Spotlight on our Community: Nalinka Kalder
Jennifer Wallace

ISN Nice's 'spotlight series' highlights the work of our teachers and staff.

This week, read our interview with Nalinka Kalder, our Creative Arts Coordinator, and learn more about her approach to transdisciplinary learning and innovation for the Creative Arts and TOK.

Please could you introduce yourself and your role at ISN?

My name is Nalinka Kalder and I am the Creative Arts Coordinator. I have had a great career at ISN and the chance to take on a number of key roles that have significantly impacted my educational experience. As Creative Arts Coordinator I support my colleagues in Visual Arts, Music and Drama to implement our curriculum and coordinate events across the school. These include the Globeducate Arts Competition and Music Festival, as well as exciting new ventures with Arts Ed International. I also work with the peripatetic staff who give private music lessons to students at our school.

I teach Visual Arts in the High School and for the IB Diploma Programme. I am an examiner for IB Visual Arts as well as Extended Essay, and for the last 5 years I have also taught TOK (Theory of Knowledge). I run a Primary School Art club which I truly enjoy as it takes me right back to working with young people at the start of their school journey.

Could you tell us more about your background?

I grew up in south London and lived there for many years before moving to France. My father was Sri Lankan and my mother is German. I am married and have two grown up children who both attended ISN and loved their time here. I have a BA hons degree in Fine Art from Birmingham, a PGCE in Secondary Art and Design from Goldsmiths and a Masters in Art and Design in Education, UCL. Before moving to France I worked in a very large south London school with 1600 students on roll, rather different to ISN. That is where my love for teaching and learning really began and even to this day I remember my early training in a large multicultural setting in south London and the amazing Arts on offer in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

How would you define your approach to teaching and learning?

I have always had a creative approach to teaching and learning and love to explore new ideas and approaches in education. I value and encourage transdisciplinary learning as I know that we gain so much more if we make connections with other subject areas. I try to keep an open mind and recognise that all students have significant contributions to make at school and beyond. I see my role as facilitator in supporting students to meet their potential.

If we stepped into your classroom, what would we see?

A teacher discusses a range of artworks on a table as students look on

Creativity, student engagement in the artistic process, a happy learning environment. A place where all students feel valued and gain confidence be it in the Visual Arts or TOK domain.

How would you define the community at ISN Nice?

We are a really positive learning community that care about students and staff alike. We all know each other well and it feels like a second home. I love the fact that ISN is inclusive and caters to the needs of a diverse student population. One of our many strengths is the way we work with individual students from a range of nationalities and care about their progress both on an academic, social and personal level.

What is your proudest achievement?

I do not think I could single out a particular achievement. Of course I am incredibly proud of my two children both at university now doing courses they really enjoy. More than anything I am proud of the many students I have had a chance to work with. I always feel it is a privilege to have supported a student on their life journey. It is also very rewarding when you see real progress being made on an academic or personal level. Teaching both Visual Arts and TOK allows for students to develop important creative problem solving and critical thinking skills, invaluable for students as they leave ISN and move into future careers.

In your field of teaching, how do you bring innovation and inspiration to your students?

Within Visual Arts we are just about to develop our digital media tools and I am excited to learn more about possibilities this will open up for both teachers and students. Over my time at ISN I have also been involved in many different educational trips, local and international, though most notably the London Arts trip which has run for 18 years! Whilst the pandemic stopped us from travelling over the last couple of years I am really hoping that we will be able to return to London in the not too distant future. This trip is dedicated to motivated Arts students taking Visual Arts or Theatre in grades 10-12. When in London we immerse ourselves in Museums, Galleries, Theatres, TOK discussions and so much more for a 5 day rich arts excursion. The experiential learning that takes place there stays with the teachers and students well beyond the trip itself. It offers opportunities to develop IB Visual Arts and Theatre work and inspires Extended Essay research and TOK thinking. Whilst our base at ISN is filled with engaging learning opportunities it is often the extra curricular experiences that impact our students the most and those memories often live with them the longest.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Our IB Visual Arts students will have their private view on March 22nd. This will be a celebratory moment for us as we see their final exhibitions take shape. I am excited to see the work unfold and wish them all the very best for their final IB results.