founder & Managing Tr...

Dear Members of the Inventure Community, When I last wrote to you, in the interest of brevity, I restrained myself from sending you more than a two - three page letter! In hindsight, that was a wise decision, since the numerous ideas that had crystallized from my trip to the U.S. last year, have slowly but surely, begun to take root from the "drawing board‟ into tangible, achievable and highly relevant projects here at Inventure Academy. This is "part two" of the letter I had committed to send you with more on the "Future of Education and Inventure". With so many exciting developments in the future of our partnership in education, I will be sending one more letter following this one, focused on the initiatives, and opportunities for you to participate in them. Please do read, and share in the excitement ahead! In the last letter, I had also written about Inventure's remarkable ten year journey in the field of education, where we now find ourselves placed among the top ten co-ed day schools in the country, two years in a row. There is no time or place for complacency, however. Education is an ever-evolving endeavor and our children are of course, at the core of this dynamic process. India and the world at large, face tremendous challenges and opportunities. It's up to us to build / re-design the present educational system, to make it more effective – both in the here and now as well as for the future. In my previous correspondence, I had shared the story on Gandhi's wisdom through a story (please refer to the first letter, which has also been sent along with this one). David Perkins, Harvard Professor, used to ask, what our "second sandal" is … i.e., what do we need to let go of to do the good we want / need to do in education? I would like you to set aside some time over the next day or two, to think back to your own time at school. Think back and write down what was the most useful thing you learnt at school, in hindsight. Now compare this with what you were tested on in your high school exam (err if you can remember this at all!). Is there a discrepancy that is apparent? Please feel free to share this with us by mail, and what you think your “second sandal” is. As Neil Postman (1995) said in the “End of Education”, “In considering how to conduct the schooling of our young, adults have two problems to solve: one is the engineering problem (method of teaching); the other, a metaphysical one (what learning matters and what is ultimately important?).” The future of Inventure is in the making, even as I write this. These developments, slated to begin from the Academic Year 2015 – 2016, are based on our responses to the following questions: 1. “What is the purpose of life, education and going to school?” Our belief is that we are all born with inherent talents; that we each have our unique dreams, learning preferences, and strengths. Education, therefore, should help each student figure out their passions and maximize their inherent potential. It should enable them to be the best version of themselves that they can be, while contributing to society to make the world a better place. 2. What will the world be like over the period of our students lives? What kind of learning truly matters for the kind of lives that our children will live in the future? What are the trends impacting the future of education? Here are some key ones to consider: - Improved communications and computerization – The new iPhones, reportedly have 25 times more computing power than the whole world had at its disposal in 1995! (source - the Economist). Our world is getting increasingly digitised. Think for example the tremendous impact of Wikileaks on our world, or even the potential impact of MOOCS on both society and education. Google our Prime Minister, Mr. Modi. Notice the summary which appears on the right hand side? My friends at Google tell me it‟s done by algorithms and not by a human being directly. - Globalization - The world is becoming increasingly small, more complex, global in every sense and interdependent. This brings both good ( as in the spread of peoples‟ movements for more democracy, i.e. the Arab Spring in the Middle East, Anti Corruption movement in India, etc) and bad manifestations of progress (where consumption patterns in one country can impact our globe‟s fragile balance and put more pressure on our natural resources including for food and water). And of course, for those of us who live in Bangalore, you know that despite us being the virtual back office to corporations all over the world, our physical infrastructure has crumbled. - Inequity with concentration of power and wealth in fewer hands, thereby increasing the divide between the "haves and have nots". Oxfam recently reported that 1% of the world‟s population accounts for almost 50% of the entire planet's wealth! For all the talk of India‟s demographic dividend, we are projected to have 200 million unemployed youth by 2020, further exacerbating the problem. - Development of the “on-demand economy”- According to a recent article in the Economist, (excerpted): “The future of work, the on-demand economy will inevitably exacerbate the trend towards enforced self-reliance that has been gathering pace since the 1970‟s. Workers who want to progress will have to keep their formal skills up to date, rather than on relying on the firm to train them (or push them up the ladder regardless).” This means accepting more challenging assignments or, if they are locked into a more routine job, taking responsibility for themselves. They will also have to learn how to drum up new business and make decisions between spending and investment. - More research has led to a better understanding of how the human brain has evolved and functions as man has evolved from a hunter-gatherer, agriculturist to a knowledge worker. We will be sharing the details of the initiatives being developed at Inventure in response to these points in my next mail to you. We at Inventure are fascinated by the future yet unknown. It is a future that needs to be shaped by our children. They need a relevant and purposeful education in order for them to fulfill their potential and excel anywhere in the world, and to be fit for life. We invite you join us in that collective quest, so that we may have a meaningful impact on the lives of our children in a new world. Yours faithfully, Nooraine Fazal Co Founder & Managing Trustee

Just Can’t Wait To Be Me Rehearsals

Lights! Camera! Action! And it unfolds, the dancers taking their places, choir trilling a note or two, actors ready to take the stage by storm and artists adding the finishing touches to the props. And cut! The primary block is brimming with excitement in anticipation for their school production - Just Can’t Wait To Be Me. A hilarious tale about a young girl who’s stuffed animals want to join her on her trip and will do whatever it takes. With only 2 days till the big show hits the stage, each and every performer, crew member and teacher is preparing for a dazzling and unforgettable show, where each line is spoken with clarity, each song in tune, each hand movement coordinated with elegant grace and each painting an amalgam of colours. But under all the seriousness is both a feeling of pride and anxiety. And the kids have every right to feel this way. Months of practice have been put in, hidden talents discovered and new friends made. The entire journey has been magical. The kids have worked tirelessly, determination and passion being powerful motivators. “One individual is not the most important thing in something so grand” says Miss Preet Aarons, our Primary School Head. Teamwork is the key to pulling off every show of this production. And this teamwork is one of the key lessons that the children have learnt during their time rehearsing. Hundreds of kids working as one unit however is not always easy. “It was really fun working together with new people, but a lot of the times co-ordination was hard”, commented 5th grade dancers Guhar and Vanshika. Upon being asked about other hardships, Kiara, an artist in the prop making team, told us about the difficulties they had with certain props, but also how in the end, their hard work and immense effort payed off. No one wants to let the whole crew down, so every member is working tirelessly to get everything that needs to be done finished and ready to perfection for the big day. We for one, can’t wait to see the glorious spectacle that awaits us. Hopefully we’ll see you all there to appreciate the amazing work these kids have done. Let’s go Juniors! We know for sure it’ll be a hit. By Prerna, Namrata and Anish, Grade 11AS