Some of our new Canadian 'Pen Pal' French language buddies
During the January 2020 school holiday, I had the opportunity to accompany 26 QLD secondary students on an exchange visit to Québec, the French-speaking province of Canada. The education system in Canada is goverened by each province, and there are slight differences between them, similar to our states. In Quebec, all regions provide universal education to students in French, with English being a compulsory second language subject. As part of the programme, I visited two schools; Polyvalente La Samare in Plessisville, (P-12) and Laval Marist College in Montréal. I had the opportunity to shadow the principal of Polyvalente La Samare for a week. Plessisville is a small town located between Montréal and Québec and is well known as the World’s Maple Capital, where the production of maple syrup and maple products is a major industry. Over the past decade, Polyvalente La Samare has topped public schools in Canada and its students have received more scholarships than other prestigious schools. I was very impressed with the family spirit present in this country school, and the strong relationship between the school and the community. The staff welcomed me with open arms and hearts from the moment I arrived. I also paid a visit to Laval Marist College in Montréal, where I chose to dedicate a small part of my journey to engage in Marist collaboration and discuss the future of Marist educators in the world today. Part of my experience in Québec was to foster collaborations in teaching and establish professional relationships. I was able to participate in classes and exchange ideas with several teachers who provided me with experiences I can now share with my students, and the greater school community. I believe that building first hand connections, with educators in different countries can help develop a critical awareness of the interconnectedness to other people and places around the world. St Teresa’s French department promotes global learning and is excited to announce a new partnership with Québec, to add to our established links with sister schools in Paris and New Caledonia. Together with Madame Pettit and Polyvalente La Samare, we have created a virtual exchange programme during the Covid-19 restriction time. Year 10 and 11 French students have been paired with a Québecois student and will use technology to connect, share knowledge and develop cultural understanding and build relationships to enhance their curriculum studies. We will share some of the outcomes of this partnership in future communications and broaden the global knowledge of all students at St Teresa's.