5 February 2016

From the Director's Desk

Central to an IB education at any level is the area of Inquiry. Inquiry is a path to thinking and learning which is often unfamiliar to adults schooled in a more traditional system. Since it is so basic to our eduation system, it would be interesting to set out a piece of homework for ourselves as parents and adults.  As IB parents imagine that the Central Idea or Statement of Inquiry for you is How Children Learn Best  Is a Refection of the World We Live In Today.  In doing this, you would quickly come upon the concepts of inter-connectedness and the knowledge economy supported by technology. You would take into account shorter attention spans and individualizing learning for different styles of learning. You would see why flexibility in learning is important to promote learning rather than assuming that all children must do exactly the same thing in the same way. Most of all, you would confront the question of “Why is it important to learn this?”

      These are areas which teachers explore with every unit plan. Our students learn by doing and by working collaboratively. It is to share these experiences that we have Back to School events in primary and middle school which give you a taste of this learning environment – through the use of manipulatives, Ipads, group discussions. I hope that what you experience demonstrate why learning in this way is more effective and lasting.

The school subscribes to a number of online resources.  The online academic journal Jstor makes available scholarly articles used by teachers and Diploma Level students. The Britannica Online is regularly used by primary and middle school students. Across the primary school, Tumblebooks make available a wealth of books to students and parents – a resource that is specially useful during vacations.

Green School
The Pathways schools are a landmark in living the idea of energy conservation and green technology. We were recently awarded the LEED green certification – the second school in the entire world to be recognised. You can read about this in a  recent article in the Times of India, which recognises the school’s outstanding lead in this area. 

     We periodically test our air quality which shows that air inside the school campus is significantly cleaner than the surrounding areas, providing a healthier environment for our children.

Star Students
A number of our students have made us proud over the past few weeks. Radhika Sharma from Form 12 competed against writers from around the country to win a national award from Katha for her poetry writing on domestic violence.  

Three students from the middle school, Prachi Sharma, Aditya Jain and Samarth Modi participated in the India round of the World Scholars Cup,
competing against 100 teams. They were chosen to go through to the final round in Bangkok in the summer. 

      You can read their accounts elsewhere in this blog.

Star  Educators
We are delighted that a second member of our staff Ms S Indira has been invited by the IB to join a worldwide educator network as a workshop trainer and school visit team leader.  She will go on special training to Bali for this. In addition to her and our PYP Coordinator Vandana Parashar also an IBEN trainer, we have ten DP teachers who are recognised IB examiners. 

Devendra Shukla our senior Art teacher had a successful exhibition of work at the Triveni Kala Sangam. The event was inaugurated by Prof Rajeev Lochan, Director National Gallery of Modern Art with musical accompaniment by Mr Mario Mueller our Head of Music. 

Calendar Changes
Please note that there is a slight change in Sports Day which has moved from 26th February to 19th February.  This is because we have been informed by the IB that we can expect the MYP authorization team to come to school in early March. Students and teachers are well prepared for this and final preparations will be under way in end February.

Upcoming Events
With senior school students having just finished their examinations, we look forward to seeing their parents in school for the PTM and an introduction to the IB Diploma programme for Grade 10 parents and students. Careers Day for senior school students will see an introduction to some popular career areas in business, media, technology, medicine etc via an interaction with practitioners.
The primary school meanwhile is preparing for Grandparents Day and Early Learners for Rhyme Time Day – which will for the first time take place in the amphitheatre. 

   As always the next few weeks are packed with interesting learning opportunities at every level.

Dr. Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Senior School Principal, Mr. Alexander Abraham

The new year is already a month old and school is back to its normal routines and corridors filled with students beaming with joy and anticipation for what each new day carries for them. And as the new year has commenced we hear from students’ new resolve to try out new sports, work harder at their academics and look at new ways of learning and becoming better and unleashing latent abilities. It was the great writer C.S. Lewis who once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Words well said which once again shares the journey of a new year that has begun in earnest.

We have just concluded the semester ending exams for Senior School which have for the first time been held in January and it is interesting to note that students have shared that they could use the Winter Break to consolidate their learning and prepare for the exams in a more focused manner. However, we will look at all aspects as we chart out the course for the next year.

We look at our students’ achievements and are proud of them.
Radhika Sharma our student from Grade 12, was a finalist at the National Level Writing Competition where she was announced as one of the Five Grand Prize winners. It is wonderful to see our students excel on the National Stage and do so well. Another student of ours who has consistently been doing well at the National level is Kavya Gandhi
who has been excelling in badminton in various events and is one of the top seeds in the country for her age group. We have also had some of our students trialed out for the U-17 World Cup which is to be held in India in 2017. It is indeed delightful to see our students excelling in various fields.  That is what I believe we strive for at Pathways to create a space for each student to grow.  Very often we tend to compare ourselves with others and that leads to a sense of consternation, but one must compete with oneself and endeavour to improve and look for consistent improvement towards excellence. This is echoed so well in the words of Hemingway who once said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
The Second semester is replete with activities which are competitive though these are not to foster a sense of winners and losers but a sense of how to work at improving oneself and aiming for “Faster- Higher and Stronger”. Indeed education that works towards a goal to enable and ennoble a human being to achieve her/his utmost has fulfilled its task and aim. In this endeavour of building our children- our most prized gifts- we are proud partners and this is a cherished philosophy of Pathways.

At the recent Alumni Reunion of Pathways Schools in December 2015 we had the joy and privilege of our graduated students share their experience of the world “after Pathways.” Year after year we hear our students returning to tell us how they have been enriched by the learning they have had at school and how Pathways Noida prepared them for life. We then are quietly confident as we look out on the calendar year ahead that we will cherish new potential being discovered and students step forward to find their place in the sun. 

Academic Honesty Workshop Nishka Talwar, Grade 6 C

Grade 6 had an academic honesty workshop organized by Mr. Mohit and Mrs. Anju. In the workshop we were told about our school’s academic policy and about the rules that we had to follow in it. We were given situations in which we had to choose the right way to meet requirements. We were also informed about plagiarism; we were told that we have to give credit to whatever work we have used of somebody else’s and were also informed about the consequences of not giving credit.
Ms Anju and Mr Mohit taught us how to use the MLA format for citing other people’s work. After everything they told us what a bibliography was. I really liked this workshop because I didn’t know that there would be a huge consequence if you plagiarize and I wasn’t very clear on the MLA format but this workshop taught me everything. Overall it was very informative but fun at the same time.

Shining at the World Scholar’s Cup by Prachi Sharma Gr 8B

The ‘World Scholar’s Cup’ an event hosted by Indirapuram Public School was founded by Daniel Berdichevsky .We (Samarth Modi – Form 7, Aditya Jain Form 7 & Myself) took part in the event on the 19th and the 20th of January 2016. The event was on a large scale which saw participation by about 1000 students from 33 schools in Delhi NCR along with some schools from Mumbai and Patna. 
The idea behind the event was to create something different from the traditional academic competitions and conferences held round the year. The approach was to make academic participation joyful and rewarding at the same time.
It was a tournament which offered an opportunity for all round enrichment and motivated us to not just demonstrate our existing strengths but to discover new ones.
The theme for this year was ‘An Imperfect World’.
Based on the theme were the team events we took part in – 
1 -  Team Debate – An interesting format where we had 15 minutes to research on a topic and our argument, with full access to the Internet. After that we were all supposed to speak for 4 minutes each. The topics we got for debate were- All is fair in love and war, Lying on the internet should be illegal, and India could survive a zombie outbreak. 
2 - Collaborative writing – We got six statements, each from a different subject area and were asked to choose one to argue for or against. We got 30 minutes to prepare with our teammates, then an hour by ourselves to compose the most persuasive essay possible, then 15 more minutes to work together at the end.  
3 - Scholars Bowl – This was a buzzer round with all the teams. Every question that came our way was more difficult than the one before. Together, as a team, we solved analytical questions and multimedia challenges.
4 - Scholars Challenge It was multiple choice. The Challenge looked like any other test, but with an alpaca-powered twist: we could mark more than one answer per question. The fewer we marked, the more points we could earn if we were right. 
Together as a team we did a great job and we made it to the “Global Round” however we have a long way to go. 
We plan to go to Bangkok for the 2016 Global Round where 3000 scholars from over 40 countries will take part. I look forward to an interesting June 2016. 

Speaker of the Year by Gautam Narang, Grade 7

Whoooohooo!! It is SOTY time. We have been waiting for months for this opportunity to present ourselves on a platform where we can convey our thoughts and ideas to the people of the world. Speaker of the Year is a speaking competition where we have to go through several rounds for qualifying in the finals. Except that, a lot of people think that speaking competitions are really easy whereas they’re not. 
We have been working vigorously, trying to find the idea and information nobody has and which will blow the minds of the people. Months ago a trainer from Maverick ventures came and told us the process about the competition. Well, after hearing that information and instructions, it looked pretty interesting. So, people from 6th 7th etc. participated in the competition. 
Our teachers and people from the competition helped us in different ways. We were linked in their portal where we could share our information as well as we could go through several videos in the portal. This helped us a lot as we were now sure that everybody is on the same track, on which I am. In the end there was also a prize for the most responsive person on the portal. Also, our teacher-in charge made a classroom where we could have asked her questions and could browse through the videos and pictures. In the first round which was the group discussion, we had to discuss about our theme water. We were judged on our confidence, content and of course the speaking.

The second round was the personal interview in which we had to talk one-to-one to the person from speaker of the year. That was a really nice experience as we can share our ideas and thoughts to only one person and could share all the things you feel. They also tried to make speaker of the year a fun competition as we were dancing, singing, playing with the person from the competition. The third round was the speak- shoot where were supposed to make our speech which on water. After everyone was done we went back home, just waiting and so enthusiastic about the results. After a month, the results were announced. Some were happy, some were not but everyone enjoyed their journey. 

For the people who got selected they were supposed to go for the last two rounds to Ghalib auditorium. Tons of people were there and we were kind of scared to know that we had to face so many of them. Just when the competition started we started to dance to the song which was played to forget the tension and enjoy the whole journey. 
The first round was the panel discussion where 25 children, each panel were supposed to create their own opportunity and present their ideas. After that, one person from each panel was selected for the JAM round which was the final round. Just a minute round was a difficult one as we had to think in one minute and speak for one minute. After that the results were announced and the trophies were given. I think that the theme was a really nice one as water crisis is an issue that concerns each and every one of us. In the end, I would like to thank the people from speaker of the year for giving us that opportunity which hardly anyone gets.

Visit to Sai Bal Sansaar, Dong Je Seo, Grade 5

Some of the council members including myself went to the Sai Bal Sansar school on Wednesday. The reason of our visit was to support them as sponsors through ‘Read-a-thon’ event. While we read books and talked with them, we got to know what they really need.
While looking through the whole school, I was so surprised that they were happy even though they didn’t have a single light bulb and a window. If it was me, I would have been feeling bad. Suddenly I felt appreciative for my parents to give me comfortable home. 
I learnt a lot from them. I thought that I should read a lot and collect money that could support them. I was so happy about the ‘Read-a-thon’!!! I didn’t care much about it last year but now I got a reason why I should do it enthusiastically. I could help the unfortunate kids myself by just reading more!!!
So, What I learnt was that we should be thankful to our parents for taking care of us and teachers for teaching well and the school for giving a great environment. We therefore should always be grateful that we have a school like PATHWAYS!