Category Archives: Teaching

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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There, Their and They’re – What Word Choice Says about the Chooser

Many grammatical or diction errors are easily forgiven, especially in English as it is spoken in North America. Because the countries of North America, such as Canada and United States—and less so Mexico—are largely immigrant cultures, there is a lot … Continue reading

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The Flat Earth Experience

In his The Time Machine Weena tries to throw herself in the fire because she has never seen flames before. She doesn’t know that it will burn her and that she should exercise care. She is a figure of profound … Continue reading

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Serendipity and Other People’s Hard Work: Contributing to Intellectual Society

Many years ago, when I used to build computers from found parts, installing hard drives was much more of an ordeal. You needed to look up the serial number of the hard drive in a database—if you were lucky enough … Continue reading

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The Winter Solstice and Trying to Explain the Movement of the Sun

Many years ago I found myself trying to explain the movement of the sun during the winter to a class in Victoria, British Columbia, and ever since I have been struck by how cultural knowledge can be allowed or disallowed … Continue reading

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The Best line from a Student Paper

Although I have read many great student sentences over the years, probably the most memorable one is from my student’s essay when I was teaching in the United States. One of my students was writing about Frederick Douglass, the famous … Continue reading

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How Using Academic Research is like being in an Argentinian Argument

Although many academics tacitly accept that research makes a paper stronger, they don’t exactly examine that premise. In fact, if the paper is well argued, and has evidence it has garnered from the primary text(s), other sources are superfluous. They … Continue reading

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What I Learned in Graduate School

By the time students enter university they are not limited to learning from their professors. They still find information in the classroom, and can mine the textbooks for still more, but much of the learning is done by discussing ideas … Continue reading

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Killing Kids in Books and Film

Perhaps because I teach courses about apocalyptic literature, and I’m an avid fan of end of the world stories, I have read and watched enough of the genre that I’ve noted a significant, if not disturbing trend. This is a … Continue reading

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