Category Archives: Education

Halfway Across the Country

I have driven across Canada over fifty times, although that measurement is contested by my friend. Everyone gets cranky when they are overtired or have had a bad day, or just when someone is annoying, but when some of my … Continue reading

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My Brother’s Dinner with Andre

I have a special relationship with Louis Malle’s 1981 Hollywood cum arthouse film My Dinner with Andre. Although normally such a declaration would be followed by a revelation about how I was related to one of the actors, perhaps Wallace … Continue reading

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Travelling Without Geography

Most people around the world marvel when American television shows feature street geography quizzes and Americans cannot point to a single country on a map. The subsequent discussion usually centres around the failing American education system, the geographical ignorance that … Continue reading

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Racist Rob and Corrupt Politicians

I’d only been teaching a few years when I had a student who was so racist that I was forced to confront several of his statements in class. As anyone knows who has dealt with such behaviour, this demands a … Continue reading

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Cultural Codes Case Study – Tom Waits’ “Small Change”

Much of the interpretative work that the reader is asked to do with this short text is in reference to their knowledge of cultural codes. One of the examples I continually return to when it comes to understanding cultural coding … Continue reading

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When Plagiarism Goes Wrong

One of the ways that students plagiarize, at least when they take material from online and attempt to incorporate it into their papers, is to run a thesaurus function—such as the synonym option in MSword—on certain words. They seldom trouble … Continue reading

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Hatred of Muslims and the Latest Red Scare

I had the pleasure of growing up in North America when the reigning hatred was of communists, although most people didn’t know what a communist was and—because of weak historical understanding—only vaguely associated them with the Soviet Union. Because I … Continue reading

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Beware of the Fog in Winnipeg

I have heard the warnings associated with fog in Winnipeg nearly every year that I have lived in the city. Over that more than twenty year period, the normal weather is usually reported fairly accurately. The weather here in the … Continue reading

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Sentences from Student Papers

Although student papers are not the gold mine that some websites suggest, with anti-pedantic-teacher rhetoric and unlikely yet comical meanings, they sometimes offer thoughtful analysis and clever observations. These are a delight for the instructor, but unfortunately—and perhaps this says … Continue reading

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Maybe the Algorithms are Working Against Us

Most news, internet search, and social media platforms have optimized their offerings to suit what their viewers most frequently choose to see. That makes sense in terms of ad dollars, for they want to have a targetable demographic, but as … Continue reading

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