'Matilda The Musical' - an absolute triumph for BISA!

This week saw the culmination of months of effort and hard work with BISA's production of 'Matilda the Musical' being performed to audiences in Nairobi, Arusha and Dar-Es-Salaam.

Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book of the same name, Matilda follows Matilda Wormwood, a bright little girl who immerses herself in books. Matilda is discarded and belittled by her dimwitted parents—her father insists on calling her a boy and harps on her “stupidity” for preferring reading to watching the telly—and her hostile headmistress, the outrageous and wicked Miss Trunchbull. Reclusive, but with an ever-growing imagination and sharp mind, and with a caring protector in her teacher Miss Honey, Matilda dreams of a better life, daring to take a stand against unjust forces and to grasp her destiny in her own, tiny hands.

With a cast made up of everyone from Year 7 to Year 13, and an incredible set that was adapted for every different theatre as they toured, this truly was a whole school effort. The cast of eccentric, hilarious and sometimes truly outrageous characters were brought to life by our students and they did an incredible job. Their comic timing and commitment to character was truly delightful to watch.

The musical itself was written by Australian musician-comedian, Tim Minchin, and is filled with catchy songs like 'When I Grow Up', 'Revolting Children' and 'Miracle' which our students clearly loved performing alongside the huge amount of physical theatre and choreography.

The final result was a truly spectacular show that will remain in the memories of audiences and performers for years to come. An absolute triumph! Congratulations to you all.

The Benefits of Field Trips and Travel for Learners

This term holds many adventures for our students. Our Secondary History students are travelling to Germany and Poland and our Performing Arts students take their production of 'Matilda' on tour to Dar and Nairobi, as well as getting ready for the UK Culture trip later in the term.

As our secondary students prepare for their upcoming travels, we reflect on the benefits of field trips and travel for their education.

More and more, teachers around the world are integrating international school travel into their curriculum. Since 2010, the number of schools offering international trips to students has increased by 127%. International school travel is no longer an “extra” learning activity only offered in certain schools, but a beneficial experience to help prepare students for the future.  

We all know, most of the important lessons learned in life take place outside the classroom. Here are four educational benefits of international school travel.

1. Reinforce classroom material by exposing students to real-world situations

Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study and experience. As all teachers know, the purpose of it is to prepare students for life, and each student has a unique learning style. Some students are intrapersonal learners, while others flourish in social environments.  

Incorporating real-world experiences into your curriculum helps students understand why what they’re learning is useful. Not only does it increase engagement in the classroom, it also gives students valuable insights into the real-life application of the skills they’re being taught, and where these skills can take them in life. 

  2. Motivate students in the classroom 

Exposing students to real-world applications of theoretical concepts, world-class facilities, and new experiences, can have a positive impact on their engagement in the classroom. Many teachers have reported students who were lacking in confidence or resilience prior to embarking on an international school trip have flourished in the classroom upon arriving home. 

International school travel gives students the chance to experience different styles of learning and see a new side to their subject of study. When they can understand the concepts, they have learned about in books being applied in a real-world situation, they often return to the classroom with a deeper connection and greater motivation. 

3. Expose students to new cultures

Giving students the chance to experience a new culture can be beneficial for their personal development as it may help them to develop a broader perspective. International travel gives students the chance to step outside their comfort zone and experience the challenges that inevitably arise when exposed to a new way of life.   

Experiencing a new culture on a school trip can be even more meaningful for students than if they were to travel with family and friends. This is because they are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone away from the comfort of friends, family and familiar surroundings. In a new environment, students expand their worldview, witness a new way of life and better understand people, history and culture.

 4. A once in a lifetime experience 

 For teachers and educators, giving students an educational experience outside the classroom can be an extremely rewarding professional achievement. Your students will be given the chance to connect with people from different cultures and grasp learning concepts in real-world situations. They will be exposed to potential career opportunities, and most importantly, will gain confidence in themselves at a personal level.  

Saturday School Christmas Party

This year we had the opportunity to host 115 Saturday school children for the party. It was amazing to see the commitment from our students who not only fundraised towards this event but prepared and arrived early for the occasion. The first group arrived at school at 6.00 am to start working in the kitchen. This included Nicole Kombe, Josephine Kiaga, Ttanya Sachdev, Michel Hersens, Alfred Msale, Ellen Bangu and Shreya Sachdev. They were later joined by Edgar Mwashiozya. Edgar, Josephine and Alfred decided to volunteer early in the morning to allow them join the performance practice. Well done to their dedication!

The rest of our students and staff arrived in school by 9.00 am to set up for the event. Our guests started trickling in by 8.45 am especially those from around the school. We held a general address and welcome in the hard court where the guests were divided according to their ages. The activities started at 10.00. The children were treated to several activities ranging from ball games, swimming, art and craft, and drama, The young ones had fun in bouncy castle.

By 1.00 pm all the groups were served lunch. We had the older students display the drama skills they had learnt through a skit designed to teach against peer pressure. Presents were distributed at 2.30 pm. It was time to leave.

We congratulate our parents for their donations and our students for taking their time to plan for this event and come and share their Saturday with our guests. They cooked and served the guests dutifully. We appreciate the presence of Mrs Patricia John who helped oversee the kitchen together with Mr. Edgar Weche, Mr. Mike Magambo. Ali Zeid and Mr. Ben Asugo.  Mr. Flanagan and Jackson Kaaya helped oversee the games in the field, Ms Diana Humphrey helped with the gifts wrapping, Mrs Cathie Stubbs helped with art and craft, Ms Juma and Mr, Mwaipopo helped with the performance supervision, and finally Mr. Asher Sijenyi was the master of ceremony of the event. We salute Nicole Kombe, Josephine Kiaga and Ttanya Sachdev for helping with fundraising and planning of the event. Thanks greatly!

Community Service

This is a platform for individuals to reach out to the community as part of the ‘International Award’ or an act of compassion.

This term we embarked on working with Canaan Children Centre in Kisongo that is a home to forty-nine children aged between 3-14 from impoverished backgrounds; some of whom are orphaned and the majority are living with HIV (AIDS).

Every Thursday, a group of sixth formers visit the centre and undertake various activities that that brighten their day and leave a smile on the children’s faces. The activities include helping with homework, teaching art, reading story books together, as well as games and sports. Edgar and Brendalisa have been a source of inspiration and has made art sessions the most loved. Remotse, Mejahbeen, Glory and Kaltuma have been on the forefront supporting the older children with homework and revision for their exam and we hereby wish all standard four pupils the best in their exam. Richard, Junaid and Sean have shared their passion for football as evident with their ecstatic matches. Madeline and Ellen have a great time with the little children expressing undoubtedly patience.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Lucy and the Rotary Club Arusha for donating trees that will be planted around the centre to curb massive erosion in the area. We also thank Mrs Lymo for her donations and all individuals in one way or another have stepped in to support this course. As Sally Koch stated, “great opportunities to help others seldom come but the small ones surround us every day.”

Preparations are in full swing for 'Matilda' - coming in February 2019!

The Secondary BISA touring production is always an eagerly anticipated event. Following the past few years of incredibly successful productions, we are looking forward to BISA's adaptation of the music 'Matilda'! Here is a word from Mrs Miranda Rashid, one of the production team, on how preparations are going.

"Although we only perform 'Matilda' at the end of January/beginning of February 2019, we start planning almost a year in advance, and rehearsals begin in September. For a musical such as 'Matilda' there are songs to be learned, lines to be perfected, set to be built and dances to be choreographed. Here are a few pictures of the rehearsals so far. Don't miss the actual performance!

Nairobi: 28th and 29th January 2019
Arusha: 31st January and 1st February 2019
Dar es Salaam: 3rd February"