UCDSB students learn diversity first hand with international student visit

Photo submitted.
Posted on: May 7, 2018

Submitted

In the build up to Education Week, which carries the theme of Equity in Action! and commences today, students at Montague Public School received first-hand education on what it’s like to live in other parts of the world.

Nine international students from Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI), representing Germany, Mexico, Spain, China, Hong Kong, France and Switzerland, spent time in classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 4 at Montague Public School last week, teaching students about their cultures and languages. The Montague students were very engaged in this learning interaction and were eager to ask questions and share their knowledge and experience with the international students.

The initiative was coordinated by teacher Cynthia Gilmore and educational assistant Eiryn Harmison at Montague Public School and English language learner instructor Patti-Bree Harmison and teacher Emma Heart at SFDCI.

“This opportunity provides the students with a wealth of knowledge about other countries and it gives them a sample of diversity at a young age, which helps to build tolerance and understanding,” said Eiryn Harmison about the experience for the Montague students.

“It puts [the international students] out of their comfort zone, pushes them past their learning borders, and teaches them compassion,” said Patti-Bree Harmison of the SFDCI students.

She added that allowing the high school students the opportunity to act as the experts on their
countries proved to be a positive experience for them. It put the international students in the role of teacher and allowed them to show true leadership skills and “come out of their shells a bit.”

In preparation to the international student visit, Montague students did several social studies units and artwork that focused on different cultures.