Beyond the Classroom

Global Learning and Experiences

Global learning at The Bishop Strachan School provides unique leadership opportunities.
Through trips to other parts of Canada and around the world, and events, initiatives and programs that emphasize belonging, cultural competency and ethical citizenship, students develop a sense of purpose and take action in their local, national and international communities. They become conscientious global citizens who are curious about the world.
Extending our work on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, students examine and understand the world through the lens of relationships: with others, between academic subjects and at the intersection of global systems.

We consider global learning to be an emergent curriculum. Students and faculty play a vital role in shaping it. Students, particularly those in the Global Awareness Council, help determine trips and initiatives based on their interests. This strengthens their connection to what they learn and gives them deeper insights into the world around them.

Encouraging students to become globally-minded thinkers and doers is an integral part of our commitment to experiential learning. Every single experience, whether at home or abroad, expands the breadth of opportunities available to them now and in the future.

    • A diverse group of students gather around a table and watch a presentation at the Cultural Expo

Student Learning

Global learning projects allow students to investigate important world issues and participate in diverse conversations. Students learn how to be global citizens in an interconnected world, connecting their learning with local, national and international communities.

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  • Every Child Matters

    This event, also known as Orange Shirt Day, coincides with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation , and helps students understand more about the residential school experiences of Indigenous people in Canada. Special Chapel and Assembly programs invite all students in Grades 9 to 12 to contemplate the legacy of residential schools and how to contribute to a more equitable future.
  • Cultural Expo

    In this annual event organized by the Global Awareness Council, students in Grades 5 to 12 spend a morning learning about cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation. Through musical and dance performances and demonstrations of cultural dress by students and faculty, students broaden their perspective on the cultures represented in our community. After the performances, students set up booths to showcase elements of their culture. Through dance, music, literature, food, games and other activities, students have an opportunity to learn from those who represent different cultures around the world.
  • iEARN "Girl Rising"

    Students in Level 2 and Level 3 Spanish have the opportunity to practice their language skills in virtual conversations. BSS students learn from different perspectives while sharing their own views of various global issues with other students in Monterrey, Mexico. Topics include women’s rights, travel, digital literacy, the environment and Indigenous communities.
    • Two students speak into a microphone at an assembly during Human Rights Week. One students wears an orange ribbon pinned to her shirt.

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of co-curricular activities that develop their global awareness. These opportunities enable students to tackle real world issues, design solutions or investigate ideas that are outside of the regular curriculum.

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  • Global Ideas Institute

    The Global Ideas Institute (GII) is a collaborative program between the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the University of Toronto Schools, Rotman Integrative Thinking and World Vision Canada. The GII offers students the tools, knowledge and guidance to develop innovative solutions to a real-world problem without a current solution. Senior students connect with U of T professors and expert practitioners to delve into a relevant topic affecting equitable education, culminating in a presentation to an expert panel at the final symposium.
  • Global Hackathons

    Grade 9 to 12  students have participated in a number of hackathons that involve students tackling problems and using their skills in collaboration with students around the world. They also had the opportunity to connect with experts in the field, graduate students and professors through the Global Engineering Challenge. While participating virtually in workshops facilitated by graduate engineering students, BSS students gained a deeper understanding of the challenges engineers face, such as using Python and machine learning to detect fraud. They investigated design-driven solutions in teams and practiced their engineering thinking processes.
  • Experiential Career Workshops

    Students in Grades 7 to 12 participated in a number of workshops with an emphasis on different career paths, some of which include the Future Doctors, Future Lawyers, Future Entrepreneurs, and Future Global Leaders programs facilitated by Harvard Student Agencies. They collaborate with students worldwide and learn from experts in the field.
    • Two cards written by students with messages of hope for refugees

Community Engagement

Whether through a service initiative, awareness campaign or social action plan, students develop a keen understanding of how local and global systems intersect.

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  • Amnesty International Write for Rights

    As part of December’s International Day for Human Rights and the BSS Learns About Human Rights series, students in Grades 5 to 12 take part in letter writing campaigns organized by Amnesty International. Participating students write letters of encouragement to imprisoned human rights activists from around the world, bringing hope to people in the most dire situations. Students learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and gain awareness of the role that youth can play in taking action to sign petitions.
  • Civic Ambassadors

    The Civic Ambassadors Program helps interested students in Grades 6 to 9 learn how to be active and engaged community members, through the lens of social justice, human rights and equity. Since 2020, Civic Ambassadors have participated in service leadership and global learning initiatives, such as training Grade 8 students on using root-cause analysis to address a social issue for a grade-wide investigative project, organizing a ravine clean-up, facilitating a toiletries drive while learning about homelessness locally and globally, and taking the lead in planning programming for Orange Shirt Day.
  • Milkbags Unlimited

    This is a joint Global Learning and Service Learning initiative in which students weave mats from discarded milk bags to be used as hygienic mattress substitutes in countries affected by natural disasters and asylum migration, or whose housing often has dirt floors. During weaving sessions, Junior, Middle and Senior students learn about the global context of this action and reflect on the tradition of weaving circles.
    • A group of diverse students have a discussion while sitting around the table

Community Voices

By engaging with experts and those with lived experience, students obtain the insight to empathize with and learn from others. They are emboldened to use their own voice to advocate for ideas and issues that are meaningful to themselves and others.

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  • ePals Program

    This initiative of the Global Awareness Council pairs BSS students with students at partner schools around the world to engage in virtual conversation and intercultural exchange. Partner schools are located in the U.K., Turkey, Japan, Australia, Jamaica and Nunavut. Through structured dialogues and group video chats, participants consider the differences and similarities in their peers’ school and home life, and gain new understandings of global issues.
  • Global Student Dialogues

    This monthly series allows students from Grades 8 to 12 to engage with other students around the world to discuss complex topics and issues including gender inequality, universal access to health care, climate change and the refugee crisis. Our students engage virtually with other students worldwide to hear global perspectives and experiences, while engaging in intercultural dialogue.
  • Global Voices Film Series

    This monthly series allows school clubs, councils, affinity groups and classes to select and share a film on a topic of their choosing, and facilitate a Q&A or panel discussion. Films screened include:
    • In the Name of Your Daughter - Hosted by the Gender Studies class, with Farzana Doctor
    • Hotel Rwanda - Hosted by the Global Awareness Council, with Emery Rutagonya of the Rwandan Survivors Foundation
    • David Attenborough: A Life on This Planet - Hosted by the Environment Council
    • Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story - Hosted by the Muslim Student Union, with Dr. Wafaa Hasan and Ibtihaj Muhammad
    • Two BSS students flank a student from Melbourne Girls Grammar School who holds a microphone and speaks in the BSS Chapel

School Partnerships

By participating in partnerships with schools locally and abroad, students can investigate what it means to be part of communities in Toronto and internationally.

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    • A group of students and faculty pose in a group outside a nature reserve in Costa Rica

Local and Global Experiences

Whether students are performing at cathedrals in Ireland or testing glucose levels during home healthcare visits in Belize, each experience is a unique and fully realized program. Participants engage in workshops to prepare them with the skills, tools and awareness they will need to make the most of each experience. They take time to reflect deeply and make meaningful connections. Back at BSS, they share what they learned with the school community. 
Past local and global experiences include:
  • Canadian identity and sea kayaking adventure on Vancouver Island
  • Care and conservation placements in the rainforests of Costa Rica
  • CIS Drama Festival workshops led by the cast and crew of Stratford Festival plays in Stratford, Ontario
  • Arts and cultural explorations in London and Paris
  • Vimy Ridge war and Remembrance Day experience
  • Language, culture, history and arts experience in Spain
  • Performing arts trips to New York, Cuba, Japan, Ireland and other locations
  • Community engagement programs in Arizona, Jamaica, Ecuador, the Amazon and more

Student participant in Ireland music trip

I can wholeheartedly say that every second was worth it. The memories and connections I made will truly last a lifetime. Music brought all of us together and I think that’s beautiful.

Student participant in Costa Rica service trip

I have gained a lot more appreciation for the facilities my city has, and the kinds of privilege we should be using to support others in their careers, dedications and culture.