A Book Fiesta
Book fairs play an important role in encouraging the reading habits of people of all ages. Our 4-day long Scholastic Book Fair, organised by Ms. Jayashree for Elementary School, was a roaring success. There was an overwhelming response from students, parents and teachers who appreciated the wide range of books on colourful display.
While the culture of reading has been changing, the success of the fair showed that the readers of printed material still exist; and book fairs promotes good reading habits!
Months of preparation, planning, rehearsals, training and hard work finally culminated in the spectacular show that was Kalarpana. On Friday, the 9th of December, parents, friends and families of Elementary and Middle School students were treated to a dance, and an Indian Music, Tabla and Western Music extravaganza at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, which was a delight to the senses. Every student in the Elementary Section and many from Middle School were involved in the production.
Students danced to the theme of the ‘Elements’. Like a scene from a dream, students twirled and swayed across stage as they embodied fire, water and wind. Graceful dancers representing “air” wrapped themselves in translucent, shadowy wings; vibrant cloths of blue rose and fell to convey the rhythms of the ocean. The props were colourful and magnificent, complementing the movement of the students to capture the ephemeral nature of the elements.
The tabla recital (a bandish) had students of different ages playing in perfect sync. The Indian Music component showcased a variety of ragas, sung with heady enthusiasm by the students. Some of the songs were original compositions of Ms. Maraballi, the Indian Music teacher. The night ended with a Western Music medley of popular show tunes. Students were dressed as orphans from Annie, as umbrella-wielding gentlemen from “Singing in the Rain”, and little budding flowers and seeds, brightening up the evening of all those present in the crowded auditorium.
It was a magical evening that will be remembered by all for years to come!
MAIS organises a national conference on Specific Learning Disabilities in Middle and High School: Policy, Pedagogy and Practice
The school organised a national conference on Specific Learning Disabilities in Middle and High School: Policy, Pedagogy and Practice on December 2nd and 3rd, 2016.The purpose of the conference was to:
- increase awareness of the nature of Specific Learning Disabilities
- share subject specific classroom and home based strategies
- discuss existing accommodations and accommodation pathways
- examine existing policies and laws
- empower stakeholders to advocate for the rights of students with Specific Learning Disabilities
The two day conference saw a vibrant mix of keynote addresses, interactive workshops, and panel discussions. Participants at the conference included heads of schools, teachers from middle and high school sections, special educators, students of special education, school counsellors and parents from across India. Feedback from the participants indicates that the conference added value to the practice of supporting students with Specific Learning Disabilities in India by:
- broadening the scope of intervention and practices in middle and high school
- recognizing parents, mainstream teachers and heads of schools as crucial stakeholders
- sharing evidence-based practices
- focusing on the interaction of social and emotional factors with learning
- enabling successful transitions to high school and college
The conference also provided opportunities to build networks of practitioners facilitated by the creation of special interest groups.
LMTRIX - The Talent Show
Written by Rhea Matheikal, Std. 06
"Go Class 6! You can do it!"
Every year, students of Class 6 host a show that displays the talent of our very own Elementary School. This year, the theme of the show was Magic. Everything was magical and mysterious, from the name to the decorations. The name of our wonderful show was LMNTRIX (Elementrix). Preparations for decorations, background music, material for the emcees, band practice, preparation for ushers etc. took most of our classes and spare time. We all did our very best for this once in a lifetime opportunity. With the help of our Art teacher, Ms. Archana, we made enchanting decorations and a beautiful backdrop. It was a clash of colours and stars with tall, bold mountains in the front. Ms. Tanvi, Ms. Anita and Ms. Navaz helped us make groups according to our interests.
Finally, the time of the show arrived and we were very busy and nervous. Ushers guided the artists and audience. The emcees were backstage waiting for the right time to hop on stage and give their all. One at a time the participants displayed their lovely acts. Little Michael Jacksons and proud Charlie Chaplins came and bravely performed on stage. Class 6 had a few acts as well. There was a talented juggler, tricky magicians, a piano player, and a band for the grand finale. The show demonstrated our strengths and displayed our teamwork. There may have been some up and downs, but as a whole I thought the performers were awesome, and the hosts were magnificent.
The Aditi Alumni Association hosted Poet-Tree in the Elementary Section on the 24th of January. This event was held to honour the memory of Mrs. Anne Warrior, the founder and first principal of MAIS.
Teachers and students enjoyed an afternoon of poetry recitation and performance with High School teachers and teachers who were associated with the school earlier. Small groups of students were enthralled by poems which were hilarious, magical, complex or nonsensical. They also took time to write poems of their own which were displayed all over Elementary School. In keeping with the theme, the poetry installations looked like vines, leaves and fruits.
The Aditi Institute presents Shyam Tekwani in Conversation with Hema Mandanna
An article by Nayantara Ghosh
Shyam Tekwani, a member of faculty of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, has an extensive background in media having spent nearly 15 years as an acclaimed photojournalist covering insurgency and conflict in South Asia. More recently he has focused on the application of new media by insurgent and terrorist groups – his percipience never more apparent as he sits as the speaker for the third talk in the series by The Aditi Institute, passionately talking of the influence of photographs in shaping the opinions of a nation and its people; candidly speaking of the six or so weeks he spent in the perilous jungles of North-Western Sri Lanka with the LTTE and the Indian Army – the two opposing sides in a combat that left between 80,000-100,000 dead.
The talk, however, begins on a far less grave note, although just as profound – the ethics of photojournalism, which seems to polarise the photography community on the ethics of manipulating (through cropping, staging or enhancing) any image … and on a far more human note, the ethics of helping those whose suffering is being documented rather than standing idly behind a camera, capturing a mere fraction of suffering in human existence, for posterity – a perhaps unavoidable conflict between a photojournalists role and the conscience of man.
Unsurprisingly, there is soon a vigorous discussion impending as members of the audience too, begin to debate the morality of leaving an individual clearly in pain or suffering, to fend for themselves for the sake of a picture or a happy editor the next morning. Nearly half an hour later (with more to continue later on), an agreement … or at least a vague semblance of one has been reached: photojournalism is intended to portray reality, and thus any manipulation simply dilutes any accuracy of the portrayal of the situation; and that any conclusion on the moral obligations of a photographer or photojournalist, will have to be reached at an unspecified time in the distant future, as the opinions seem divergent not only between members of the audience, but between different images as well. For example, between the infamous photos of ‘The Burning Monk, 1963’, and ‘The Vulture and the Little Girl, 1994’, which, if popular opinion is anything to go by, demanded starkly contrasting roles of photographer involvement.
To quote Tekwani, “The role of photojournalism is to capture a slice of reality as it unfolds, without trying to influence the meaning. Manipulation falsifies the image.” Many of these acclaimed photos however, as recognised by Tekwani, are intrusions – often imposed upon the suffering for the sake of a good shot, and perhaps a Pulitzer or two.
Now, Tekwani is recounting his time working for India Today, in search of photographs of the Tamil Civil War in Sri Lanka, where there was a bloody war being waged against the Indian troops sent in as aid, which continued till nearly 1990. Truth however, seemed to be the deadliest casualty, with conflicting reports on death tolls from opposing sides, and the obstruction of information by various parties, most significantly the Indian Government.
A wry smile on his face, Tekwani describes the adverse risks he took to simply enter the country and reach the war – smuggled in and led blindfolded for nearly 6 days across the Sri Lankan forest terrain, only to reach far more danger – the bloody war.
In relation to insurgents, Tekwani now begins to talk of one of his various areas of expertise – the use of social and new media in relation to terrorism and insurgency – hardly a new technique, despite the sensationalisation of the use of social media by ISIL, often decried as revolutionary, as Tekwani deftly runs through the history of the role of media in allowing power to terrorist cells (‘’Publicity is the oxygen of terrorism.’’ – Margaret Thatcher), beginning with Black September, Munich 1972, where newspapers and television had been the weapon of choice.
More pertinent to this discussion however, involves something apparently more banal – the exploration of what makes a group of rebels, or insurgents, ‘terrorists’ – a definition hardly agreed upon by governments, domestically and internationally; and possibly never to reach any kind of universal objectivity.
Aditi students ‘Reach Out’ to the community
Text by Gehna Manglani; Photos by Aanya Suri
The Interact Club hosted their annual fund-raiser – ‘Reach Out’ – in association with Bounce Back*, on 13th August, 2016. The event comprised of sporting events as well as a Battle of the Bands contest, both of which added greatly to the event’s turnout. Students, family and friends, were invited to participate in this open-to-all event.
The top prizes for basketball were taken home by the All Stars and St. Joseph’s Boys High School, while the Bengaluru Football Club took home the football trophy. The Battle of the Bands was open to group bands as well as soloists. The band from The International School Bangalore (TISB) took home a brand new set of speakers, and soloist Bhumika, a headset.
The turnout on the day of the event exceeded expectations by an unimaginable margin, much to the organisers’ delight! A portion of the funds that Reach Out raised this year were shared with Bounce Back. The remainder will go towards other events that the Interact Club plans on hosting this academic year.
* Bounce Back is a student-run initiative that that aims to help the Samiksha Foundation – an organization that provides non-medical support to children with cancer in the Kidwai Memorial Hospital.
Parth and Manish reach the Final Round of the prestigious Frank Anthony Memorial National Debate Competition
Parth Behani and Manish S Subramaniam of 9 ICSE took part in the prestigious Frank Anthony Memorial National Debate Competition, competing in Category II (Grades 9 and 10).
The First Round (Regional) was held in Baldwin Girls High School. The topic was “I have the power of people with me”. The MAIS team placed as runners-up, qualifying to the second round. Parth was named 2nd Best Speaker.
The Second Round (Zonal) was held in Sherwood High School Bangalore. The topic was “Should there be a dislike button on Facebook?” The MAIS won this round, with Manish named 2nd Best Speaker and Parth 3rd Best Speaker.
The Third Round (National) and was held in City Montessori School, Lucknow. The top nine teams in the country participated. The topic was “Social media is providing a service to society by becoming its watchdog.” The MAIS Team put forth a strong argument, but did not secure a rank in this round.
Teaching the Cambridge curriculum.
On 1st August 2016, Ms. Carolyn Tiller (Group Manager, Curriculum Support Development) and Ms. Ellen Mackay (Group Manager (Quality), Qualifications Development) from Cambridge International Examinations, Cambridge consulted Aditi faculty concerning their experience teaching the CIE curriculum in an international context. Teachers of the IGCSE and A-Level curriculum from outside school were invited to discuss issues concerning the difficulties experienced by Indian learners in Cambridge schools; differences between state and national boards, and the Cambridge A-Levels; and potential ways to enhance teaching approaches. In particular, new and existing models of support for science teachers (particularly in science practicals) were discussed; as well as a detailed overview of the A-Level 9093 English curriculum.
Open Day in Elementary School!
Elementary School was a riot of colour on 23rd July 2016, when parents came in for Open Day. They were greeted by a vibrant community display in Std. 01; Pocket Poetry on the walls of Std. 02; a spectacular display of local habitat in Std. 03; an installation of dodecahedrons created by students of Std. 05; life-size shadow puppets and silhouettes in the Drama Room, and brilliant Georgia O’Keeffe flowers by Std. 04, opening up their petals in the Art Courtyard!
Blood Donation Drive
The Aditi interact Club worked alongside the Aditi Alumni Association in organising and putting up the 7th Annual Aditi Blood Drive on 23rd July 2016. This effort saw the familiar faces of Aditi alumni, teachers, friends and parents gathered in the High School Courtyard. 70 donors assisted the Rotary-TTK Blood Bank in collecting blood that could potentially save lives!
Free Speech and Intolerance: Do We Know it When We See it?
On 16th July 2016, the Aditi Institute hosted a panel addressing the theme “Freedom of Expression” for the students of the Pre-University Section. For an hour, students and teachers were led on a journey through our country’s history of free speech and intolerance in the expert hands of Kamla Jayasimha, Swati Tata, Achal Prabhala and Ambar Sinha.
Kamla began the session with a brief overview of the suggestive sculptures and architecture of our more tolerant ancestors. Swati Tata brought us into the modern era while talking of film censorship, with particular reference to the furore over “Udta Punjab”. Achal Prabhala passionately defended the right to free speech while deploring hate speech – the fundamental fault-line in the freedom of expression landscape”- , examining controversial contemporary political figures and the understated glory of the Dark Web. Ambar concluded the panel talks by addressing the challenges of democracy on the Internet.
Moderated by Shreyas Jayasimha, a heated discussion followed on the need for privacy, democracy, but also safety, in our modern lives.
Celebrating Le 14 Juillet in MAIS
Le 14 Juillet is celebrated as National Day in France. In school, students of French from Std. 5 to 10
celebrated the day with a programme of French poems, songs, skits and a quiz on France and French culture. The programme ended with the students singing the French national anthem La Marseillaise.
MAIS hosts the 2016 UChicago Arts & Sciences Summer in Asia programme
In June 2016, the Bangalore session of the UChicago Arts & Sciences Summer in Asia programme was hosted by Mallya Aditi International School. A select 15 students in grades 9-12 from high schools in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai participated in an intensive, two-week course in the subject of Law and Economics. Professor Jim Leitzel and doctoral student, Bill Hutchison, conducted classes in the dynamic, interactive, and interdisciplinary style characteristic of a college-level course in liberal arts at UChicago. Students participated in group research projects on contemporary issues in public policy, wrote persuasive essays, and discussed readings in law and economics, literature and political thought. Nicole Beckmann Tessel and Bill Hutchison, trained in the renowned UChicago Writing Program, also held a workshop with MAIS faculty, in which they shared their approach to writing instruction and exchanged pedagogical practices with participants. These representatives of UChicago also invited MAIS parents to attend a town hall meeting in which they addressed questions about liberal arts education in the United States. Whether on the field playing cricket or in the classroom debating a contentious topic, both students and instructors felt they were a part of the broader MAIS community.
Reading Simply Nanju with author and Aditi parent, Zainab Sulaiman
In Std. 04 and 05 we are reading Simply Nanju, a book by Zainab Sulaiman. In June, Zainab was invited by elementary school librarian, Ms. Jayashree, for an interactive session with our students. Her visit was greatly anticipated by her young readers.
Zainab told us that Simply Nanju was a result of her work with differently abled children. She added, “I’m a reader, not an author… so it took me three years to write and publish this book.” The students asked insightful questions and shared their wonderful write-ups with the author.
Inviting Zainab into school forged a powerful connection between her book and young readers. We are confident it encouraged our young writers too!
Can we be nudged in the right direction? Dr. Dilip Soman asks, in the inaugural talk of the Aditi Institute
Why do people spend the way they do? Why do we save and spend in patterns that we know are not always good for us? On the 16th of March, Dr. Dilip Soman broke down ‘Nudge Economics’ to a rapt audience of students, teachers and parents. Intrigued, we followed Dr. Soman as he delved into the average consumer’s mind, using eye-catching slides to show us the way we are daily “nudged” into utilising our money in certain ways.
An engineer by training, Dr. Soman is today Professor and Chorus Chair in Communications Strategy and
Co-Director of ‘Behavioural Economics in Action’ at the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto), and author of ‘The Last Mile: Creating Economic and Social Value from Behavioural Insights’. To illustrate this journey he began by amusingly dismissing complex diagrams of the demand curve found in High School textbooks, claiming that such algorithms cannot predict consumer demand because they crucially neglect to factor in basic tendencies of human behaviour: “stupidity” and laziness.
‘Not relying on the stupidity of your consumers, is in itself stupid.’
Senior Advisor and Scholar-in-Residence at the Innovation Hub of the Privy Council of Canada, Dr. Soman showed example after example of the most well formulated public policy initiatives that have failed miserably, for want of understanding the targeted demographic’s psychology. Highly incentivised saving schemes fail because many in rural regions do not possess bank accounts, and are embarrassed to admit they don’t know how to open one. Jargon and legalese, similarly, discourage citizens from ‘doing the right thing’. Take, for example, organ donation in countries like Austria. Consent statistics are consistently above 90% due simply to the easy format of the donation form, and the setting of the default. In most countries a standard DMV form asks you to follow a (usually complex) procedure if you want to donate your organs; Austria substitutes the default, and asks you to follow up with a procedure only if you do not want to donate your organs. Sensational gasps from the audience followed Dr. Soman’s illustrations of how a mere change in wording could alter a populace’s willingness to donate, spend and save.
Most of Dr. Soman’s examples were restricted to the Canadian context, and the findings of the UoT lab are not easily applicable in the public policy initiatives of other countries. To assume so would be ineffective, or to use his oft repeated phrase “stupid”. But the appeal of utilising behavioural economics is fast growing world over. The obvious “return on investment” from a tiny nudge is increasingly evident to the individual consumer, business, and perhaps most importantly, a community or welfare economy.
The audience asked remarkably insightful questions, in tones ranging from the statistically curious, to the mildly perturbed and the ethically indignant. What is the replicability of such a model in different spatial and temporal contexts? What if such knowledge, such power, fell into the wrong hands? All questions were adeptly fielded by the man on stage – who admitted to the manipulation at work, and his own ethical apprehensions of the methodology – but simply answered to these: If they are doing it, why shouldn’t we?
If the cryptic machinations of a Kafkaesque world were thus unravelled, or the omnipotence of Orwell’s Big Brother laid bare, the Aditi audience of ‘independent consumers’ might not have been as abuzz. Dr. Soman left us pondering – are we mere automatons in a nudge-conspiracy? Are any of our consumer-actions truly our own?
A REPORT ON “SAMRAKSANE” – AN EVENT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The Elementary School Library was a hub of activity involving classes from Std. 01 to Std. 05 in celebration of “Samrakshane” – an event on the environment from Jan 18 to Jan 22, 2016.
Guest speaker, Dr. Ullas Karanth, a renowned wildlife conservationist, shared his enriching experiences on the ecology and wildlife of Nagarahole. Ms. Sangeetha Kadur, an illustrator, and Ms. Shubha from Biome Environmental Solutions, came in to conduct workshops and short talks on freestyle nature sketching and water conservation, respectively. Students also participated with excitement in making scientific toys out of trash facilitated by Dr. Mallik, Ms. Krishna and their team.
The marvellous working model of a dam, made by Devaraj, one of our talented support staff members, looked benevolently on the proceedings.