Available Study Groups

Study Groups will next be offered in the Fall 2021 term. 

Fall Registration Opens Only Online August 9, 2021 at 9 a.m.

Duration: September 13 – November 19, 2021

View Summer 2021 Lectures

Important

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MCLL Online

The covid-19 pandemic has presented MCLL with the challenge of transferring all its study groups and lectures to a Zoom online platform. Volunteers have worked hard to ensure that members have the technical support they need to be able to join remote Zoom sessions.

Because all study groups and lectures are currently delivered entirely online, some of you who don’t feel comfortable working with computers might be concerned about your ability to join online Zoom sessions. If you’re experiencing Zoom anxiety, please be reassured that MCLL volunteers will do everything they can to help you learn how to join a Zoom study group or a Zoom lecture. If you would like someone to phone you and help you join a practice Zoom session, please send an email request to caring.mcll [at] gmail.com.

 

Refund Policy

In recognition of the fact that some members might try an online study group and find the experience unsatisfactory or decide to withdraw from a study group for other reasons, MCLL has made it easier for you to ask for your money back. If, after the first two sessions of your study group(s), you do not want to continue with any of them and would like your money back, you can receive a full refund of your membership fee. The deadline for requesting this refund is the beginning of the third week of your session.

 

Study Group Topics

ART / ARCHITECTURE

YCMS 083 Variety of Visual Creative Activities

Moderators: Romano DeSantis | romano.desantis [at] polymtl.ca
Giovanna DeSantis | giodesantis [at] videotron.ca
Time: Tuesday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 17

For those who are passionate about visual creative activities and love to share their passion with others, this study group offers a show-and-tell experience — for new participants and multiple repeaters, for beginners as well as mature artists. Activities include drawing, painting, photography, sculpting, architecture, ceramics, jewelry, wood working and textile art. Elements to be shared include characterization of the activity, objectives, techniques, personal evolution, social context, successes and failures. Display of personal artwork is strongly encouraged.

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YCMS 318 Edward Maxwell, Architect: Works of a Master

Moderator: Michael Moore | mxm [at] michaelmoore.studio
Time: Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Edward Maxwell, renowned Montréal architect, who shaped so much of Montréal’s legacy heritage of fine buildings, will be the focus of this presentation. A comprehensive overview, which includes the Birks building, the Meredith house and other legacy buildings, will lead into an intimate journey through the Lafleur Estate, still very much ‘alive’ in St Lazare – the last residence designed in Quebec before his death. This series will also include the works and influence of his brother and partner, William Maxwell. McGill owns some of the more important Maxwell buildings.

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YCMS 319 Master Painters and Common Themes

Moderator: Wendela Stier | wen.la.stier [at] gmail.com
Time: Wednesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting October 20
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 47

There was a shift from religious to secular subjects in painting after the Reformation. We will look at some iconic works and discuss their masters, ideas and influences. The focus will be on a few Dutch, Spanish and French artists.

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CREATIVE WRITING

YCMS 320 Comedy Writing

Moderator: Jean Carrière | jean.e.carriere [at] outlook.com
Time: Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator / Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

You have a sense of humor. You wish to write or tell stories that make people laugh. This study group is for you. We will NOT be analysing humor; we leave that to scholars. We WILL examine various formulae that make people laugh and through a number of exercises (Oh God! Homework) apply the principles to short texts to be read aloud to the group.

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YCMS 249 Creative Writing Workshop

Moderators: Debbie Mercier | debbie.mercier [at] mcgill.ca
Roz Paris | rozparis [at] hotmail.com
Time: Monday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group |Workshop
Maximum Number of Participants: 8

As a novice or experienced writer, you want to refine your work through feedback and coaching in a small group of eight writers. Every second week, you will submit your fiction or non-fiction writing (up to 1,500 words) via e-mail, at least two days prior to the workshop. You will read your draft aloud, followed by a group discussion with the goal to enhance your writing. All participants must be willing to participate in a positive, supportive exchange and be ready to receive thoughtful, diplomatic feedback from other MCLL writers.

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CULTURAL STUDIES

YCMS 047 Inside The New Yorker

Moderator: Kay Palkhivala | kaypalkhivala [at] gmail.com
Time: Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Discussion Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 24

Study group sessions consist of two discussions on topics taken from The New Yorker magazine: a topical issue, usually an article, and a short story. The articles and stories are chosen by study group members from the current or past issues. To ensure meaningful contributions, study group members are expected to arrive prepared to participate in all discussions. Anticipate one to two hours’ reading prior to each meeting. Reading assignments and discussion questions are posted on the online schedule in Google Docs. Note that participants in the study group must have a subscription to The New Yorker magazine. Low-cost digital subscriptions are available: subscribe.condenastdigital.com.

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YCMS 079 Drama for Fun

Moderator: Freda Segal | fsegal10 [at] gmail.com
Time: Monday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Workshop
Maximum Number of Participants: 10

Drama for Fun is a workshop that promotes socialization, improves creativity, and induces laughter — a perfect remedy for our times. Come and witness the creativity that can be unleashed when thespians get together via Zoom to create online drama.

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YCMS 321 Ten Great Museums

Moderator: Raymond Stern | rstern [at] quex.ca
Time: Monday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting October 18
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 65

Starting with the history of museums and galleries, we go into a discussion of the political and cultural ideals that underpin these institutions. Then we go through my selection of ten great museums/galleries in the world. We will examine the origin and design of these museums, and then delve into details of some of the artifacts and art for which they are famous. In conclusion, we will consider some of the future challenges facing museums and galleries. This presentation will be illustrated with 400 images.

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YCMS 322 The Celebrity Culture

Moderator: John Wolforth | j.wolforth [at] mcgill.ca
Time: Thursday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 25

What is it that makes a celebrity? We shall examine critically the concept of modern celebrity: why some talented (and even some untalented) individuals are celebrities and others are not. Short presentations will be invited on celebrity actors and directors (both stage and film), musicians and musical groups, artists, writers, politicians, scientists, criminals, religious preachers, and even “people who are famous for being famous”. All registering for this study group will be expected to give at least two very short talks on some aspect of the topic.

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ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY

YCMS 323 Should Unelected Global Tycoons Solve Social Problems?

Moderator: Nadia Alexan | Nadia.alexan [at] videotron.ca
Time: Wednesday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 47

We will explore the book by New York Times best-selling author, Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. This is a groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve.

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YCMS 251 Alberta and Québec: Similarities and Differences v.4

Moderators: Brian Webber (MCLL) | saican [at] icloud.com
Ron Foyer (CALL) | ron-foyer [at] shaw.ca
Time: Tuesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, every other week, starting September 21
Study Group Style: Discussion Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 10 from MCLL

Alberta and Quebec seem to have many differences. What are the reasons for this, how can they be better understood, and can one province learn from the experience of the other? This study group will bring together participants from the Calgary Association for Lifelong Learning (CALL) and from MCLL to learn about the forces behind issues of concern in our respective provinces, particularly those of diversity, inequality and political discontent. But we will also look at factors that can unite including travel and music. Participants will be expected to research materials for discussion.

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YCMS 324 Is Capitalism Dead?

Moderator: Sidney Rosen | esrosen [at] bell.net
Time: Monday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator / Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 25

This study group will address the following questions: What is Capitalism? How does it work? Are there different forms of Capitalism? Is it fair? What is the connection to Globalization? Is Capitalism dead? This is not intended to be a heavy analysis of the subject, but rather a collegial discussion of currents running through society.

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YCMS 325 Africa's Development Opportunities: An Intergenerational Learning Initiative

Moderators: Nii Addy | nii.addy [at] mcgill.ca
Brian Webber | saican [at] icloud.com
Time: Wednesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator / Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 14 from MCLL

Development challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa should concern us all. MCLL study group participants will join students, McGill faculty members and other change-makers from McGill partner organizations involved with African development. Together we will reflect on lessons from prior approaches and learn about research and entrepreneurship initiatives that can contribute to strengthened economic and social development. One focus will be McGill's outreach collaborations in a number of African countries, both Anglophone and Francophone. There will also be opportunities to develop mentorship around participants’ projects that will have an impact in Africa.

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HEALTH

YCMS 276 Aging Women and Health

Moderator: Leora Birnbaum | leorabirnbaum [at] hotmail.com
Time: Monday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting September 13
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 47

This study group will review health issues that relate to aging in women including osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. The importance of regular exercise, healthy nutrition, and socialization will be emphasized. This study group has been previously offered.

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HISTORY

YCMS 326 The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Making of Canada

Moderator: Ruth Allan Rigby | ruthrigby14A [at] videotron.ca
Time: Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 30

Following-up on my recent lecture on the Hudson Bay Company (HBC), this study group expands on this era from a postcolonial approach. Topics may include a First Nations perspective on the first European contact, the English/French rivalry in the struggle for colonization, Confederation, the settlement of Western Canada and the era of numbered treaties.

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YCMS 280 Prelude to Downton Abbey: A History of the English Stately House

Moderator: Belinda Beaton | belinda.beaton2 [at] gmail.com
Time: Wednesday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 28

Downton Abbey’s reflection of glittering stately house life with its social divide actually shows the twilight of a way of life. The evolution of the great house over several centuries, from fortified castles and manors to classically-proportioned palaces where women assumed more prominent roles, is a colourful chapter from Western civilization. This study group has been previously offered.

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YCMS 327 North America: The Impact of Immigration

Moderator: Peter Berry | dukemorrill2004 [at] yahoo.ca
Time: Tuesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 24

Immigration and internal migration have contributed to the making of the U.S.A. and also to the evolution of Canadian and Mexican society. We will look at why people left and are still leaving their native land and the challenges to be overcome during the passage to a place where ‘the streets are paved with gold.’ We will study the struggle to adapt to a strange and often hostile environment and the achievements and failures of subsequent generations. Throughout the study group, we will look at how and why the established population responded to the newcomers.

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YCMS 328 Wilhelmine Madness

Moderator: John Felvinci | jfelvinci [at] sympatico.ca
Time: Tuesday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 26

This is the third of six study groups examining the politics and culture in major countries in the pre-First War period. The countries covered are the UK, France, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia, and the USA. The reign of Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany started in 1888 and ended at the end of the First World War, in 1918. We will follow the external and domestic politics of Germany from 1890 to 1914 and survey the vibrant culture, encompassing literature, music, the arts, theatre, architecture, and science.

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YCMS 329 The Age of Empire

Moderator: Colin Hudson | colin.hudson [at] sympatico.ca
Time: Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Following last year’s Transformation of Europe (1848-1871) we will study the period of European history (1872-1910). These years encompassed the second industrial revolution, broad economic growth and rising living standards, but also growing inequality, the rise of organized labour, the Balkan wars and the Congress of Berlin, and the scramble for colonies. Culturally this was La Belle Époque, which will be the topic for the winter term. As usual, members registering for this group commit to making a presentation.

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YCMS 330 Seen but Not Seen

Moderator: Lorne Huston | lhuston137 [at] gmail.com
Time: Thursday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Discussion Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 6 from MCLL

This will be a pan-Canadian study group devoted to reading and discussing the book Seen but Not Seen by Don Smith. It is a fascinating history of the systemic blindness on the part of Canadians who sought to understand the plight of indigenous peoples in Canada. Perceptions have varied over time and place. Dr. Smith approaches his subject biographically, documenting the thinking of sixteen influential Canadians over 130 years (1840-1970), including John A. Macdonald, George Grant and Emily Carr. MCLL members will be joined by lifelong learners from Ontario, Alberta and BC.

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YCMS 308 Rogues’ Gallery

Moderator: Howard King | Hrk2thyme [at] gmail.com
Time: Wednesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting September 15
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

A Rogues’ Gallery is defined as a police collection of mug shots. Participants will be given a list of rogues throughout history. They may be super criminals, spies, crooked politicians, etc. Participants will be asked to do presentations on either someone from the list or their own favourite scoundrel. Maybe there is a figure in history who may be either a bad or good person, depending upon who wrote the book? You will be challenged to find something positive or good in your rogue.

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YCMS 285 Assassination in History

Moderators: Frank Nicholson |  fnicholson [at] rogers.com
Roger Humphrey | rth201002 [at] yahoo.ca
Time: Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 15

On learning of the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, Benjamin Disraeli told the British House of Commons, “Assassination has never changed the history of the world.” Was Disraeli right? This group will study the role that assassinations have played as an instrument of political change from ancient times to today. Each participant will research, prepare and make a 25-minute presentation on the context, target, perpetrator, motive, method and consequences of an assassination they select. Presentations will be followed by discussion. This is a repeat of a study group offered in Fall 2020.

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YCMS 239 Ancient Worlds: Key Turning Points

Moderator: Robert Winters | robertwinters [at] videotron.ca
Time: Monday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator / Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 23

What draws us to learn about ancient civilizations and how their peoples lived? What can we learn from recent research into how they thought and what they believed? Discussion will be stimulated by presentations and videos that help us explore key turning points that changed the course of history. We will look at ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean and Asia, including in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. We will also look at colourful lives of Roman emperors and see how research breakthroughs are shedding new light on the ancient world. Participants are encouraged to do presentations.

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LITERATURE

YCMS 331 The Iliad – the Fitzgerald translation

Moderator: Richard Lock | richardhlock [at] sympatico.ca
Time: Thursday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 25

It is very likely that The Iliad was read aloud by professional reciters. Sometimes a favourite scene was included as part of a dramatic event in a theatre, or the whole poem was recited over a period of several days. As with other texts – recently with The Decameron – we will take it in turns to read this masterpiece, with plenty of time for discussion.

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YCMS 290 The Prairies and Quebec Through Their Literature

Moderators: John Oster (MCLL) | osterjto [at] gmail.com
Sandra Ens (CALL) | sandraens22 [at] gmail.com
Time: Tuesday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, every other week, starting September 14
Study Group Style: Discussion Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 10 from MCLL

A collaborative effort between the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL) and MCLL, this discussion group provides participants with an opportunity to increase, through novels, their appreciation of two distinctive places—the Canadian Prairies and Quebec. The four novels to be discussed offer insight into similarities and differences in history and culture between the two regions. The novels are Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel, Gabrielle Roy's Bonheur d'occasion/Tin Flute, Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Englishman's Boy, and Mordecai Richler's Barney's Version.

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YCMS 332 Shakespeare: Scenes from History

Moderator: Clifford Parr | clifford.parr [at] sympatico.ca
Time: Monday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Discussion Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 24

In this session, we will be watching together and discussing a selection of scenes from Shakespeare’s history plays. We will make comparisons between productions as well as looking at how they illustrate Shakespeare’s ideas about historical events. The scenes will be taken from live productions done both at the Globe Theatre and at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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MUSIC

YCMS 333 Classical Voices

Moderator: Averill Craig | ak.craig [at] sympatico.ca
Time: Tuesday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting September 14
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 24

Using examples selected by Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as well as additional material, we will explore some of the great voices of the last 100 years through the prism of classical voice types - soprano, tenor, mezzo-soprano, counter-tenor, baritone, bass. We will also compare some different types of voices within the broader categories (e.g. Lyric or Dramatic Sopranos; Lyric or Heldentenors). If there is time we may also compare how two different artists of the same voice type interpret the same well-known aria.

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YCMS 334 Beethoven’s Symphonies: The Extended Year of Beethoven, Part 3

Moderators: Philip Ehrensaft | metro845 [at] philipehrensaft.com
Rick Jones | rickjones205 [at] yahoo.com
Time: Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 10 weeks
Study Group Style: Moderator Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 98

The year 2020 was the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. COVID put a massive dent in the celebration plans, so the Year of Beethoven is extended through 2021. In previous semesters, we discussed Dr. Robert Greenberg’s video courses on Beethoven’s string quartets and piano sonatas. This semester we move to Greenberg’s lectures on Beethoven’s Symphonies, revolutionary music which catalyzed the new Romantic era in classical music, and the nineteenth century view that music is the ultimate form of expressing the human spirit. We will conclude with the importance of Beethoven to the global musical culture

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SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

YCMS 335 To DRAW Inspiration from the Weather: From Data to Research to a Narrative Voice

Moderators: Gordon Burr | Gordon.Burr [at] mcgill.ca
Rachel Black | Rachel.Black [at] mail.mcgill.ca
Time: Thursday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, every other week, starting September 16
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 25

This study group will make a valuable contribution to the research on climate change to an online archive and use this personal research to re-create in a narrative form the weather on a Montreal day and link this to other events of interest to the group on that day to produce a blog post. Participants will learn how to transcribe old handwritten documents, how to analyse scientific data, how to conduct archival research, and how to present this information to the general public (such as through presentations, blog posts, social media, etc.), using the Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW) project as a case study.

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YCMS 336 Canada and Peaceful Nuclear Energy

Moderator: Rameshwar Choubey | ram_choubey [at] hotmail.com
Time: Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Duration: 5 weeks, starting September 16
Study Group Style: Moderator / Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 15

Canada has pioneered in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes such as electrical power and medical isotopes. With its long history of nuclear R&D dating back with McGill’s physics professor Rutherford (1898-1907), establishment of Montreal Laboratory (1942) and Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories, Canada developed a unique CANDU reactor technology, with nuclear power plants supplying base-load power since 1968. Participants may discuss future prospects of reliable, greenhouse-gas-emission-free nuclear and other power sources - hydro-electric, wind and solar and also Canada’s prominence in uranium mineral resources and medical isotopes production.

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WORKSHOPS

YCMS 337 Parlons Français – For the Joy of It

Moderators: Michèle Dupont | mdupont2013 [at] gmail.com
Lorne Huston | lhuston137 [at] gmail.com
Time: Monday, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Duration: 10 weeks, starting September 20
Study Group Style: Participant Presentation Group
Maximum Number of Participants: 9 from MCLL

This workshop is for people who want to improve their conversational French. It is meant for “Advanced beginners” or Intermediate speakers of French, but it is not a French course, per se. The moderator will provide a basic structure for discussions in French about life and culture in Quebec. There will be a maximum of eight participants in this workshop plus the moderators. Michèle Dupont comes to us from Projet Changement, a community group working with the +55 demographic on the Plateau. In return, an MCLL member is leading an English-language workshop for their members. We hope that the two groups may be able to organize one or two outings together during the semester.

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