LDCSB trip to China

The Fortunate Five

The Fortunate Five

LDCSB has the trip of a lifetime

by Linda Staudt

Linda Staudt, Director of Education at the London District Catholic School Board, recently returned from an unforgettable trip to China.

Below is a letter written by Linda, following her trip:

I, along with Principal Ana Fernandes, returned from an experience unparalleled to anything I’ve witnessed in my 31 years as an educator. Through We Are Young II, east met west.

We Are Young is in its second season and is produced for CCTV2, part of the CCTV Group, which is China’s largest broadcaster. The series promotes cross-cultural understanding, personal growth and experiencing life in a whole new way. Five Grade 11 students from Mother Teresa swapped countries, schools and lives with students from China for the popular reality TV series.

It was with great pride that I along with Ana, Aaron, Christina, Emmanuel, Diana and Natalia represented Canada, LDCSB and Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School.

Experiencing We Are Young, through our students, brought two cultures together. Click here to learn more about our time in China and check out some of the photos from our trip. 

While our five students exchanged lives with five Chinese students, Ana and I were busy establishing three sister school educational partnerships (a fourth is in the works). These partnerships will see our schools working collaboratively to promote excellence and innovation in teaching all areas of the curriculum, as we promote educational and cultural ties between students and staff. These partnerships will promote activities including joint student learning projects, sharing of curriculum to improve educational outcomes and collaborative research, and the exchange of research in particular in the area of mathematics.

In addition, Chinese students will have the opportunity to study in Canada, complete their high school education and transition to the post-secondary institution of their choice in Ontario. We are fortunate to have a special relationship with Brescia, King’s and Fanshawe. As early as this July, we will host students from our sister schools for two weeks as they participate in a cultural exchange, here in London.

Ana and I were able to join our students in China as they participated in classes and went on excursions. 

Here are a few interesting things we learned:

  • Chinese students begin their school day around 7:30 a.m. Students take approximately eight classes throughout the day, 40 to 45 minutes in length.
  • At about 9:30 a.m. the entire student body (2,000 students) enters a centre courtyard for 10 to 15 minutes of exercise. Senior students set out on a run and junior students are led in a round of stretching exercises, accompanied by music.
  • Lunch is a two-hour break. Students living nearby walk home, have lunch and rest. Others remain at school, have lunch and rest.
  • Afternoon classes end around 5 p.m., which is followed by 30 minutes of study for everyone.
  • Students are in a uniform designed for comfort and activity. They have summer and winter uniforms. Since the uniforms are designed for activity, there is no need to change to participate in a physical activity.
  • The average class size is 50 students, in classrooms that are no larger than ours.
  • Students in the area of physical education and the arts choose the activity in which they wish to participate. These activities are of a wide range: tai chi, basketball, elite skipping, gymnastics, dance, classic Chinese musical instruments, calligraphy and badminton to name a few.
  • All the students we met genuinely enjoyed being in school.
  • Students took great pleasure in learning about Canada, the structure of our school days and practicing their English with us. They also quite enjoyed having their picture taken with us, as did we.
  • Not completing one’s homework is unimaginable. We asked the question what would happened if homework was not competed. They didn’t know the answer because it just does not happen!

I know I speak for both Ana and myself when I say that we consider ourselves most fortunate and blessed to have had this unique opportunity to experience first-hand China’s culture and education through our MTS We Are Young team of Aaron, Christina, Diana, Emmanuel and Natalia, and their counterparts Coco, Jerry, Wells, Li and Sally. It truly was an amazing journey.

East met west and we are all so much richer for the experience.

Linda Staudt
Director of Education

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