9 May 2016

From the Director’s Desk

Coming into the past few weeks in this, the final newsletter of this academic year, we are in the process of reviewing and reflection. How well have our children learnt? How many opportunities did they get? How are our teachers doing in promoting learning? 

This includes looking at the inter-school events students participated in, tracking grades and progress.  Teachers in the middle and senior school are soliciting anonymous feedback from students and reflecting on their practice. It is a useful exercise and often a heartening one.

Educators tend to be self-critical, looking at an ever-receding horizon of what needs to happen next, forgetting to look back at how far we have come each year. We forget about new initiatives – in events like Founders, in introducing adaptive learning like Chalopadho in the middle school, or the author visits and guest speakers across primary and secondary school, the tributes in the MYP authorization report, the increase in competitive matches in primary and secondary sports. In some ways this is good – there is no space for complacency in education and it is only fitting that the bar is constantly raised.

PYP Exhibition
The PYP’s culminating assessment in the form of the PYP exhibition was a delight to see how much our Grade 5 students have learnt. The complex theme this year was an exploration of How We Express Ourselves – an idea which would be a challenge for many adults. Please click on the link below and watch the short video where students reflect on expression through art, media and dance. It speaks volumes for how students learn to think and examine deep ideas.

MYP Personal Project
Grade 8 students invited parents and students to view their personal project presentations, showcasing ingenious ideas and creativity. Topics included the creation of video games, a dynamo with a bike making electricity, apps, cookbooks, animated movies, fashion design, magic tricks with Aditing, a book on terrorism and much else.

Learning Opportunities in Art
Art students across the school benefited
from working with established artists to become familiar with mono-printing, mosaic art, ceramics, sculpture and calligraphy brush painting.

Middle and senior school students showcased at an assembly what they have learnt all semester in the various activity clubs they attended. There are 13 clubs for students to choose from, including chess, photography, cookery, upcycling, dance, drama, music both Indian and Western, community service etc. Some are run by external trainers, others by parents and our own teachers. The level of learning was generally excellent though inevitably the progress of individuals varied based on their interest and involvement.

Adult Education, Community Service and Workshops
In the past month the school held workshops for our support staff. 
One was on educating them on the prevention of sexual harassment, an increasingly important area for both men and women. The second was on cancer prevention and the importance of self-examination for breast cancer. Many of our didis expressed their profound gratitude at being educated into these crucial areas.

The Interact club held a bake sale in aid of CanSupport. It was a wholly student-driven initiative and one which led to some interesting discussion on whether fast food is the best sale item for this cause. Students pitched in favour of the market force of what sells well and would therefore raise most money, arguing that maximum fundraising was the aim and that students did not stop eating these items outside. It raised an ethical dilemma and got them to think about how they should define success criteria.

A leadership workshop was held for the academic staff: Heads of department, coordinators, Grade coordinators. It gave them the opportunity to reflect on their crucial and complex role.

Looking Ahead
Even as we look back we are simultaneously looking ahead at ways to enrich the programme further. The school is introducing Robotics as a support area in different parts of the curriculum across primary and secondary. An experienced teacher has been appointed and equipment is being purchased.
  We are also in the final stages of purchase of a 3D Printer to enable learning of and through this area.
    And we plan to enrich our PE and fitness curriculum through the formal introduction of Yoga at the secondary level as well.

Finally I would like to thank everyone who continues to make Pathways into a special learning environment for our children – our support staff, parents, teachers and school leaders. I hope you have a good summer and I look forward to seeing students back in school on 1st August.  For those of you moving away and leaving Pathways we very much hope you will stay in touch and continue to visit the school and be a part of it in the years ahead.

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director