How Much Do We Really Need? – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replace

Four hundred Primary School students of Inventure Academy, one of the top ten Pre K – Grade 12 co-educational schools in the country located on Whitefield-Sarjapur Road in Bangalore, in association with the Shankar Mahadevan Academy (SMA), put on a spectacular program for their parents, friends and other guests.  The program, called “Celebration of Learning”, is an annual Inventure Academy event that showcases children’s learning through theme – based innovative, experiential activities and exhibits.

This year’s program on the theme of “How Much Do We Really Need? – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replace,”  focused on raising awareness about the environment, the peril faced by endangered animals like tigers, indiscriminate waste of resources through human activity and the resultant generation of non-biodegradable refuse that humanity will have to contend with for posterity.  Given the scale and nature of this year’s program attended by 1,100 parents and friends of Inventure Academy, it was held today, March 22, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the MLR Convention Center in Whitefield, Bangalore. The 1,100 seater auditorium was filled to capacity with an initially expectant and later, exhilarated audience.

When Shankar Mahadevan, renowned music director and singer, along with representatives of his music academy approached Inventure Academy to launch a music program at the school, a unique and novel idea began to germinate in the minds of the school’s curriculum development specialists – an idea that would develop into more than a mere musical performance.

Music, art and dance, are the most natural, instinctive and universal mediums of human communication that present no barrier across all age groups and cultures in approaching teaching and learning of complex themes.  Since this year’s theme for the Celebration of Learning Program focused on “How Much Do We Really Need?” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replace – what better way to approach the theme than through music, art and dance?  And so, the students and teachers of Inventure Academy, along with the able guidance of teachers from the Shankar Mahadevan Academy, embarked on a three month-long teaching / learning program, involving five grades with three sections each, comprising a grand total of 400 children culminating in today’s show, which was delivered with aplomb and received with much acclaim.

All the songs, dances, art work, written messages as well as the sets and props on stage, were designed with a theme in mind and endeavored to educate the audience through the appeal of catering to at least one of the 8 human intelligences – musical /rhythmic, visual / spatial, verbal / linguistic, logical / mathematical, bodily /kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. These eight spheres of human intelligence are based on Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which underpins all teaching and learning activity at Inventure Academy.

The compositions and lyrics for all the songs in English, Bengali, Kannada, Hindi and other regional languages, were composed representing a variety of genres and written by specialists from the Shankar Mahadevan Academy, based on the theme based lesson plans that the Inventure Academy teachers had developed.  All the dances and artwork were conceptualized, choreographed and supervised by Inventure Academy teachers. The result of this innovative, integrated approach was a spectacular show that highlighted how teaching and learning need not always be based on textbooks and tests, but more effectively  internalized and shared with others through more instinctive and appealing modes of communication.

Shankar Mahadevan, who capped-off the show by singing a stirring rendition of his popular hit Taare Zameen Par with 400 delighted students of Inventure Academy, enthralled the audience with his mellifluous voice and charisma.  Before singing this song, Shankar Mahadevan saluted the students and teachers of Inventure Academy as well as his own academy (SMA), for their efforts: “Music is existence. It’s not about the ‘sur’, (pitch) or hitting the right note every time. It’s about the understanding, the appreciation and learning through music in so many ways like the kids showed us today. I am floored by the students of Inventure Academy!”

Shankar Mahadevan’s second song was a lively rendition of “Senorita” from the film Zindagi Na Milege Dobara, which he dedicated to all the female teachers of Inventure Academy in appreciation for their efforts. All Inventure Academy teachers along with their students and members from SMA, danced with abandon onstage, with a wonderful singer who had planted a seed that quickly grew into a wonderful concept.