Student Exchange: Colombian Explorations

Stefania_GaulSo far, it has been really fun here in Colombia! After a smooth flight, I was greeted by Mrs. Behar and an awesome group of students. Over the weekend, I had a great time at the club where I played some sports, and on the following Monday I took the bus to school at 6 am! That was a big change for me because I usually walk to school closer to 8 am. Everyone at school welcomed me warmly and provided English translations when I didn’t understand what was being said.

In the second week, I tried all kinds of new foods like ajiaco, empanadas and arepas. They were all delicious and taste very different from anything I have ever eaten.

Though there are some things that are similar to Montreal, like the traffic, for the most part it’s very different here. Take the weather, for example. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s November! Also, at school in sports class, I was able to choose to do gymnastics. It would be fun to have that option at LCC. In fact, there are many classes that we don’t have, like religion class and a technology class.

This past weekend, Cayetana, her family and I went to Cartagena where we learnt about the old city and spent some time at the beach. We went back to the club where I water-skied for the first time. It was so cool and surprisingly difficult! We also got to see the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which, to my surprise, was in English with Spanish subtitles.

At school the following week, we went on a science field trip to the Humedal Torca-Guaymaral, which is a big wetland in the middle of the city. We saw the wetland species and what they need to survive (temperature and pH) and I got close enough to touch a cow. Besides that, I almost lost my boot in the mud, which meant that I had to spend the rest of the day with my foot in muddy water. But it was fun either way! – Stefania Gaul ’19, Exchange Student at Colegio Los Nogales


Sauvons les monarques! Bring back the Monarchs!

MonarchsAs Middle School students at LCC, many exciting opportunities are made available to us. From debating to the Green Team, you have absolutely every possibility to achieve your full potential. One of these activities, Middle School Pride, helps instil leadership in every student, by giving them the chance to help others in their communities in addition to organizing activities and charitable events.

Au cours des dernières semaines, le groupe de Middle School Pride s’est intéressé à une organisation qui est dévouée à la cause des papillons monarques qui, malheureusement, sont de plus en plus en danger. Lors de notre session de jeudi dernier, un représentant de cette organisation est venu nous parler à propos de ces papillons, spécifiquement les monarques. Il a expliqué leur importance au niveau des écosystèmes nord-américains ainsi que plusieurs méthodes qu’on peut employer pour les sauver.

Nous avons pu regarder des graines d’asclépiade (la seule plante qui peut nourrir les chenilles monarques), apprendre comment les faire germer et commencer à planifier notre activité pour en distribuer à la communauté. – Domenico D’amico ’20

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Grade 5 Students Take Global Learning Out of the Classroom

Amélie_KellyPerhaps the best indication of LCC’s success as a leader in developing open-minded, empathic and engaged citizens of the world is when students, on their own initiative, cross cultural and linguistic boundaries to gain new perspectives and a better understanding of one another. That is precisely what happened when Amélie and Kelly met in their grade 5 class.

New to Montreal and to LCC, Kelly befriended Amélie and the two girls quickly realized how much there was to learn from each other. An agreement was struck at recess: Amélie would teach French to Kelly and Kelly would teach Mandarin to Amélie. Both girls took their commitment seriously, creating well-conceived lesson plans that even included homework. Excited by the potential of this relationship, the girls then decided to share their respective cultures, and each will visit the other’s home for a typical French or Chinese meal.

Véronique, Amélie’s mother, can relate to Kelly’s experience, having immigrated to Quebec from France at the very same age. She says that she has taught her daughter to be open and welcoming to people from other countries but she also credits LCC for its promotion of global education. “LCC creates and nurtures an environment where students are encouraged to take these types of initiatives,” she says. “The school’s culture is truly in line with its vision to be an inclusive community of globally-minded learners.”

Kelly’s father, Rocky, is enthralled by his daughter’s drive. “This is very exciting to witness because of the cross-cultural component,” he says. “And I am hoping that Kelly will have an easier time picking up French as a result.”

Véronique doesn’t necessarily expect Amélie to become fluent in Mandarin but is impressed by her daughter’s and Kelly’s mutual willingness and desire to broaden their minds. She hopes that the relationship will evolve and that these newfound friends will continue to value diversity and each other’s unique identity.

Social Courage and Holding to Your Convictions

News_Item_PlanteWhat do our students have in common with former NBA basketball star Wilt Chamberlain and Habs’ goaltending great Jacques Plante? They have all been held back by social conformity, more commonly known as peer pressure. This is not about teen anxiety and the pressures of fitting in with the latest trends. It is about something bigger.

Psychologists and sociologists tell us that social conformity has a huge impact on adults as well. In fact, it is probably the single greatest factor that inhibits people from being innovative or open to new ideas.

Let me illustrate with two simple examples. November 1, 2016, marked the 57th anniversary of the first time that Jacques Plante wore a mask in an NHL game. Plante had already taken many pucks to his face and subsequently developed the first protective facemask. But he only wore it in practice. Canadiens coach Toe Blake refused to let him use it in games, thinking it would obscure his vision and probably because it wasn’t considered “manly” and might portray the team in a negative light. Blake wanted to conform to the league norm; he did not want the Canadiens to be mocked by other teams or the media. But after being stitched up after a shot to the face against the NY Rangers, Plante insisted and Blake reluctantly agreed. That piece of equipment has since protected thousands of players and is now a critical part of every goaltender’s gear. The resistance to integrating Plante’s innovation is an example of the restrictive power of social conformity that prevented basic protection and safety.

Another example is outlined by sociologist Malcolm Gladwell who tells the story of Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain, one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time. Despite his extraordinary achievements on the court, he too was held back from even greater performance by peer pressure.

At seven feet two inches, Chamberlain dominated more than any player in the contemporary game of basketball. He is the only player in NBA history to have scored 100 points in a game, a record that most experts believe will never be matched. When Chamberlain retired in 1973, the NBA record book for that year listed 128 records that he held. As of last year, 98 of those records still stood, decades after his departure.

Despite his achievements, Chamberlain was also a victim of peer pressure. As Gladwell reminds us, it takes significant social courage to be truly exceptional at anything. It is hard to defy norms or conventional practices and the pressure to conform holds us all back every day.

So given Chamberlain’s achievements, how did he succumb to peer pressure? It happened at the free-throw line. Chamberlain’s teammate, Rick Barry, showed him that throwing underhanded was a more natural motion and would lead to more baskets. Chamberlain did that for a while but was mocked. People said he looked ridiculous.

So Chamberlain went back to the overhanded shot and his free throw percentage diminished notably. Despite setting records, he probably could have been even greater if he wasn’t concerned about peer pressure and what people thought of him.

What are the key takeaways? Simple. In so many domains, if you want to stand out, if you want to try to be unique or innovative, you have to have the courage to defy peer pressure and social norms. Otherwise you will likely only be working around the edges of tried-and-true practices.

I asked our high school students to think about how and where they can try to innovate, despite social norms. This also applies to student learning habits, especially when in groups. Students need the courage to be less concerned about what their peers think in a classroom setting, particularly when they develop a unique idea or when wrestling with a problem. It’s asking a lot, but with practice, students can build their confidence and take pride in developing their own ideas that may vary from the perspective of the majority. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Le grand nettoyage du canal Lachine

2016_2017_Community_Clean_Up_004Malgré le froid et la pluie, nous étions 19 pour la 5e édition du grand nettoyage des berges du canal Lachine. Cette année, nous avons eu la joie d’avoir des élèves du Junior School.

De 10 h à 12 h, nous avons ramassé: mégots de cigarettes, capsules de bouteilles, sacs en plastique, câbles métalliques et manches à balai…

Voici quelques commentaires des élèves :

J’ai appris pendant cette expérience que les poissons mangent les mégots de cigarette décomposés et puis on mange les poissons alors on doit nettoyer l’environnement pour le bien des animaux est de nous aussi.

I liked doing this community service activity because it felt good to clean up the area and help the community. 

You know what you did is good when people stop by to say thank you!

Despite the rainfall, the amount of trash on the ground was more saddening.

I was really amazed at what people put on the ground without realizing that they shouldn’t do that. 

J’ai trouvé qu’il y a trop de personnes qui ne s’occupent pas des déchets.