It is important to remember that the subject of drama is not solely about creating actors, directors and theatre makers but rather socially aware young people who can engage with a rapidly changing world. It transcends all subjects, instilling skills that are essential for many jobs and walks of life.
Because drama isn’t very content-heavy and you don’t learn a lot of facts, it has a reputation as being easy and not particularly useful. However, it is practical subjects like drama that allow you to develop hugely valuable skills which you will continue to use throughout your life, in and out of work. It builds creativity, confidence, communication skills, compassion and critical thinking. It helps build flexible, adaptable and forward thinking young people who are able to effortlessly respond to a world that is changing.
The productions that BISA produce from primary, KS3 production to the full secondary school play that tours to Nairobi, Arusha and Dar es Salaam are spectacular, as any of you who have seen them will attest. I always love to see how students' confidence, sense of self-discipline and ability to work as a team are boosted so dramatically over the course of the few months it takes to put on a play. And this, of course, has huge implications across all subjects.
Rehearsals for this year’s full secondary production of Macbeth are underway and auditions for the primary production are next week. Full steam ahead! Watch this space!
The Benefits of Playing Music Help Your Brain More Than Any Other Activity
By John Rampton Entrepreneur and investor @johnrampton
Brain training is big business. Companies like BrainHQ, Lumosity, and Cogmed are part of a multimillion-dollar business that is expected to surpass $3 billion by 2020. But does what they offer actually benefit your brain?
Researchers don't believe so. In fact, the University of Illinois determined that there's little or no evidence that these games improve anything more than the specific tasks being trained. Lumosity's maker was even fined $2 million for false claims.
So, if these brain games don't work, then what will keep your brain sharp? The answer? Learning to play a musical instrument.
Why Being a Musician Is Good for Your Brain
Science has shown that musical training can change brain structure and function for the better. It can also improve long-term memory and lead to better brain development for those who start at a young age.
Furthermore, musicians tend to be more mentally alert, according to new research from a University of Montreal study.
"The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times," said lead researcher Simon Landry.
"As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower," said Landry. "So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them."
Previously, Landry found that musicians have faster auditory, tactile, and audio-tactile reaction times. Musicians also have an altered statistical use of multisensory information. This means that they're better at integrating the inputs from various senses.
"Music probably does something unique," explains neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster. "It stimulates the brain in a very powerful way because of our emotional connection with it."
Unlike brain games, playing an instrument is a rich and complex experience. This is because it's integrating information from the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, along with fine movements. This can result in long-lasting changes in the brain. These can be applicable in the business world.
Changes in the Brain
Brain scans have been able to identify the difference in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians. Most notably, the corpus callosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two sides of the brain, is larger in musicians. Also, the areas involving movement, hearing, and visuospatial abilities appear to be larger in professional keyboard players.
Initially, these studies couldn't determine if these differences were caused by musical training or if anatomical differences predispose some to become musicians. Ultimately, longitudinal studies showed that children who do 14 months of musical training displayed more powerful structural and functional brain changes.
These studies prove that learning a musical instrument increases gray matter volume in various brain regions, It also strengthens the long-range connections between them. Additional research shows that musical training can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills.
Long-Lasting Benefits for Musicians
Brain-scanning studies have found that the anatomical change in musicians' brains is related to the age when training began. It shouldn't be surprising, but learning at a younger age causes the most drastic changes.
Interestingly, even brief periods of musical training can have long-lasting benefits. A 2013 study found that even those with moderate musical training preserved sharp processing of speech sounds. It was also able to increase resilience to any age-related decline in hearing.
Researchers also believe that playing music helps speech processing and learning in children with dyslexia. Furthermore, learning to play an instrument as a child can protect the brain against dementia.
"Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can't," says Loveday. "It's a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust."
Other Ways Learning an Instrument Strengthens Your Brain
Guess what? We're still not done. Here are eight additional ways that learning an instrument strengthens your brain.
- Strengthens bonds with others.This shouldn't be surprising. Think about your favorite band. They can only make a record when they have contact, coordination, and cooperation with one another.
- Strengthens memory and reading skills. The Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University states this is because music and reading are related via common neural and cognitive mechanisms.
- Playing music makes you happy.McMaster University discovered that babies who took interactive music classes displayed better early communication skills. They also smiled more.
- Musicians can process multiple things at once. As mentioned above, this is because playing music forces you to process multiple senses at once. This can lead to superior multisensory skills.
- Music increases blood flow in your brain. Studies have found that short bursts of musical training increase the blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain. That can be helpful when you need a burst of energy. Skip the energy drink and jam for 30 minutes.
- Music helps the brain recover.Motor control improved in everyday activities with stroke patients.
- Music reduces stress and depression.A study of cancer patients found that listening to and playing music reduced anxiety. Another study revealed that music therapy lowered levels of depression and anxiety.
- Musical training strengthens the brain's executive function. Executive function covers critical tasks like processing and retaining information, controlling behavior, making decisions, and problem solving. If strengthened, you can boost your ability to live. Musical training can improve and strengthen executive functioning in both children and adults.
Here at BISA we believe wholeheartedly in developing all aspects of life for our students and therefore have planned a busy and active P.E schedule. It is so important to remain physically fit, for obvious reasons, and also to learn a new skill. Students love being part of a team representing our amazing school.
This term, Primary is providing a wide range of fun sports for our students. These include rounders, football, athletics and swimming.
We believe it important for students to learn to play in team sports such as rounders, where the children get to enjoy playing together. The aim for this term is to improve their bowling, batting and fielding skills, which are vital in competitive match situations. With competitions against other schools coming up soon, the children are showing a winning determination to do their best and to have fun.
With the help of Coach Anze, the Primary swim team is divided into Team B and Team A. Swim Team B is for our youngest talented swimmers who are still learning the correct strokes. The goal for them is to learn proper strokes and skills (starts and turns). With time they will participate at NTAA inter-school galas.
Team A consists of more able swimmers. They have already mastered all four strokes and are now preparing for swimming galas in Tanzania and abroad. Their first major gala of the season will be Tanzanian National Championships 2019 in Dar-es-Salaam, at the end of October.
In the Secondary school, swim training continues unabated. You will find the swimmers in the early hours of the morning and in the evening, training and preparing themselves for the oncoming season.
One of the most talked about sports of this term is Athletics in both the Secondary and the Primary schools. BISA is known for having excellent athletes in both track and field events. The students have been training after school with Mr. O for events such as javelin, discus and the exciting track events too.
Secondary is also providing a range of sports for this term in which each student is encouraged to participate. These include: netball, basketball (boys and girls), football (boys and girls) and cross fit. With a lot of events happening this term, the students are already showing discipline and determination by showing up for training during their P.E lessons and after school.
With the Sports Festival coming up in Nairobi, Inter-House Athletics and the long awaited Inter-School Athletics, much training is needed. The students will get to show their amazing talent on both track and field events, leaving with a load of medals and making parents and teachers very proud. Fingers crossed, we shall win yet again this year.
After this, the students then get selected to compete in the major athletics competition happening in Kasarani (Home of Heroes) in Nairobi, Kenya. BISA will also compete against other schools in Nairobi.
Wish us luck out in the sports fields and in the swimming pool! We are excited and motivated!
Year 1 and 2 are focusing on the topic of healthy eating. Last week we spent the morning 'cooking' together.
They enjoyed creating rainbow fruit kebabs, apple pizzas and cars made of bread.
Cooking with children encourages team work, improves fine motor skills, risk taking and allows them the opportunity to try new foods... that they have prepared.
What will you cook with your child this week?
It's been a busy week at the Infant School, with our Welcome Picnic and a number of parent workshops this week.
Working in partnership with parents and/or carers is central to the EYFS. Consulting them about children’s early experiences helps teachers plan for effective learning and helps them support parents in continuing their children's learning development at home.
The benefits of a strong parent partnership are wide-ranging and include:
- improved educational outcomes for children
- effective ways of engaging parents in their children’s learning
- improved communication between parents and practitioners
- improved relationships between parents and children
- And of course... making new friends!