At Avenor we are all learners – students and teachers

Dr. Daniela Vasile, Director of Learning and Teacher of Mathematics at Avenor College, talks in this interview about learning, but from a different perspective – the continuous learning of the teacher and the impact of this lifelong learning process on students and on school.


You have over 20 years experience in international education, you have a PhD in mathematics, you have extensive experience in teaching&learning, in many school systems around the world. Even so, you enrolled in the QTS course (Qualified Teacher Status), the first qualification for a teacher in the UK. What was your motivation?

In none of the schools where I worked before I needed this particular qualification and I do not need it here as well. However, in the Avenor teaching body we have a significant number of Brits and I decided that, due to respect for them, I want an UK qualification.

There were times in international education when qualifications were not too important – it was very important to cater for the students’ cognitive, emotional and social developments. Now these are equally important, but qualifications matter as well. Additionally, I really wanted some of my younger colleagues to follow my example – QTS will give everyone a time of reflection into their own practice to become better for themselves and, as a result, for us to become an even stronger organisation.


You are the Chair of Evaluation Teams for CIS (Council of International Schools) – you have inspected many schools around the world so far. How does this experience of working help you as Director of Learning?

Once or twice a year, depending on how busy my schedule is, I lead a team of 6-10 evaluators with the aim of evaluating a school on the following domains: Purpose and Direction, Governance, Leadership and Ownership, the Curriculum, Teaching and Assessing for Learning, The students’ Learning and Wellbeing, Staffing, Premises and Physical Accomodation, Community and Home Partnerships, Boarding (when there is one), practically, all areas that a school needs to cover.

First 3 days of such an evaluation visit reminds me of a giant puzzle, with all pieces mentioned that my team needs to put together to form a common understanding of the school’s strengths and needs with respect to the direction that they define for themselves. Next days are about zooming in in areas that are either outstanding or that require improvement.

The Chair’s role is to bring the team of evaluators that never worked together to coherence and to writing a report of evaluation that helps the school move forward in its development. I meet new colleagues (from the team and from the school evaluated).

Every time I bring back home ideas and more experience. It is recommended to look outside in order to get better inside and this is what it is all about.


At Avenor you have decided to sign up for Titularizare, an exam in the national education system. What was the reason behind this decision and how will you help the school, in the medium and long term, having this qualification?

One of the metrics that schools are assessed against with regards to the ARACIP accreditation is the number of teachers with the status of “titular”. I am grateful to be a member of the Avenor community, so it is my duty to give back to the organisation. With this in mind, I decided to sign up for “titularizare”.

It does not really help me at all, but helps the school and this makes me feel better. The process also helps me understand the challenges of my colleagues that are exposed to the same.

It is time-consuming, one needs to fill out lots of paperwork – not a joy.

The written examination is 4 hours long – I see this as an opportunity to remember how our students feel during the high-stake exams. I guess that I am just trying to find some positives.

If we must do something, let’s do it with grace even if we don’t like it.


Of the many courses you attended this year, which one did you find most interesting?

Each of the courses that I took were interesting and useful – this must be the case, when our Professional Learning programme is based on choice. It was my choice of what to do.

I am half-way through the UK National Qualification for Headship, an 18 months long course based on independent study, getting up-to-date with the latest research in education, group discussions and reflection on challenges of leading a school. It ends with an 8 days long assessment – we will be given a scenario of a school and we need to evaluate it and write suggestions and recommendations. In a way, the final assessment is similar to my work for CIS.

I learned a lot from a one week intensive course on Curriculum Leadership that I completed last summer.

Even though courses are nowadays online, they are structured in such a way that allows collaboration between participants from various schools. Learning together is always better!


What courses did the Avenor teachers attend this year?

Each Avenor teacher signed up for one of the four choices, offered as an one year long learning experience:

  • Teaching Enhanced by Technology
  • The Art and Craft of Teaching
  • Teaching with Love and Logic
  • A personalised pathway

Except for this, teachers signed up for various conferences and courses, some leading to qualifications, such as: definitivat, QTS, CRED courses, grade didactice, trainer, Google Certified Teacher.

This year, about ⅓ of the staff followed a course that finalised with a qualification – I am so proud of our teachers, who are modelling longlife learning. If we want students to be enthusiastic about and engaged with their learning, we need to model this for them.

Addittionaly, we had a team of leaders that went to London for the COBIS conference, one collegue went to BETT, the global community for education technology, some leaders joined The Inquiry Education Summit (Toddle) and many others taking part in various workshops.

We subscribed to three platforms: The National College, The National Safety Online and The PSHE Association, and teachers access workshops according to the subjects that they teach or according to the projects that they run.


What is the impact of teacher continuous learning on Avenor’s development as a school?

Firstly, every learning experience makes us better professionals. It is what I always tell my students – opportunities come and go, you need to keep your eyes wide open and grab them.

It is not easy, given the very busy schedule of a teacher and I was amazed and so happy this year to see how my colleagues embraced learning. Only think about the use of technology two years ago and now – what a steep learning curve it was!

We know that we are outstanding when our expertise transcends the walls of our school – one such example is our collaboration with Aspire teachers, an NGO that helps the state schools in Romania.

We are organising workshops for them and I want to thank here to all my colleagues involved. We have quite a number of Avenor teachers who are qualified to deliver adult training and we hope that opportunities to do that will only grow towards what is in our strategic plan as “Avenor Professional Centre”.

We learn from each other, we learn from research, from the books that we read and discuss, from courses, workshops, webinars – this learning is translated in the class, for students’ benefits.

Additionally, professional learning brings joy and energy that again translate in the enthusiasm with which we enter the class. Research says that one of the biggest motivators for students is the energy and enthusiasm that the teacher brings to class – it goes back to modelling it for them and with them.

The secrets of the transition between key stages – from Primary to Middle-School

“Next year will mark my 10th anniversary in the Avenor College community, an international bilingual school located near Băneasa Forest, where we interact with students from three key stages: Primary, Middle School and High School. What at the beginning was a big challenge for me, has turned into an efficient transitional educational programme from Primary to Middle School that is improving every year”. Georgiana Socoliu – Middle School Coordinator at Avenor College.


I am a history teacher and Middle School Coordinator, and in my first year at Avenor College I accepted the challenge to teach in the 4th grade. My teaching experience until that moment was exclusively in Middle School and High School and that is why I thought it would be difficult to teach for the students in the Primary.

With the help of my fellow teachers, I was able to get to know the students, interact with them, and have a great time. Thus, we started, practically, to work on a transition programme from Primary to Middle School, which we continue to try to improve from year to year.


The first step was to have a transition team with representatives from both key stages and as topics of analysis we focused on: similarities, routine, changes, schedule, differences, homeworks, concerns parents-students, the well-being of students.

We were really helped by our colleagues who were able to share their experience as parents, having children enrolled in Avenor, and then we were able to approach the transition with their feedback in mind but also taking into consideration the opinion of other parents in the community who were consulted.

Another element that is the basis of the transition programme every year is the feedback questionnaires that students fill in in the 5th grade, as well as the feedback they give to the teachers after the first semester. These represent great tools that help us evaluate and improve the whole process.


The transition team has been setting a timeline since August, when we are preparing for the new school year, a calendar that specifies the activities and events that take place throughout the year, so that the transition between the two cycles is as organic as possible. Here are some examples:

  • meetings with the parents of the 4th grade students for the presentation of the Middle School educational offer, a meeting attended by all the leaders of the school departments and the management team;
  • meetings between 4th grade teachers, the class counselor, who knows the students very well and can provide information about each of them (academic progress, challenges he / she has encountered, emotional reactions, interaction with colleagues, parent-school collaboration ) and future form tutors.

Another element that ensures the transition of students is the equivalence of grades during the 4th grade. In this way, my colleagues from the Primary cycle ensure that in the 5th grade the students will already be familiar with the grading system in the Middle School.

Moreover, starting with the second semester, 4th grade students have the opportunity to participate in the classes of their Middle School classmates, by rotation or if the classes are online, they can all participate at the same time, the main goal being to get to know their classmates, from 5-8, but also to observe the atmosphere and the Middle School teachers way of working.

Also during this period, fellow teachers of mathematics, Romanian, history, geography, organise demonstrative classes with 4th grade students, an excellent opportunity to get to know each other and interact.

As part of the transition process was the last year’s activity of 4th graders who wrote individual letters entitled What Should Future Teachers Know About Me? in which everyone presented themselves – passions, skills, competitions he/she participated in, but which also included expectations from future Middle School teachers. These letters were presented by each student at the graduation ceremony of the fourth grade to which the parents were invited, as well as the teachers from the Primary and Middle School.

One of the most impactful activities organised in the process of transition is the meeting between the students from the two key stages. In these meetings, called Assembly, students in grades 5-8 recount their own experiences, the challenges they went through, how they adapted to the new routine, and how they prepare for exams, competitions, and what co-curricular activities they engage in over the years.



At Avenor, the transition process between key stages focuses on the student and his well-being, the goal being to eliminate tensions and fear of the unknown. We want the school performance of our students not to be influenced by the pressure of change and the continuous efforts of the educational team aim at a transition made holistically and efficiently.


From Avenor to top leadership

Ana Caterina grew up at Avenor and we watched her with joy every year, evolving towards what she is today – an extraordinary young woman, confident in her strength, educated and willing to help, who inspires others through all her actions. Cate is a born leader who always assumes the coordination of complex projects, guiding teams naturally.

We are very happy to see that the first step in fulfilling her dream of saving the world continues with admission to the University of Amsterdam, PPLE section – a unique specialization through the exceptional combination of subjects, which gives future graduates access to a career in the highest level of influence and leadership in the world.

What are your reasons for applying to the University of Amsterdam and choosing Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)?

PPLE is a unique course and I believe that this interdisciplinary approach can give me the perfect foundation I need to pursue my dream.

The fact that I could choose Law as a major, while studying a blend of inspiring and useful subjects, resonated with me. I believe that not one major problem facing the world today can be addressed without drawing on the subjects of politics, psychology, law and economics.

I admit that my competitive nature has led me to faculties recognized asselective”, known”as hard to get” where I have the opportunity to meet teachers – mentors and ambitious students, who will constantly challenge me.

While preparing for university, when I found this section at UvA and started reading about it, I knew it was the perfect option for me.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” and what do you hope to find at UvA to reach your goal?

For many years, my answer to this question was, “I want to be a lawyer”. However, because I grew up and I talked to people around me who inspire me, I realized that I want to discover more during my university years.

I hope that UvA will help me find the ideal career for me and be the first gateway to my place in the world. I am sure that choosing this course that combines LAW with several subjects of interest to me will help me to better understand the world, it will help me have a fresh, and open-minded perspective on the world.

How is the admission process at UvA?

The admission process was a complex one because PPLE is a very selective course. There are ‘numerus fixus’ faculties in the Netherlands – this means that the number of places is limited by the government. But PPLE is a ‘selective’ courseselective’that accepts only 200 students each year, because it is the only program that offers interdisciplinary education and because it offers students the chance to participate in small, interactive seminars.

The admission process began with a portfolio with documents related to my academic performance, as well as a CV and a motivation letter. In the motivation letter I had to ‘tell my story’, to prove that I am suitable for this study program, that I can cope with its intensity, and to explain what determined me to follow this path.

After analyzing my portfolio, I reached the second stage, which consisted of a ‘Study Plan’ and a ‘Financial Plan’, followed by the admission exam. This ‘Study Plan’ was a good exercise for me because it made me realize what my daily life in Amsterdam will look like, being an indicator of how intense everything will be.

And the admission exam was a challenge. I had a week to analyze two academic articles and a course delivered by a UvA professor.. The exam consisted of questions related to the articles and the course, followed by an essay on site. The second stage is the most selective, which is why I was very nervous at the exam.

The third stage of the admission process was an interview with someone from the PPLE admissions office.

What do you think were your strengths in getting into UvA?

I really wanted to go to PPLE because I realized it was perfect for me. So, I was very determined and decided and I think this was the differentiator. I knew from the beginning that it was a complex process and that PPLE was selective, but I set out to do everything I could to succeed.

I think it is also important that I started preparing for each stage in time and took the process seriously. For example, knowing that the motivation letter is very important, as it reflects who I am, in the summer before the beginning of the 12th grade I took the time to think about what makes me who I am and where my motivation comes from. It took me about 3 months to complete my motivation letter because I considered every word carefully and tried to tell my story in an authentic way.

How do you think Avenor helped you in the admission to a prestigious university in Europe? Do you think that a student who follows the British curriculum has more advantages? If so, how?

Avenor has helped me a lot as a community. I’ve always had someone to turn to. When I wasn’t sure how to structure my essay, when I had a problem with the documents I had to send, when I couldn’t understand some aspects of the articles I was reading, when I was emotional before the interview and when I was waiting to find out if I was accepted, the people at Avenor – teachers, counselors, colleagues – were always by my side and helped me.

The fact that Avenor believed in me and supported me throughout the process helped me a lot, it gave me confidence to complete my application.

I am sure that a student following the British curriculum has several advantages due to its structure. Preparing for A-levels invites us to discover what we are good at, what are your interests and to discover your passions. Moreover, universities know how difficult these exams are, as well as the fact that passing them requires a set of skills such as critical thinking, organization and a deep understanding of difficult concepts. Therefore, a student who follows the British curriculum has an advantage because since high school you get familiar with the way of teaching at the university and especially with the critical thinking process that is encouraged in this system.

More than my teachers’ academic guidance, an experience which had a wonderful impact on me was when I coordinated the most important project led entirely by students – Avenor Christmas Charity Fair. I learned how to build a team, how to delegate tasks, how to manage the complex challenges raised by an event with hundreds of children. I remember the year in which we aspired to have the biggest choir created in a school in Bucharest and we brought together 500 children who sang carols. Or the year in which we organized the Christmas fair outside the school and we had invited parents and students not only from Avenor but from several international schools. These unique opportunities created by Avenor help us to develop, to find out from real life experiences how we can contribute to what is happening around us and why not, constantly learning something new about ourselves.

What advice do you have for a 9th grader who is considering applying to UvA in 12th grade to successfully pass the admissions process?

My advice is to discover yourself. Get involved in internships, carry out projects, participate and organize events!

Being involved in extracurricular activities will lead you towards discovering what you like, to meeting people who could have a positive impact on your life and will allow you to figure out what path you want to follow after graduating high school.

Also, don’t stress about where you will end up. I think life has a way of leading you to the place where you are supposed to be.


Together we are Avenor – the Avenor uniform, a community binder

All the children we know go to school. Not to a school, but to a certain one, a school that parents usually chose carefully. The question a child often receives is “what school do you go to?”. Saying the school`s name, the child actually offers a much broader answer about who he is, what are his academic aspirations, what is the importance of education for his family.

The school uniform tacitly conveys all this information to people around us. All elite schools have a uniform that represents the values ​​of the institution and that is also a symbol of belonging to a certain community.

The uniform has always represented belonging, values, traditions, professionalism and desirable behavior, the uniform being, above all, a symbol, something beyond the material.

A pilot in uniform gives you confidence that he is ready to fly the plane safely, a doctor in uniform tells us that he is professional and ready to heal us, a policeman in uniform creates the expectation of providing protection and safety to those around him, a firefighter in uniform tells us that he is a life saver, a child in uniform becomes a student and tells his teacher and colleagues that he is ready to learn.

Symbolically, the Avenor uniform brings us together around common values, thus significantly contributing to the creation of our community identity, it is a hint of “Avenorian”, a symbol that indirectly says a lot about each of us.

Beyond the symbolism of the uniform, wearing it has many advantages.

The uniform is the symbol of our community and generates a sense of belonging. Dressed in uniform, students generate cohesion and build the community. Outside the school, dressed in uniform, we find it easier to spot each other, we are recognized and identified with the high standards of the school.

The uniform conveys discipline and professionalism. The uniform puts us in the position of “student” not only of “child” or “teenager” and the school is the place where we come to learn, to work, to get involved, to develop in order to reach our aspirations.

Wearing a uniform is considered to contribute significantly to improving the child’s behavior at school. Wearing the uniform, the child enters the role of a student who will try to fulfill it as best he can. It also reduces the chances of distraction at school, with students being more serious in class, which increases the chances of better academic performance.

Wearing a uniform helps increase students’ self-confidence. Wearing a uniform eliminates some of the reasons of anxiety – especially to teenagers – related to appearance and clothing choices, giving the child an extra chance to become more confident.

Wearing a uniform prepares students for life. Wearing a uniform prepares children for the formal scenarios we all face in life. Depending on where we go and who we meet, it is important to have the right attire for the occasion – this is how we show respect for that person or group we are interacting with but also for ourselves. In a professional environment, dressing appropriately is an expected behavior for any adult, a behavior that you learn in the family and practice it during school by wearing the uniform.

The uniform – a safety measure for students. It is much easier to recognize a student who has left campus if he or she has a uniform or to recognize an intruder on campus. Also, in off-campus activities, such as field trips or events, wearing a uniform helps us to recognize ourselves and not get lost.

Wearing a uniform reduces the risk of teasing each other. As in the case of adults, clothes, beyond their utilitarian role, are used by children to express themselves. Especially in adolescence, expressing yourself differently in terms of clothing than those around you can be a reason for animosity and division, behaviors that we want to minimize in school by wearing a uniform.

The uniform reduces issues like “what do I wear today?”.. That way, everyone has easier mornings – parents and children. Thanks to the uniform, you have less to do in the morning, eliminating the pressure of a choice. In addition, the uniform items are made of quality materials and are very comfortable. Moreover, wearing the uniform at school every day, children enjoy more weekends and holidays, when they can wear whatever they want.

The uniform significantly reduces the family’s annual budget for children’s clothing, especially for teenagers., especially for teenagers. With a higher initial investment at the beginning of the school year, the total annual cost of the family for the child’s clothes decreases significantly.

At Avenor College, wearing a uniform is mandatory.

The festive uniform (blazer, formal skirt / pants, shirt, tie) is part of the Avenor identity.. It is our way of presenting ourselves at official events and showing respect, trust and admiration for the Avenor team.


Sports equipment (sports jersey, pants / tights, jacket) is worn at sporting events and sports classes.


The shirt, the cardigan, the hoodie, the pants, the tights, the Avenor skirt are part of the casual uniform.. The casual uniform is about everyday life, when we need to be more relaxed in our movements, when we work and learn.

The uniform helps us to give clues to those around us about who we are. Sometimes it reminds us who we are. The uniform is a binder that helps students feel like members of the same community, to get closer, to recognize each other, to have a common goal and a strong message to pass on: we are Avenor!


Avenor internships – the first step to a successful career

Every year, at Avenor College, we offer our High School students an internship programme that gives them  the opportunity to practice in companies in their fields of interest, understand how a business works, and learn about teamwork, challenges, passion, enthusiasm and the entrepreneurial mindset. These internships challenge our students to explore their potential and become truly Future Ready.

At Avenor, we aim to provide our students with unique learning experiences that complement academic programme and help them discover their potential and passions.

The internship programme is available starting from  9th grade and significantly differentiates the learning experience that our students have during high school. The goal of the programme is to prepare students for life after Avenor and to provide them with interesting and challenging opportunities by experiencing real work environments.

With the support of the Avenor community and the business community, in the last seven years since Avenor International High-School was founded, we have been able to offer our high school students the opportunity to spend two weeks each year in banks, architectural or engineering offices, in medical offices, factories, hospitals, museums, newsrooms, hotels, restaurants and wherever there has been interest from our students eager to validate their career options, to become aware of their own resources, qualities, abilities and skills.

Last year, 75 students completed internships in 30 companies. This year we aim to help 90 students to complete their theoretical training with the experience of a real job.

The testimonials of Avenor students who had the opportunity to participate in internships during their years of study are a clear indicator of the benefits and success that such a program brings.

You learn about yourself

The experience of integrating themselves into different work environments, the routine or the unexpected of a day in an office, help our students to discover new things about themselves, challenge them to step out of their comfort zone and take risks. Also, the internship is a good opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that are very valuable for college admission. In a highly competitive market, the advantage of internships adds a lot of weight to your application..

Discover career opportunities

At the age of choice, students need to validate that a temporary passion can be converted into a lifelong career choice. Adolescence is a period of exploration. It is important that students try different areas in which they can work so that the choice of their future career is beeing made in an assumed way.

You know professionals in various fields

The internships give students a chance to explore the job market and get to know professionals in different fields. These meetings with specialists in the students’ areas of interest can be decisive when it comes to choosing a career. Moreover, students have the chance to be noticed by professionals, these meetings thus becoming starting points for future careers.

In addition, the fact that you have had the opportunity to meet professionals from various fields throughout high school is a long-term advantage. You can always turn to these people to ask for an opinion, a recommendation, or an advice.

The Avenor Internship Programme would not be possible without the help of parents in the Avenor community. They have been with us since we launched this program and have continued to welcome our high school students to the companies and organisations they represent and offer them the opportunity to experience activities in their desired areas of interest.” says Paul Barrie, Head of Secondary and Avenor internships coordinator.

“The internship experience with the Avenor students was a positive one, both regarding their involvement in daily tasks but also the energy that they emanate through their cheerful attitude.

Valentin was assigned to the Reception during the first week where he learned about the check-in / check-out process, showed openness in learning about the hotel management system and contributed to the small tasks received from colleagues. The second week he wanted to continue his internship in the Restaurant and Banqueting department. Together with Tudor, they were responsible for room preparation and cleaning in the restaurant and back office area.

Sara and Diana integrated very well in the Reservations / Sales department where they learned and also contributed to the booking process, they implemented the basic principles of a commercial offer taking into account the type of customer, they learned about the online systems and how it helps us in promoting and attracting new revenue and they have identified the channels through which tourists make reservations. Their contribution extended to the marketing area by composing messages both in Romanian and English through which we informed the guests about special situations. Diana was the guide in our location tour for the team who was making a “Caro” film dedicated to the accommodation of the Ukrainian team. 

Both girls participated in an event organised in our garden where they learned what organising events involves, they were introduced to the organiser and interacted with him. ” says Florentina Nițu, Key Account Manager at Hotel Caro.

Internship programs represent the ideal transition between school and the labour market, being real learning opportunities. By participating in such programme, beyond the choice of an activity domain, Avenor students have the opportunity to become aware of what a job means, as an employee or employer, what pressure and responsibility involves, what it’s like to work in a team, and how important is the work environment.

By participating in such programme, students have the opportunity to take a look at the future, to imagine their own workday and to be aware of the importance of this step – the choice of job that will attract you, will challenge you, and it suits you.

If you think your organisation might be interested in further supporting the Internship programme by offering two weeks placements for this year also, please feel free to contact us at


Miza Evaluărilor Naționale la învățământul primar

Deoarece ne aflăm în săptămâna Evaluării Naționale, Liana Ilincescu, Primary Learning Coordinator și învățătoare la Avenor College, povestește, din experiență, despre ce înseamnă cu adevărat aceste evaluări pentru elevi, părinți și sistem și despre cum am putea profita de acest moment pentru o învățare cu rost. 


În anul școlar 2021-2022, Evaluările Naționale pentru clasele a II-a și a IV-a se vor susține în perioada 10-26 mai 2022 și vor avea aceeași structură ca și până acum: evaluarea de competențe la limba română și matematică. Rezultatul acestor teste nu se va trece în catalog, nu se anunță public, nu stă la baza ierarhizării copiilor, ci se comunică fiecărui părinte în parte și, pe baza lui, învățătoarele trebuie să realizeze planuri individualizate de învățare, acolo unde identifică probleme. 

În jurul acestei evaluări au existat încă de la început diverse controverse, dar și aprecieri. Pe o parte s-au aliniat părinții, profesorii, dar și copiii care consideră că aceste teste nu sunt elaborate de specialiști, că au un nivel destul de scăzut sau că nu au îmbunătățit în niciun fel rata alfabetizării funcționale în rândul elevilor. De cealaltă parte sunt cei care văd în această evaluare o încercare reușită de a elimina stresul inevitabil al examenelor, prin expunerea timpurie și repetată a copiilor la astfel de activități, dar și o posibilitate a copiilor, părinților și profesorilor de a lua pulsul cunoștințelor acumulate de-a lungul unui ciclu de învățare. 

Ca în orice polemică, ambele părți au  partea lor de dreptate. Aceste teste nu au fost elaborate cu scopul de a verifica nivelul superior al cunoștințelor și nici de a ierarhiza elevii sau școlile din care fac parte. Dar, o parte a caracterului colectiv specific nației noastre este de a face clasamente la orice oră, cu orice motiv. Astfel, la locul de joacă, se formează echipe de competitori, se fac clasamente ale câștigătorilor, iar cei care pierd, stau ”pe bară”, căci ”învingătorul ia totul”. În sala de clasă, ne așezăm pe niveluri, păstrând băncile celor care ”știu mai multe” în față, iar  ale celor care ”abia se descurcă”, mai în spate, iar aceștia s-au obișnuit să stea acolo, cuminți, așteptând liniștit să ”se sune”, pentru a face o pauză de la activitatea în care i-au urmărit pe cei care au ridicat mâna și au răspuns ”în propoziție”. La nivel de instituții școlare, avem școli ”bune”, sau ”de top”, pentru care părinții își schimbă reședința și devin ”flotanți”, iar copiii fac meditații, să poată lua ”admiterea” și să se numere printre beneficiarii unui loc în bancă și avem școli de care ”se fuge” și școli în care ”nu se face nimic”. Și astfel se ajunge la clasamente și calificative acolo unde ar trebui să fie doar diagnoză și prognoză. 

La o analiză obiectivă și lucidă, aceste evaluări sunt folositoare, căci au subiecte aplicate, în strânsă legătură cu realitatea copiilor, chiar și în condițiile în care autorii insistă de câțiva ani pe subiecte precum ”biletul” sau ”scrisoarea”, care au devenit străine actualelor generații de copii familiarizați cu telefonul mobil și internetul. Lectura conștientă a unui text este mai complicată decât pare la prima vedere. A ști să scrii și să citești  nu înseamnă neapărat că înțelegi mesajul transmis sau că poți folosi în mod adecvat mesajul scris. Astfel de subiecte sunt în prim-planul testelor de la Evaluarea Națională, ceea ce ar putea deveni un punct de plecare al viitoarelor planuri individuale de învățare, care ar trebui să pună accent pe dezvoltarea unei bune competenţe de lectură. Copilăria, adolescenţa şi postadolescenţa sunt perioade optime ale învăţării, iar copilul care a fost obișnuit să lucreze cu textul, va deveni adultul cititor conștient de mâine.

În aceeași notă se construiesc și testele la matematică sau MEM (matematică și explorarea mediului), bazându-se pe competenţele de a dobândi, a stăpâni și a aplica cunoştinţe fundamentale din programa acestor discipline. A stăpâni astfel de competențe nu înseamnă a ști să calculezi sau să descrii pașii de rezolvare a unei probleme, ci să aplici în viața de zi cu zi ce ai învățat în sala de clasă. 

Evaluările naționale pot deveni termeni cheie în viitoarele programe de dezvoltare a capacității de a aplica cunoștințele însușite, dar trebuie utilizate într-un mod eficient și creativ. Părinții și profesorii ar trebui să colaboreze și să transmită încredere copiilor în privința acestor teste. De foarte multe ori le dau o aură de examen definitoriu, de pas extrem de important în traseul educațional viitor al elevilor, pas care nu poate și nu trebuie ratat. Se pune o presiune suplimentară inutilă pe umerii unor copii care dau pentru prima sau a doua oară un examen. 

Deși nu sunt obligatorii, nu sunt trecute în cataloage și nu realizează ierarhii, aceste testări pot aduce un plus în valoarea adăugată a formării educaționale a unui elev prin: 

  • Stabilirea unei rutine a feedbackului, la finalul unui ciclu de învățare; 
  • Identificarea tipurilor de probleme de timpuriu;
  • Organizarea unor planuri de remediere a acestor probleme, prin realizarea unor planuri individuale de învățare;
  • Obișnuirea cu rutina unui examen, cu emoțiile inerente unei astfel de activități.

Why to join a Summer School programme?

For the last 10 years, every summer, Avenor has organised the Summer School, a non-formal education programme open to children in and outside the community, in which learning through discovery, play and projects is integrated with trips, sports activities or outside the classroom learning experiences.

With a team of specialists in non-formal education, this year Avenor offers summer programmes specially designed for each age group.

What makes Avenor Summer School special and why it is recommended that children join such programmes, you can find out from our team of experts in the interview below.

What do we need to know when choosing a co-curricular programme for our child?

“Regarding a summer programme, the most important role is played by exposure to nature and the real world.

Today’s adults are reminiscing about summer vacation spent around the village’s dirt roads. For our children, playing under the sun’s rays in the middle of nature, surrounded by peers is a context that builds values and guarantees memories and healthy anchors when all grown up.

Academically, co-curricular programmes, represent an opportunity for completing children’s development. Therefore, our recommendation is to seek equilibrium between the following 3 elements.

  • Motivation: activities that are linked with already contoured passions and interests in order to stimulate children to engage,
  • Challenge: sessions that help children build upon and enhance their curricular knowledge acquired throughout the school year,
  •  Variety: diverse initiatives meant to stimulate their appetite for new study domains.

Needless to say, children’s age is a relevant reason in choosing the best educational method used and the most suitable timetable.” Cristina Farcaș, Avenor Summer Expeditions founder

How is the Avenor summer programme different?

“Our Project Based (Inquiry-based) Learning methodology which is at the heart of the program is engaging students in real-life, meaningful projects and stimulating their reasoning and problem-solving skills, fostering collaboration and communication through group project work. Also, one of the main differentiation points is the official language of the summer school, English. Without being an English language course, through play, exploration and working on projects, children improve their English language skills and build up their confidence. 

On another note, we know from previous years that children love our food during the summer school and we are proud to have our own kitchen and cook in order to provide great healthy meals and snacks. Also, the children between 6 and 11 years old will also benefit from a unique location next to the Forest as well as from the campus’s great facilities: outdoor and indoor sport courts, music studio, art and drama studio, high quality sports and games equipment and musical instruments.  The little ones registered in the Nursery location will benefit from a diverse range of activities outside the classroom, including weekly trips in the middle of nature or special destinations connected to the learning goals.” Boyana Dragomir, Project Manager, Greenfield summer programs

What is the educational stake of a summer school?

“This year marks our third year of being able to offer the programme in both of our locations: the Greenfield campus (children between 6 and 11 years old) and the nursery site from Cașin (children between 2 and 6 years old). Taking into consideration the ages of the children, regardless of the fact that the programmes follow the same educational concept, the program and the timetable are adjusted to meet children’s specific interests

Therefore, at the nursery, “The educational programme prioritises the child and their needs. The teachers team worked on structuring the weeks in a manner that ensured that every child could find their place in the new group with ease. The Project Based Learning method is meant to teach children that each and every one of them has something new and important to contribute, and that only together they can take a bigger project to the finish line. Not only the class activities, but also the trips, and of course not forgetting the ‘splashing around days’, like ‘Water Fun Day’, are taking place in a special decor that differs from one week to the next, all in order to offer the young ones an environment that is stimulating, interesting and fun.”  Silvana Sofian, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor Nursery

“John Dewey asserts the fact that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” and it describes remarkably well what the nursery children experience together with us during summer school. We live in such times that require us to be prepared, to be able adapt. For that very reason, Avenor Summer Expeditions puts forward an educational approach that is unified and coherent. This approach is meant to put the children into real life situations to which they need to find solutions to, to come up with ideas and adapt.” Dora Crețu, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor Nursery



“Within the Greenfield campus, children between 6 and 11 years old will benefit from “unique learning experiences while having fun, exploring and researching new fields in order to create personalised projects. No matter their hobbies, the children will connect to the world outside the classroom and they will be encouraged to communicate, to work as a team and to think critically, all while working on a common project. Our goal is to stimulate the children to seize control and make use of their own passions in order to enrich their experiences, to find solutions for specific tasks, and of course, to celebrate their effort and learning along with their families by the end of this period.” Andreea Dumitrescu, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor College



How the path of a summer school participant is rendered so as to obtain the expected results?

“In each of the locations where the programme takes place, there is a group designated to 2 year old children (Avenor Nursery), respectively 6 year old children (Avenor College), who experience for the first time the interaction with this kind of environment. These groups are thought of in a manner meant to facilitate a more consistent support for the adapting process, both for the children and for a daily timetable adapted to their needs.

Educational planning through the PBL method takes into account the following of a natural route in children’s development. It starts with adapting, safety routines, then it continues with identifying needs, interests and knowledge of the participants; after, the programme will venture into opening new windows towards other learning objectives. The children will practise self-evaluation in a systematic manner, rethinking the process and ultimately augmenting the result in front of their peers and their family (with regard to the Avenor College Greenfield campus children). This red thread is broken here and there throughout every week, through trips and dance sessions (on nursery site), forest outings, art workshops and sport (Greenfield campus), and, of course, the long awaited Water Fun Day.” Cristina Farcaș, Avenor Summer Expeditions founder 

Indicate 5 reasons why a child should take part in a summer school programme

  • Time spent in nature
  • Relationships
  • Discovery opportunities
  • Quality of time spent during summer 
  • Continuity in personal development



The exams are approaching. How can we help children learn effectively?

The exam period started. As every year, in families with children who take exams, the focus is on maximising the chances of getting the best possible grade. The question on how we help children prepare for exams is important, but another much more important question is: what are the learning and revision strategies that contribute to a successful journey beyond the present? What does the child take with him in life, after the exam has passed and what does he leave behind, what does he forget?

Educational practice and theories are increasingly based on scientific research, following a process similar to that of medical practice. In recent years, studies of how our brains learn are increasingly used in curriculum decisions. Although this approach is still controversial, there are some universally accepted principles. With them in mind, teachers and parents can help children learn more effectively.

Emotions affect memory and learning

What is the message we send to our child?

Any of the exams they will have this summer is not an end point – the exams are part of a trajectory, a journey they have, a path where our students become expert learners.

The exams, although summative in nature, can be seen as experiences from which to learn. This paradigm shift will ease the stress of the exam and at the same time help the child to find motivation and make sense of the exam recap process.

Let’s not forget that the students went through a pandemic that affected the chemistry of their groups of friends and, implicitly, their emotional stability. During adolescence, they are caught up in the tumult of discovering their own identity, developing their personality. Children are very concerned about their entourage, their position in the group of friends, how they are seen by others. Some teenagers are more or less affected than others, but they all go through these processes that cannot be ignored. All these emotions  influence the child’s reaction to the stress of the exam and how they prepare for it.


– Talk to your children about exams as experiences and learning opportunities and not just as endpoints for a school stage.

– Create an environment where children feel protected and understood.

Some learning and revision methods are more effective than others

Psychologist Daniel Willingham defined learning as “a residue of thinking.” It is very difficult to define what “thinking” means, but it is clear to all of us that in order to learn, we need to process what we read.

I present below some of the efficient processing strategies, specific to the revision. The list is not exhaustive, the strategies being selected based on the types of mistakes which occur very often.

a) spaced repetition technique

The principle that spaced repetition is more effective than cramming before the exam is known but difficult to apply. Many hours of study before a test does not help to remember the information as well as the same number of hours but distributed over a longer period of time. In 1885, the German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus created a mathematical formula graphed below that represents the process of forgetting newly learned information. Although this graph differs from person to person, the scientific community agrees that the slope of the decline is steep, especially after the first hour. Spaced revision / repetition can slow down this rate of decline according to the graph in which vertical lines represent revision moments.

                                                                         Source: (Brown)

b) memory retrieval practice

Rereading notes or a lesson from the book is less effective than retrieving stored information from memory. The brain is plastic and every time information is retrieved and stored again, new neural networks are formed. Retrieving information from memory requires higher cognitive processes, more difficult, but with more efficient results.

How does a student know he understood? Only when he can demonstrate this understanding. How do you prove the understanding?

  • Explaining a concept to a colleague.
  • Applying this concept in an unfamiliar situation.
  • Synthesizing and creating a mental map of the connections of concepts in a learning unit.

To do this, the student retrieves the information from memory and uses it, creating new synapses.

Memory retrieval is a strategy that most students do not like because their cognitive demand is significant. One option may be to create a mental map of the unit (mindmaps), which the student has in front of him when he revises and gradually removes it, until he gives it up. There are web applications for creating mind maps, which can make the process more enjoyable for our children, born in the digital age. Some of these applications allow collaborative work, bringing new dimensions to this process.

c) the method of alternating the concepts

Solving many problems of the same type is less efficient than alternating the problems in several chapters or alternating the revision in Romanian with that in Mathematics. At the same subject, the teacher can guide the revision so that concepts that are connected are studied together, and the student is helped to create connections.

d) visual representation of the information initially studied as text

This strategy is part of the same category as the previous ones, inviting the student to process the information, to transform it and represent it through his own filter. In this way, misunderstandings and gaps are easier to spot and the student creates his own learning resources.


– Ask your child if he or she has uses a variety of revision strategies at school and if so, what does he find most effective? What does he think is the most demanding from a cognitive point of view?

– Create a recap schedule with your child. Consider the spaced repetition strategy.

Learning is the only transferable skill 

At first glance, the British curriculum does not seem to be complicated in Middle School. Instead, it is complex – the skills required are carefully chosen to help the student form an understanding of the complexity of each area of ​​knowledge and give the teacher time to create intra and transdisciplinary connections. In this way, learning is deep. The child is prepared to access high levels of complexity in High School when they study concepts sometimes taught in college.

Unfortunately, the Romanian programme is very busy and unnecessarily complicated. Teachers do not have time to create learning experiences in which the student can apply and transfer what he has learned. The transition from Middle School to High School or from High School to College is very difficult for children following the national programme. The focus is on acquiring new knowledge, because there is no time to provide opportunities for connected learning. The lack of horizontal and sometimes vertical alignment of programmes is confusing in children’s minds.

In addition to the knowledge and skills that we want our students to assimilate and apply in exams, there is a higher purpose – to teach them how to learn. Renowned researchers in the education sciences suggest that “learning how to learn” is the only transferable skill. I can be creative in Math, but I’m not creative in Romanian, I can think critically about history, but I can’t think critically about science. Some skills are applicable in one area of ​​knowledge because they depend very much on a deep understanding of that area.

The ability to learn is transferable.


– Does my child know the difference between memorizing and understanding?

– What is his learning model? Is he aware of the effectiveness of his learning model?

The efficiency of past papers

Maybe at this point you’re wondering “Does my child need to do past papers?“. Definitely yes, solving past papers is useful, but only after a deep learning process and only a few weeks before the exam. The learning process is different from the revision process, which in turn is different from the exam training tests. Solving tests that have a similar structure to the exam helps the student to become familiar with the format of the exam, the terminology, the types of questions, helping him to navigate faster during the exam.

Unfortunately, very often we see students who rely on observing patterns, similarities between versions of training tests or exams from previous years and consider that repeating these patterns is the same as learning. Very often our national exams assess subject-specific skills in contexts that are familiar. Unfortunately, this narrow type of assessment leads to misconceptions about what it means to learn and how we demonstrate what we understand.

Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts” (Einstein) – I invite you to approach the exam preparation as a time when children will be better prepared not only to get a higher grade now, but will develop skills and abilities that they will use for the rest of their lives. Only then will the exam preparation period be used effectively.

I invite you not to just look at what your child is learning now or what he or she will learn in the next school year when choosing, with him, the schooling system that suits him best. Look at the final goal of that system. What is the profile of the student at the graduation point, what kind of adult is he becoming?

One such example is the Avenor Learner Profile that can be found HERE.


Brown, Guest Author Daniel. “Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.” EdApp Microlearning Blog, 14 Dec. 2018,

Hermann Ebbinghaus. Memory a Contribution to Experimental Psychology. Bristol Thoemmes Press Tokyo Maruzen, 1998.

Willingham, Daniel T. Why Don’t Students Like School? : A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom. San Francisco, Ca, Jossey-Bass, 2009.


Dr. Daniela Vasile, Director of Learning at Avenor College and at the same time professor of mathematics, made this informative material for Spotmedia in which she talks about how children can be helped to learn effectively for exams. The full material can be read HERE.

From Avenor to Medicine

 Following an extremely rigorous admission and selection process, Tiberiu, an Avenor College 12 grade student, is admitted to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Groningen, a university with tradition and reputation in Europe, with four Nobel laureates and an impressive list of graduates. His passion for science, his excellent academic results and a mix of specific skills developed over time have offered Tibi one of the first places on the admission list.

Tell us about the admission process to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Groningen.

Unlike the admission process to other specializations, in the application process for Medicine School in University of Groningen there was no need to send personal essays, letters of recommendation, CVs or portfolios. With thousands of applications each year, the only way to distinguish between candidates is an internal examination, organized by the university. Each year, this exam has a different medical topic, which is communicated to candidates a few weeks in advance. This year, the topic was palliative care for patients with heart failure. To prepare for this exam, you must learn in detail the bibliography provided by the university (consisting of scientific articles and excerpts from anatomy textbooks) and you need advanced knowledge of chemistry, biology and physics.

In addition to the theoretical exam, there is also a non-cognitive test of professional ethics, in which you have to evaluate on a scale from 1 to 5 several situations from a moral point of view. Unfortunately, you cannot prepare for this exam, because it tests the way you would respond to a variety of situations, which you will often face during your medical studies.

Even if they have between 1000 and 1500 candidates each year, the number of places has remained constant for some time: 410, of which only 110 are in English, the rest being in Dutch. Although the competition was intense this year – over 1350 people applied – I managed to rank 3rd among international students and 21st among all students who applied (Dutch and international).

What were your strong points to get a place at Groningen?

In addition to the academic results, which most universities evaluate, I think the extracurricular activities I took part in were very important: the STEM Olympiad in Science and Mathematics, the Crest Club, which combines theory with practice in science, internships and volunteering. The more you get involved in different activities, the more opportunities you have to develop yourself and gain new skills. However, it is important to balance these activities with your personal well-being.

For the theoretical exam, I am sure that my ability to quickly memorize information and my solid background in the science field helped me a lot. Although the bibliography of about a hundred pages seemed scary the moment I received it, I got help from my teachers and my parents who supported me all the way. It also mattered that I liked this field and that the information I received was interesting to me: how to care for patients with heart failure, the problems that are currently encountered in this area, the drugs and devices used in treatment, etc. I’m sure I couldn’t have learned so effectively in another domain for which I have no passion.

For the non-cognitive exam, I admit that, although I was ranked in the top 10%, I did not prepare in any way, but it is important to have skills that you would need as a doctor: empathy, logic, compassion, the desire to take the initiative and to defend the vulnerable, for example. Although the situations in the exam may seem superficial at first glance, it is important to be careful about the answers you offer.

What is the optimal mix between academic results and involvement in extracurricular projects for a candidate at Groningen?

To have a successful application, it is not enough just to have good academic results in mathematics, biology and – perhaps most importantly – chemistry. Internships and extracurricular activities are also an important part of preparing a future student.

Last year I had the opportunity to participate in a series of internships organized by the school in several medical specializations, where I could see live what it means to be a doctor. Observing and participating in several consultations and surgeries gave me the chance to deepen the experiences of a doctor’s professional life and to confirm that this is the path I want to follow.

I did not neglect to participate in other extracurricular activities, which gave me the opportunity to look at medicine from several points of view. The “Avenor Christmas Charity Fair” project, organized together with my colleague Ana-Caterina, put me in the position to face various social causes – the charity we supported in 2020, for example, helped over 700 vulnerable elderly people in rural areas. Other activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh program and the MUN debates in which I participated, also helped me to evolve.

Why did you choose Groningen in the context of offering a limited number of places in English and long-term Medicine in Dutch?

Founded over 400 years ago, with four Nobel laureates and a list of well-known graduates, such as the mathematician Johann Bernoulli, Aletta Jacobs – one of the world’s first female doctors – and many members of the Dutch royal family, Groningen has a special reputation, being one of the top universities in Europe.

The Groningen medical course is unique in Europe – and probably in the world – because it offers a patient-centered approach: students get in touch with patients from the first year of study and follow a problem-solving programme. This curriculum is probably one of the reasons why the University of Groningen School of Medicine ranks 51st in the world and in the top 3 English-language medical schools in the EU.

Although only the first 3 years are in English, the next 3 being in Dutch, the university provides free Dutch courses to all students, thus making the learning process easier for international students. The language itself seems pretty easy to learn, being similar to English and German, so I don’t worry too much about it.

How do you think Avenor helped you in the admission to a prestigious university in Europe? Do you think that a student who follows the British curriculum has more advantages? If so, how?

Although I came to Avenor only 2 years ago, I felt from day one that I had the unconditional support of everyone here. I am not referring here strictly to my scholarship status, but also to the general relations with my colleagues, with the teachers in the class, but also with the school administration. Although I did not have a private counselor to help me with my college application, the school counselors helped me and constantly advised me on my career path and the requirements and specifics of the universities I applied to. The teachers have always supported me in choosing the most suitable path for me and I especially thank the chemistry teacher, Laura Băjenaru, who shared with me significant details from her personal experience in this field, supported and encouraged me to continue on this path of studying science.

The main advantage of the British program over the Romanian one is that it allows you, since the 9th grade, to focus on the subjects that you like and that you want to follow in the future. This is very helpful especially in the 11th and 12th grades: while in the Romanian system a student who wants to apply to medicine must also attend many additional classes, a student in the British system only studies the subjects he is interested in.

Another important advantage is that the British program is constantly updated. Take biology, for example, while textbooks in the Romanian system were written a few decades ago, the British curriculum examines the latest innovations in biotechnology, such as microarrays, genetic modification through the CRISPR mechanism and genetic therapies.

What should be the path and interests of a 9th grade High School student who wants a career in medicine to increase his or her chances of being admitted at a university like Groningen?

I believe that for any future scientist, skills that help you learn and understand new things are very important, for example critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability and self-confidence. Given that in the field of science new things are always discovered and you always have something to learn, these skills serve as a foundation on which other knowledge can be based later.

For a doctor, in addition to the above skills, good social skills are also needed. A good doctor is empathetic, altruistic, responsible and honest. These are, moreover, the qualities that universities seek in their future students and which should be highlighted in essays and letters of intent.

For any selection procedure you obviously need advanced knowledge of mathematics and science: chemistry, biology and physics. I studied chemistry, mathematics and biology at A2-level (two years of study) and physics and computer science at AS-level (one year).

What do you hope to find in Groningen? What are your plans for the future?


Although at the moment I am not sure about my plans for the future, I am sure that I will have many options once I finish my studies in Groningen. The medical school at the University of Groningen gives you the opportunity to focus on several potential careers: doctor (my favorite specialties would be genetics, neurology and psychiatry), medical research or health policy advisor. It remains to be seen which of these areas will attract me the most and which one I will choose.


Registrations for Secondary School are Open

7 years after the opening of Avenor High School, we are happy to live an extraordinary moment in the evolution of our school. The opening of a new building, dedicated exclusively to students in grades 6-12, creates new opportunities for students who want to join us and are waiting for a place at Avenor.

So, on the 5th of May, we are organising an event dedicated to these families, in order to give them the opportunity to get to know our students and teachers and to find out directly from them about the education at Avenor.

“We are always happy to tell the story of our school through our own learning experiences. I came to Avenor in the 5th grade and so far, until the 10th grade, I’ve been involved as coordinator in dozens of projects. Among them is the Avenor Mentorship Programme that I started in the 6th grade, with guests such as Pavel Bartoș, Ana Consulea and Tedy Ursuleanu. As President of the Student Council, I implemented the Avenor Hoodie, and this year I have the honor of coordinating TEDxYouth@AvenorCollege together with 22 of the hardest working people I know. I think that in all these experiences it helped me a lot that I had my colleagues by my side, that our teachers guided us with skill and clarity offering us opportunities that we could not have accessed on our own. At Avenor we have a very open environment for any initiative, and I am sure that many more projects will follow.” says Sandra Pitu, one of the hosts of this event.

“This is a very exciting moment in the evolution of our school. We are preparing to open a new building that will host over 250 students next year. Our High School has developed very well in the last years. We have 3 generations of graduates now studying in prestigious universities and our programmes have diversified a lot in the meantime. We want to create opportunities for the round development of our students.

We’re glad that 12th graders have already started to receive offers from universities, and we were thrilled to learn that Andrei, one of our 12th graders, has been admitted to Harvard. ” – Diana Segărceanu, Executive Director of Avenor College.


Avenor College follows the British curriculum

The IGCSE – International General Certificate of Secondary Education – covers the first two years of High School – Grades 9 and 10 in the Romanian system / Years 10 and 11 of KS4 in the British system.

Advanced AS/A2 – The Advanced Level Examination – has two parts: AS and A2. The Advanced level covers the final two years of high school – Grades 11 and 12 in the Romanian system/ Years 12 and 13 of KS5 in the British system – and prepares students for University admission.

The middle school offers Avenor students the opportunity to choose their line of study. Starting with the 6th grade, a personalised school orientation programme is outlined. Students have the opportunity to choose to study Mathematics, English and Science in the British system and take the specific assessments or to study Mathematics and the Romanian language in the national system and take the National Evaluation exams.