Monday, 5 September 2016

MY EXPERIENCE AS A TEACHER - By Ms. Namita Chowdhary, Teacher, Open Minds

                                 Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands broad knowledge of the subject, curriculum and standards; enthusiasm, a caring attitude and love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom management techniques; a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people! With all these qualities required, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to find ‘great teachers’.

                           Teachers have a very important responsibility of shaping the lives of young children. With this responsibility comes great pride and joy. According to me a ‘teacher’ can be defined as someone who always pushes students to do their best while at the same time trying to make learning interesting as well as creative. A positive or negative influence from a teacher early-on in life can have a great effect on the life of a child.

                                Each teacher can recount numerous highs and lows in their teaching career. Personally, I experienced many great moments while teaching. These were days when I ended so happy and enthusiastic that I knew I had selected the right profession. On the other hand, I had days where I definitely questioned teaching as a career. Thankfully the positive days outshines my negative days.

                             As a teacher I can never forget the lessons learned during my first year teaching. I was just done with my Diploma in Business Management and got a call from the college where I did my Masters in Cosmetic Technology, they asked me to teach the students pursuing Bachelors one of my favorite subject called ‘Cos-Tech’. I was young, happy, enthusiastic and energetic with the thought of being a ‘teacher’ in the college where I studied.

                           All geared up and ready to go for my first lecture with the thought that as a teacher I know everything, got me in trouble, I never thought about the fact- that apart from knowledge the kind of preparations required to be done by a teacher is so important.  Even though I had the knowledge, the output of it can be best judged from what my students would deliver. I even realized the fact that the students are a replica of their teacher, one can see the impact that a teacher has on their students and I saw it in mine….

                             Down the lane now I am a teacher, a mentor, a guide nurturing small and young minds of kids of the Primary years and have realized yet again that a teacher is a learner first and learns so many new things from each and every student of hers. A teacher always strives to get the best out of her students, loves each and every one of them; for what she is today is because of her students. 

-Namita Chowdhary,
Open Minds A Birla School, Kollur, Hyderabad

"My Experience as a Teacher" by our Spanish Teacher - Ms. Soro Pirgue Marie Pascaline

¿Por qué no enseñar Francés dado
 que usted es nativa Francesa?
          Why not teaching French since you are a French native?

Buenos días a todos,
Good morning one and all,
Antes que nada,querría agradecer todos por la oportunidad.
First of all I would like to  thank you all for the opportunity.
 Permite a mi de presentarme antes de  empezar.
Allow me to introduce myself before starting.

Me llamo Soro Pirgue Marie Pascaline. Soy de la costa de Marfil y profesora de Español a Open Minds.
My name is Soro Pirgue Marie Pascaline. I am from Ivory Coast and a Spanish teacher at Open Minds.

Me apunto a la escuela este año en el mes de Mayo pero ya ha sido una buena experiencia hasta ahora.
I have joined the school this year in the month of  May but already it has been a good experience till now.

La interacción de los niños en el campus con mi en Español ,el más emocionante son los niños de Francés, Hindi y Telugu siempre diciendo hola o gritan Spanish Ma’am” nomás para decir hola...a felicidad es toda mía.
The children interaction in the Campus in Spanish with me ,the most touching those from French ,Hindi and Telugu always saying holaor  shouting  Spanish maam just to say hello...the happiness is all mine.

Y yo agradezco Dios y la escuela también para confia en yo dándome la oportunidad.
And I thank God and  the school too for trusting me by giving me the chance.

En el proceso de enseñar , yo encuentro  mucho y todavía descubriendo y aprendiendo con los niños. Es divertido y alegre enseñando y ayudando a ellos para crecer hasta la destinación.
In the process of  teaching ,I discovered a lot and still discovering and learning along with the children. It is fun and joyful teaching them and helping them to grow till the destination.

Tengo muchos buenos recuerdos o souvenirs con ellos en la clase y durante las actividades de los clubes,gran momentos inolvidables.
I have a very good memories or souvenirs with them in class and during club activities, great moments unforgettable.

He comprendido que  grande diplomas solo, no es  suficiente para enseñar además la manera que usamos cuenta a atraer los niños a la asignatura y a amar tu persona misma por rebote la asignatura. Y también he aprendido  que Nadie es el templo del saber” , como decía Voltaire.
Podemos por lo tanto modestamente aprender aún con los alumnos.
I  have understood that big diplomas only do not suffice for teaching but the way we use to attract the children to the subject and to love your person self by ricochet the subject keeping in mind  that No one is the temple of knowledge as said Voltaire .
We can therefore humbly learn even from the students.

Tengo la pasión  y el amor por Español más que el Francés mi nativo idioma donde no hay nada a encontrar por mi desde he hecho casi my life hablando y estudiando en  Francés hasta 2009 cuando llegaba en India:la respuesta al título de mi artículo.
I have the passion and the love for Spanish more than French my native language where for me there is no much to discover since I have done almost all my file speaking and reading in French till I reached  India in 2009:the answer to my article title.

Yo espero que os encantan leyéndolo. Hasta la vista,nos vemos al otro número.
I hope you will enjoy reading it. See you soon for another edition.

Soro Pascaline
Profesora de Español
(Spanish teacher)

Open Minds

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Mind is the Playground!

Mind is the playground and we are its celestial players. Mind gives us opportunities and choices for us to explore the purpose of our existence. Life just doesn’t happen. Each soul is born for a reason. We are eternal beings in a mortal body. It is with this avatar of ours that we can proceed to the next destination of our perpetual journey of self-realization. Education is the basis of this magnificent endeavour. Education is enlightenment and when imparted in the right sense, it will become a guiding star shining through turbulence of all kinds.

When A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s mother was worried over her son’s decision of pursuing further education away from home, her husband enlightened her by saying, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.”

Just like our body is a receptacle to carry our immortal souls, we as teachers and parents are the vessels in which our kids will learn to set sail. We cannot wind their sails; we cannot calm the ocean to make their way smooth. What we can do is make them realize that storms will pass but determination will stay. A determined mind needs no guidance, they are self-driven and self-motivated. They think of every obstacle as a stepping stone to success. They see the grand scheme of things in everything. They become the celestial whose minds are the size of the Universe itself. Let us give our kids wings and let them set in on fire to reach where their destiny awaits.

- Echoes, July

Happiness Week!

Life Skills: Happiness Week:

The Happiness Week this year started with the theme ‘Anything is Possible’. Yes, it is! All that we need to understand is that we are beyond our perceptions. There is so much of inbound potential that each one of us has latent in us. It is the belief that we need to nurture. The belief of being able to tap into the unlimited potential. The boundaries are just in our mind. It is the mind that we need to conquer.
The students participated in discussions and role plays to see how they can accomplish anything if they tap into their potential. They also learnt that if someone can do something successfully, anyone else can also learn to do it the same way, provided they understand the strategies that the successful person adapts to in doing anything. To do all these, they had to also understand that all the resources that one would need to do anything in life are all present within one’s self only.

We all also had another activity this month, where the students learnt that we can communicate our feelings to other beings and the way our feelings affect the others. The secondary year students performed an experiment where we chose 2 sets of plants to communicate our feelings to them. We chose 2 plants to share our positive thoughts, love, care and appreciation and the other 2 plants to share our feelings when we are upset or hate something and even to ridicule. The students had a feeling that they are surely making a difference and also, not being too fair to the plants to communicate their feelings of hatred to them. That is when they understood subtly, how shouting at others in haste or ridiculing their own friends made a negative effect.
We continued this experiment to observe the plants over a period of one week. However, being set up in this environment with friends around and them understanding that feelings do matter a big deal, they could not communicate their feelings of upset to the plants that they were supposed to. So, we did not have a major difference in the way the plants grew or responded. But yes, it was surely an experiment that would be etched

in their minds for a long time to come!

Article by Mr. Raju Chandangiri, Hindi Teacher.

Mr. Raju Chandangiri, our teacher from the Hindi department has written an article on his visions of India by the year 2030. The men and women who sacrificed their life to bring us this freedom and how we can bright India to the forefront is being discussed in beautiful details.

उम्मीद की ककरण : 2030 तक भारत पूरे दुनिया पर राज कर सकता है... सपिे तो हर कोई देखते है लेककि सपिों को साकार करिे की जो उम्मीद होती है,
वह बहुत कम लोगों में पाई जाती है। भारत देश को आजादी नमले उिहत्तर साल हो चुके है। जो सपिा हमारे स्वतंत्रता सेिानियों िे देखा था कक आजादी के बाद भारत किर एक बार संपन्ि देश बिेगा।गुलामी के जंजीरो को तोडकर ववकास के पथ पर आगे बढकर गरीबी का िामोनिशाि दूर करेगा। क्या उिका यह सपिा पूणण  हो पाया ? जजस स्वजणमण भारत की कल्पिा उन्होंिे की थी क्या वह पूण ण हुआ ? इि प्रश्नों पर हमें गौर करिे की आवश्यकता है। वैसे देखा जाए तो उिका यह सपिा कुछ हद तक जरूर पूरा हुआ क्योंकक हमारे देश में प्रनतवित लोगों की कोई कमी िहीं हैं, जैसे आकदत्या वबरला, रति टाटा, मुके श अंबािी, िरेंद्र मोदी आकद। यही िहीं, भारत के मूल से तालुकात रखिे वाले बहुत से ऐसे प्रनतवित लोग हैं जो दनु िया के हर कोिे म ें देश का िाम ऊँ चा करत े हुए कदखाई दे रहे है।ये हमारे नलए बडे गव ण की बात है। लेककि वही दसू री ओर अशैजिकता के कारण बेरोजगारी की समस्या कदि ब कदि बढते जा रही है, जजससे देश पीछडेपि की और झुकता चला जा रहा है। इसनलए देश के हर िागररक को नशजित होिे की आवश्यकता है। चूँकक भारत के सौ करोड से भी अनिक आबादी में कुछ लोगों के तरक्की से देश पूणणतय ववकास के पथ पर सिल िहीं हो सकता हैं।पररपूण ण ववकास तभी संभव हो सकता है जब सौ प्रनतशत देशवासी नशजित होंगे। एक बात सच है कक उन्िीस सौ सैंतालीस से लेकर दो हजार सोलह तक लोगों की दृविकोण में कािी बदलाव आ गया है । इसका एक मात्र कारण लोगों में समािता की भाविाएँ आई है। िम ण के िाम पर, जानत के िाम पर होिे वाली ववपिता कम हो गई है। यह देश की सफलता का पहला कदम है और सबसे बडी बात है कक माता-पपता के अंदर शशक्षा के प्रशत जागकृ ता आ गई है। आज प्रत्येक माता-पपता यही चाहते हैं कक उनके बच्चे कापबल बने, इसशलए उनके सम्रग पिकास के शलए अपनी ओर से तन, मन, धन स े संपूर् ण कोशशश कर रहे हैं। जैस े कक हम जानते है देश का भपिष्य युिा शपि पर ही शनभरण है और आने िाले कु छ सालो में हमारा देश युिाओं से भरने िाला है और िह कदन दूर नहीं है जब भारत सारे देशो से आगे होगा। देश को सोने की शचकडया बनाने का दीप बहुत पहले ही प्रज्िशलत ककया गया है। आज उसकी रोशनी चारों ओर बढती जा रही है और आने िाले कदनों में उसकी रोशनी पूरे दुशनया में उजागर होगी। उम्मीदों पर ही दुशनया कायम है। मेरा पूरा पिश्वास है कक आन े िाले 2030 िर् ण तक भारत अग्र स्थान पर जरूर पहुुँचेगा क्योंकक 2030ि र्ण तक हमारा देश युिाओं का देश बनेगा और िह कदन दूर नहीं भारत सारे देशो पर राज करेगा।

An Article by Anshika Aggarwal, Grade 7 was given a photograph to look at and write her thoughts.

Anshika was given a photograph to look at and write her thoughts:

      I had heard stories of how the outside world was, saw photographs of faraway places, smelled the roses that bloomed in spring, heard the cuckoo sing; all this I had done, but I had never really known it or atleast the other dimension of it all. To begin with, I had never seen it with my own eyes, except for the little outlook from my glass-paned window, and that doesn’t count. I had never seen a river or a lake, never trod on fresh green grass, never even felt a plant on my skin. The house was my world, and the outside world, some distant fantasy that merely existed, but wasn’t real.

I fail to understand why those fortunate creatures who are given access to the places I never saw, groan and grumble if they so much, as have to get clothes from the line in our garden, leaving the boring video games and television shows that my life is infested with. My world is small and weird in many ways. I have seen pictures of places like Tokyo and New York, but never experienced a minute in my own garden. I’ve heard much about school, but never been there. It sounds so wonderful a place to be in; I don’t know why my friends groan to go there, as if they would rather loll about on a wheelchair at home; day in and day out, as I am obliged to do.

There is one thing outside that I dearly want to know; ‘rain’. I hear that rain is just water falling from the endless blue that everyone calls the ‘sky’, and that I might as well touch water under a tap, which, according to them, is much cleaner and more convenient. No one understands what rain means to me; a phenomenon already known, but yet to be discovered. Not just water from the sky, but some sort of magic of nature that I have heard much of, but have yet to know it personally on different dimension.

It was raining. The droplets were forming sparkling diamonds on the glass window of my room. I touched the transparent material, wishing it was as non-existent as it looked, so my hand might go right through and touch the rain. Not the first time, I dreamt of the wonder and vibrance of the world, the lush green fields, the trees that spread wide, the birds and animals. Running away was out of the question. I was far too weak and dependant.
Just then, the rain stopped. It had formed a large puddle on the ground. Droplets glistened on the leaves of the old banyan. A cuckoo started to sing. Unintentionally, I smiled. I felt contented. As I looked out of the window, it seemed like a picture of all I had ever wanted to see. All I had ever wanted to know. To see. Maybe, someday, I would. Perhaps, someday...

Literary Fest 2016-17

Literary Fest

Beginning on the 28th, The Open Minds Literary fest 2016-17, was a three-day carnival which culminated on the 30th, with the parents arriving to watch and play literary activities. The venues for each language i.e. Telugu, Hindi, English, Spanish and French, were set in various arenas of the school campus for the ease of the kids and parents. Every stall displayed activity based learning and applications of various languages.

There were scintillating monologues and ravishing display of cultures via their dance, music and narratives.
The Telugu department had prepared an array of stalls to show their prowess in the language. There were games organized for the parents which included Treasure hunt, Word building, Guess the Proverb and one of the most memorable event was where the parents were required to speak in Telugu using no english words as fillers. Students of Grade 8 and 9 had also organized a skit.

The Hindi department had events that captivated everybody’s attention. With a medley of songs and dances, monologues and skits, it was raining talents! Their stalls included Flash card based word games, creating stories out of a picture, presenting the contrast of different traditions and celebrations
across India, etc. Kids of Grade 9 and 10 performed a skit in Hindi on the topic ‘Unity in Diversity’.

The English department stood out in many aspects with out of the box activities, games and monologues. The student in collaboration with Performing Arts department, brought the characters of Shakespeare’s plays alive. Stalls included tongue twisters, Challenge me for a story, Sight word tambola, deciphering secret messages, Acrostic poems, writing a song using rhyming words and many more. There was a debate in between Parents and Kids and it was a sight right out of this world. A shortfilm on the importance of reading was also displayed which was shot entirely in the campus. And to bring things to a grand end, kids of Grade 9 performed Alphabet Aerobics

The French department surprised everyone with stalls where kids sang french songs and recited french poetry. There were card games and mazes, Karaoke activities and students putting up a french bakes sale stall.

The Spanish corner was also the center-stage of everyone’s eye. They displayed videos showing spanish culture and sang songs to the parents. Students narrated stories in Spanish. Music students performed Bailando.

The bars have been set so high this year that next year it is going to be a challenge to supersede the fun and energy displayed

Sunday, 5 June 2016


What does it take to be a LEADER? 
How much can a Leader be a part of the team? 
Would you be a better Leader by motivating or by collaborating? 
Do you have it in you to be a Leader or could you train yourself to be one? 

All this and much more were very intricately explained and discussed in the Leadership Training session for the Heads of all the departments including People's department, Admin, Transport and Academics at Open Minds by the Chief - Academics & Operations.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Could Volcanos in India have Actually Killed the Dinosaurs?

An artist’s perspective of the impact that may have offed the dinosaurs. (Image: NASA)
The demise of the dinosaurs is the stuff of middle school science classes: everybody knows that a massive meteorite crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, setting off a series of calamities. Tsunamis rocked back and forth across the oceans, a scalding cloud of dust and ash shot outward from the impact site, and secondary impacts from the initial ejecta ignited forest fires far from ground zero.
None of this was good news for the charismatic megafauna roaming the planet 66 million years ago, but it might not have been the only existential threat on the horizon. Halfway around the world, prodigious volcanic eruptions were forming the Deccan Traps in modern-day western India. Over tens of thousands of years, trillions of cubic meters of lava burst onto the Earth’s surface, ultimately covering 1.5 million square kilometers (an area nearly half the size of India) with thick layers of basalt. More dangerous than the molten rock itself was the cocktail of noxious gases that would have accompanied the explosions. Sulfurous fumes were lofted high into the atmosphere, leading to rapid global climate change.

While the scientific consensus still places most of the blame for the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction on the meteorite, the extensive volcanism likely played a critical role. And now, it seems like the two deadly forces might actually be linked. Paul Renne, the Director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, led a recently published study that used high-resolution argon isotope dating techniques to zoom in on the precise timing of the Indian volcanism. In an earlier study, Renne and colleagues showed that global climate was already changing drastically by the time the Chicxulub crater formed, and that the Deccan eruptions began hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
But they may have gone into overdrive with the impact. The team of geologists found evidence suggesting “that the Chicxulub impact initiated a substantial acceleration of Deccan volcanism within ~50 thousand years,” the blink of an eye in geologic time. They propose that, as the meteorite burrowed into the Earth’s crust, seismic waves propagated outward and downward through the planet, ultimately reconfiguring the magma conduits that fed the volcanoes on the Indian subcontinent.

This re-plumbing theoretically could just as easily have constricted the magma flow and shut the volcanic complex off, but it had the opposite effect. After the impact-induced “state shift,” roughly 70% of Traps’ total volume of basalt was erupted, and with it, the gases that absorbed incoming sunlight. Renne also measured trace element compositions that revealed a consistent depth of rock melting both before and after the floodgates were opened, parrying a critique that bigger eruptions were due to a thinning overlying plate rather than a shock-wave induced re-configuration of the volcanoes’ conduits.

The notion that supercharged volcanism played a key role in offing the dinosaurs is no historical anomaly: all other major mass extinctions coincide with large volcanic deposits. So while the Deccan traps may already have been well on their way to causing a similar die-off, the Chicxulub meteorite caused the perfect storm that changed the face of biology forever.

Taken from: (written by Jeffrey Marlow)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Poetry - Daisy Town

I saw a cluster of stars above my head
Making a constellation of the book I read
Then I saw, far ahead
A herd of horses, just like on the cover of my bed.
Two were black, the others brown, heading straight to Daisy Town.
Oh, dear! Oh, my!
The horses will munch on the daisies like pie
They will discover the berry bushes
So delicious the berries will be, I think the blame is on me.
Oh, my! Oh dear!
Tell yourself; be calm, no need to fear
But for Mr. Chop’s crops, the end is near.
Okay, think fast! Use your skill, round them up
Gather your courage do not erupt
You need a lasso and a fence
If you do this, you’ll sure get some pence.
You are lightning, you are thunder
You are the greatest god of wonder.
So do it, come on! 3, 2, 1…
Snap, creek, neigh, eek (bug), sigh, pull, stretch, get in
There y’all, yee-ha – at last.
Mr. Chop’s crops are safe
I won a medal, a gold one full of pebbles
But wait! Argh, man. This was all a dream.
Anoushka A., grade 7

Saturday, 23 January 2016

What is the best way to answer a student who says, "Why are we learning this? We are never going to use geometry or Shakespeare in the real world"?

I stumbled upon this brilliant response to the above question at, a website and an app that let you quench your curiosity by reading an array of interesting responses to the sea of questions on pretty much any topic.  This response was written by one of the major contributors on topic of education on Quora with 40 years of experience in teaching with leadership positions.

Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UC Berkeley, author "The Instant Physicist"

I was watching an interview with a well-known actress a few years ago. She was opposing  nuclear power, and made some statements about the aftermath of 3-Mile Island. After she went on for a while, the interviewer pointed out that she got many of her facts wrong. She was indignant.  "This is not about facts," she said. "It's about feelings!"

Many, maybe most people have a similar approach to life. There is a marvelous description of this attitude in the wonderful book, Uncommon Sense by Alan Cromer. Most of the world makes decisions based on feelings, not taking into account thoughtful analysis. Yet nothing conflicts with good decision making as much as giving in to this instinct.
In my mind, Shakespeare and Geometry teach the most essential lessons needed for a productive and successful life. Properly taught, they teach you to think, to take in the evidence, to analyze, and to deduce. My favorite Shakespeare course was taught by Prof. Hugh Richmond at Berkeley; I went to all the lectures (as an auditor) and did the readings while I was a graduate student earning my Ph.D. in physics at Berkeley, but this course was very important to me. Whenever I see Prof. Richmond, I thank him yet again for this course. No course gave me more insight into human behavior. Or about writing and persuasion -- Shakespeare's methods for convincing us of his insights.
Think of Antony's great speech, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen ..." and how he brings a hostile crowd to his own point of view. In what other course would you learn how to do that? Is that a skill that will prove useful in your future life?  Let me ask that differently.  Is there any more important skill?
And it is not just the way that Antony does it. It is the very fact that he does it. Recognize that, and you become aware of an aspect of life that you don't get in a physics or engineering course.
About writing.... Shakespeare sets the standard, not in flowery language, but in vivid language, language that makes you understand what it is that Shakespeare wanted you to understand.  That's why you need to read (or better yet -- watch) the originals, not the short study guides designed to give you the plot and help you with a pop quiz.
Think of what we learn about life and love from Much Ado About Nothing, about how two people who hate each other can change and feel deep and true love towards each other. I can go on and on, and if you had a good Shakespeare course, so can you. Many of the great books are comparably good; I particularly love the Russian novels, especially War and Peace. But I sometimes just sink into Moby Dick and read it again.

Geometry is the class that teaches us about logical thinking, about what it means to draw a conclusion, about the meaning of truth and how we can test it to see if it is correct or false. Most reality cannot be reduced to simple theorems in the way we do for geometry, but a study of that subject shows us that at least some truths really do exist; some speculation is definitely false, and with careful thought and analysis, you can (at least sometimes) tell the difference.

Of course, there is a limited amount you can learn from these courses. They are really meant to trigger a lifelong learning, of logic, of literature, of books and plays, of fact-based knowledge and knowledge of people and persuasion, a lifelong learning that informs and educates. Stick with it for a few decades and you will understand and be able to control and influence much of the world around you.

If the actress I was referring to had studied geometry, maybe she wouldn't have been so cavalier about whether facts matter; if she had studied Shakespeare, maybe she wouldn't have been so cavalier about total trust in the guidance of feelings.

If you are older, and feel that you don't understand the world; if you feel powerless and cheated out of life, it just may be because you didn't study Shakespeare or Geometry when you were younger, or because you just got through them, instead of getting into them.