Many of our students enjoy the comradery and challenges of academic competitions. They complement the academic curriculum and provide enriching experiences for students outside the classroom where they can further explore their passions and interests and demonstrate their mastery of specific skills. These competitions give students the opportunity to learn from each other, share interests and support their peers. It also provides a tremendous level of school spirit and pride in students to represent MacLachlan.
Listed here are some of the activities in which MacLachlan students vigorously and successfully compete, several of which they have earned top honours:
- The Fulford Debating League
- The Nora MacRae Public Speaking Tournament
- The Independent School International Public Speaking Competition
- The Ontario Student Debating Union
- The Kiwanis Festival Choir Competition
- The Battle of the Books
- The Festival of Oral Poetry
- The McMaster University Science and Engineering Fair
- University of Waterloo Mathematics Competitions: Gauss, Pascal, Cayley, Fermat, Descartes, Euclid
- The Great Canadian Geography challenge
- The Commonwealth Overseas International Essay Competition
- The Canadian Mathematics Competition
MacLachlan College is committed to creating successful and innovative approaches to learning by promoting and developing skills that transcend the classroom environment. By combining traditional methods of instruction with active learning concepts, MacLachlan students are able to fully participate and engage in their own course work alongside the course work of their peers, thus deepening their intellectual inquiry and critical thinking abilities.
Active learning processes incorporate reading, discussion, debate, problem-solving, evaluation, and analysis. This is accomplished through a variety of methods including, case study exercises, problem-solving and collaborative learning. These methods, incorporated into the living systems approach, encourage each individual student to learn and participate in the way most effective and beneficial to them.
“MacLachlan prides itself on being at the cutting edge of innovation in teaching and learning theory,” says Michael Piening, Head of School at MacLachlan College. “This generation of learner, and the world they are growing up in, is very engaged, social and interactive. We looked internally at how we could best respond and adapt to enhance student exploration, creativity and knowledge.” This includes recognizing that teamwork and critical thinking skills are improved when students are given the opportunity to pair off into groups to further discuss and examine concepts they have covered in depth during the lesson. This allows learners of different levels of readiness to engage and learn in ways that are personalized and individually benefit them.
We found that although advanced technology was being integrated into learning and our teachers were finding new and innovative ways to engage today’s social learners, the physical structure of the traditional classroom was restrictive,” says Lisa Duranleau, Executive Director of MacLachlan College. “By investing in the new Node chairs and Verb furnishings, our classrooms and open learning spaces have been transformed into 21st-Century learning hubs quickly, effectively and economically, drastically improving the learning environment.”
At MacLachlan, the living systems philosophy is ingrained in all aspects of the academic and co-curricular program through the seamless integration of technology and the new innovative classroom furnishings. The Node chairs and Verb systems, developed by Steelcase, allow for flexible spaces that promote and cultivate an environment of open interaction and communication throughout the classroom.
In the true fashion of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Everest Centre has been developed and implemented to enhance and build on the concept contained in the MacLachlan College Mission Statement that all students are unique and have something remarkable to offer.
Programs under the Everest Centre are designed to go beyond MacLachlan’s regular curriculum. Some are incorporated in the school curriculum framework, others may require a more intense application for a specific period of time. Everest Centre programs are not only fun, they complement and enhance students’ unique learning experiences.
Everest programs include:
- Enriched program units for Gifted Students
- Elite Athlete Program
- Direct Instruction Modules
- Academic Coaches
- Tutoring Services
There are myriad ways in which young minds differ and the deeply committed and creative faculty members of MacLachlan College subscribe to the heartfelt belief that children learn best in an environment which values these differences. The Everest Centre is the affirmation of these beliefs.
MacLachlan regularly uses emerging and leading edge technology to enhance student learning. The school has developed a unique style of using modern classroom technology by adding an important component to what is commonly referred to as Information Communication Technology (ICT). All too often technology is used in a passive mode with the student as observer, missing the element of active participation which is essential to enhanced learning. MacLachlan has expanded the concept of ICT to include participation: ICT becomes P-ICT – Participatory Information Communication Technology.
MacLachlan has introduced into the classrooms a variety of new technologies such as SMARTboards, ipads, iMacs with Intel processors, Macbooks, iPods, digital cameras and camcorders, global positioning systems (GPS), and cutting edge video editing software. This state of the art technology along with our skilled and well-trained teachers make us a leader in innovative collaborative instruction.
Every classroom at MacLachlan is equipped with SMARTboard technology. This technology fully engages students in a participatory learning process. The key to effective and sophisticated SMARTboard use is the student’s participatory involvement in the lesson itself. P-ICT combines the real time participation of MacLachlan students with the technical innovation of an electronic SMARTboard.
Classrooms at MacLachlan reflect the professional and business world of today where collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking, flexibility and problem solving are key skills.