CORNERSTONE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY
Greetings from C.I.A.!
It has been a remarkable year! Our students like the eagle, soared high, achieving loftier goals and setting challenges for themselves.
We started the Middle Years’ Programme armed with the confidence bestowed on us by the parents and the zeal to stand firm in the face of obstacles. We have considered and ensured our students safety on campus, which is our top most priority.
We celebrate the IB Learner Profile " Communicator" for this month as a community. Communication plays a vital role in all our operations and our learners have exhibited in various learning engagements as they creatively and confidently expressed themselves.
We are ready to end the school year with unit celebrations, Parent–teacher conference for the PYP students, and have our maiden ‘MYP-Resonance’.
As we reflect on our achievement, we take time to think about our actions and their impact on us and our immediate environment. The year has been filled with a series of activities and events in both the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) geared towards helping all our students build their character and gain mastery of skills that would make them active citizens of the world. I particularly congratulate our MYP students and facilitators for the launch of the Voice of An Eagle, Chess Championship, Design Spectacle and The Puppetry Competition.
We are thankful to all our teaching and non-teaching staff for their contribution towards this school years’ success story despite the pandemic.
We look forward to an amazing new school year come August 2021. Thank you for your partnership in making learning engaging, meaningful and lifelong at Cornerstone International Academy.
Ms. Shirin Bagchi
TALENT VS. EFFORT
Years ago when we had just finished one of such high-stakes elementary school tests, Daniel, my cousin asked “why do we go to school, John?” I remember managing these few words in reply to my cousin’s question - “So the world can be better.” Now, judging from the frustration that had become almost stagnant on his face, I could tell my answer was not enough to calm Daniel’s tenseness. In fact, I was already privy to Daniel’s lack of interest in our frequent exams, which at the time were heavily characterized by rote learning and somehow set up in a way to dissatisfy creativity. In hindsight, the two of us, too early may have been thrown into a swarming society of other children, where instead of inquiring about the nature of our world, we were busy jostling for our position in it. That was just the perfect condition necessary for unhealthy competition and exclusion to exist and fester. That meant, the children who managed to get to the top tier always had their cheers and applause waiting while those like Daniel, a slow learner and still doing his best possible to catch up, were long lost and forgotten about. With little or no ‘effort’ encouragement from his teacher, Daniel lost perhaps the only little interest he had in wanting to try harder.
From personal experience, I have noticed the hazard of using a child’s concept of herself to get her to do good work. – “You are smart, intelligent, extraordinary, etc… you can do this work without even trying, Ama” So Ama goes on to do a good job and that confirms our expectation that the concept works. But if Ama, just like Daniel, had failed regardless of how hard she tried, so would have the concept, and the conclusion would have been that she was not that smart, intelligent, and extraordinary after all. And we often forget the emotional trauma a child who has been considered smart but fails to perform endures. So which should we encourage – talent or effort?
Just like most people, I used to worry so much about failure and that was because people consciously or unconsciously applied that same concept to get me to do good work. I rated success inconceivably high and whenever I failed at getting a shot, the abyss would ever be waiting. Looking back, I appreciate one teacher in my elementary school who must have known early enough how harmful it would have been to praise my skills and talent. Instead, every time someone did a good job in class, Mr. Lambert, my class teacher, would highlight and commend the amount of effort the person put in the work and rather shy away from making references to talent or skill. He applied the same concept every time I failed in a given task – “John, perhaps you didn’t put in a lot more effort. Can we work on that?” – Mr. Lambert would usually say. Undeniably, I was the patient and he was the neurosurgeon except that this brain-rewiring surgery only took place in a classroom setting instead of an operating theatre. In retrospect, his philosophy must have been – ‘Praise the effort not the outcome.’ Today, reams of literature show that kids who are praised for being smart or intelligent fixate on performance, shying away from meeting potential failure – a disguised opportunity to improve. It is also a proven fact that kids who are praised for their efforts try harder, persist with tasks longer, and improve in tremendous ways.
So if I ever do such a good job, I say may there not be too much praise for what you consider my talent or skill. And if I ever fail in my task, I say may there not be too much criticism such that I am broken to the point of not wanting to try harder. May there be a ‘BALANCE’ as you ‘COMMUNICATE’ feedback. This is where I think the philosophy of the IB programme makes a difference though. I find that students are encouraged not ‘praised’ to think independently and take ownership of their own learning such that when Ama does a good job, she truly knows it with or without praise.
Mr. John Teye
Media Studies Center