Global Learning

Global Learning experiences at The Bishop Strachan School provide unique leadership opportunities. They encourage students to be curious about the world and develop self-awareness.
Global Learning events, initiatives and programs offer exploratory and immersive experiences that emphasize belonging, cultural competency and ethical citizenship. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of purpose and take action in their local, national and global communities.
Explore the six program pillars of Global Learning below.

Student Learning

Global Learning projects allow students to investigate important world issues, and participate in diverse conversations. Students navigate what it means to be a global citizen in an interconnected world, connecting their learning with local, national and global communities.

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  • Every Child Matters

    This event, organized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and also known as Orange Shirt Day, helps students in Grade 6 and Grade 10 History understand more about the residential school experiences of Indigenous people in Canada. Special Chapel and Assembly programs invite all Senior School students to contemplate the legacy of residential schools and how to contribute to a more equitable future.
  • Global Read Aloud

    This project brings students together with other students reading the same books around the world to contemplate issues related to racism, privilege, and discrimination, and explore perspectives on truth, justice and representation. This year’s selections are Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell (Grade 6), and Stamped: Race, Racism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi (Grade 10 English).
  • iEARN "Girl Rising"

    Students in Level 2 Spanish have the opportunity to practice their language skills while discussing feminism and the themes presented in the film Girl Rising with students from Monterrey, Mexico.

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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  • BSS Learns About Human Rights

    This series kicks off during Holocaust Education Week in November, and continues throughout the year with a different focus each month. In collaboration with students and faculty across the school, Global Learning hosts a variety of presentations and events that shine a spotlight on human rights, including a divisional public speaking contest, International Human Rights Day, and the Global Voices Film Series.
  • Global Ideas Institute

    The Global Ideas Institute 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. During the 2020-21 school year, four Senior School students connected with U of T professors and expert practitioners to delve into the topic of digital security for marginalized communities, culminating in a presentation to an expert panel at the final symposium.
  • One Health Hackathon

    This virtual global health innovation event is open to high school students from around the world. Teams are assigned to one of four diseases (influenza, malaria, COVID-19 or ebola) and given four days to come up with an action plan, including policy platforms, business pitches, tech prototypes and more.

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 - 12 take part in letter writing campaigns organized by Amnesty International.
  • Civic Ambassadors Program

    The Civic Ambassadors Program helps interested Junior, Middle and Senior School students learn how to be active and engaged community members, through the lens of social justice, human rights and equity. Ambassadors participate 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, 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, students learn about the global context of this action and reflect on the tradition of weaving circles.

Community Voices

By engaging with experts and those with lived experience, students obtain the insight and perspective to empathize with and learn from others. These opportunities also embolden students to use their own voice to advocate for ideas, issues and individuals 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 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 this year 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 Attenorough: 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
  • World Issues - Conversations with Israeli Youth

    As part of the geopolitical unit in the World Issues class, students engage in a virtual exchange with Israeli youth on identity development, diversity and multiculturalism in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To develop a nuanced understanding of this complex conflict, students also heard from experts Dr. Derek Penslar and Rev. Nassim Nasser, as well as a Palestinian youth who shared her lived experience.

School Partnerships

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

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Local and Global Experiences

Whether students are performing at the National Centre for the Arts in Ottawa 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. 

Experiences change each year and are updated in April for the upcoming school year. Past 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
  • Performing arts trips to New York, Cuba, Japan, Barcelona and others
  • Community engagement programs in Arizona, Jamaica, Ecuador, the Amazon and more

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  • Student taking a girl's blood pressure with a teacher pointing at the pressure gauge

    Belize – opening eyes, broadening perspectives

    For a group of BSS students in Grades 11 and 12, the 2019 service trip to Belize was an eye-opening experience. The girls worked in a rural community health centre, seeing first hand the impact of poverty on the health of families. This is more than tourism: the girls worked with community health workers, taking blood pressures, glucose readings and performing other non-invasive medical procedures. They also learned about the culture and heritage of local indigenous populations and the legacy of colonialism.