At LAS, developing innovative, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world is more than just a mission statement written on a piece of paper—it is a set of guiding principles that direct the actions of our staff and students every day. We aim to instill within our students a deep understanding of the world and their place in it through thoughtful assignments, through engaging speakers, and by sending them out into the world during culturals, field trips, and community service projects. Whenever possible, we also try to bring the wider world a bit closer to our little corner of the globe—a task that, in recent years, the LAS Educational Research (LASER) center has happily supported.
LASER reaches out to creative professionals in education—consultants, professors, and content specialists to name a few. These Visiting Scholars work on their own research projects alongside LAS faculty, learning, leading, and presenting their findings to the school community.
The first Visiting Scholar was Hisashi Yoshida—former headmaster of our neighbor school, Kumon Leysin Academy of Switzerland. After some time away from Leysin, Mr. Yoshida was seeking an opportunity to come back and visit, and, after a discussion with the Ott family, was invited to stay at LAS as our first-ever Visiting Scholar. During his stay at LAS, Mr. Yoshida examined Theory of Knowledge and the IB programme. LAS enjoyed hosting Mr. Yoshida and realized the potential of learning from fellow academics staying at the school; with that it was decided the Visiting Scholar program should grow in the following years.
Since LASER’s inception, we have hosted over 30 Visiting Scholars from more than 10 countries, studying topics ranging from Alpine science and climate change, to using theater for social well-being, to creating curriculum for the Middle School, to investigating what the ideal school looks like.
Recently, we hosted Elena and Dasha, two scholars from Kazan Federal University in Russia. Elena and Dasha are doing in-depth research on cyberbullying; they first piloted their research in Russia, but wanted to obtain data from different contexts. The two scholars used their unique methodology to study cyberbullying in grades 9 and 10. They presented their findings to the administration before leaving and are currently writing their paper for submission in an education journal.
We look forward to hosting many more Visiting Scholars and expanding our LASER community in the years to come. LASER is a program that benefits its participants endlessly. Staff members rub shoulders with professionals in a wide variety of fields, especially those involved in progressive education, and can take what they learn with them back to the classroom; scholars can interact with students, augmenting our programs and giving students deeper insight into fascinating topics; and scholars like Elena and Dasha are able to collect data directly from our classes.
If you’re as excited about our LASER program as we are, you can visit http://www.las.ch/learning/educational-research to learn more!
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