Category Archives: Language

My response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism [in education] right-wing?”

Here is my response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism right-wing?“ ______________ Thank you, Michael, for a thoughtful and well-reasoned piece. Your point about conservatism as conservation is an important one: it is not connected to political beliefs or policies, just as pedagogy and political beliefs are not equivalent. Gramsci teaches us that, clearly. […]

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Choice and flexibility: some thoughts on the new curriculum

The latest drafts of the grades 10-12 English and social studies curricula and the recent announcement of BC’s new graduation requirements confirm what many secondary teachers have feared: the continued (and perhaps accelerated) slide towards a consumer-oriented education system that offers little accountability. Let’s start with the new curricula. [Because I am a secondary humanities teacher, […]

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Is a teacher’s knowledge tacit or just uncomfortable?

The following is a response to a post by Carl Hendrick, an educator who writes about education theory and practice. ………………… I enjoyed another thought-provoking and thoughtful post, Carl! In terms of tacit knowledge, however, I don’t believe that most of what we know is tacit. I think, in fact, that much of what we […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 7

After equivocating over the necessity of an Objective stance, Veyne returns to a more consistently skeptical position in “The Physical and Human Sciences: Foucault’s Programme”, the seventh chapter of Foucault: His Thought, His Character. The central question of this chapter is the degree to which Foucault is epistemologically confident in his analysis of discourse, an […]

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Albert O. Hirschman’s The Passions and the Interests

Albert O. Hirschman’s The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph is an essay as insightful and thought-provoking as it is elegant.  Hirschman’s Passions is a timeless classic that gracefully explores the intersection of economic, social and political thought, and provides a perceptive understanding of the Western world’s intellectual accommodation and […]

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Union support for the BC NDP is not the same as corporate support for the BC Liberals

A sore point for supporters of the right-wing BC Liberals is that their party seems so financially beholden to corporations. An immediate retort is that the NDP is equally beholden to unions. The NDP, in other words, is just as bad, so let’s move on.  The problem with this response is that, in British Columbia, […]

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A Review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

I have a rather equivocal opinion of  The Road. On one hand, it’s a beautifully phrased novel, full of powerful images and rich language. On the other hand, the plot is rather pedestrian, and the author’s defiance of writing conventions is tiresome. There’s no doubt that McCarthy is a gifted writer. Many passages are profoundly beautiful […]

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The Rip Van Winkle Effect: Back in the Classroom after Eight Years

Last September I knew I had to make a change, and so I took the plunge and moved back into the classroom after eight years in distance learning. I decided to leave DL because I really missed the classroom. I wanted to work face-to-face with students again, and embrace the challenges and rewards that come […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 6

I’ll be honest – I am no expert on Heidegger. So I’ll have to take Veyne’s account of Heidegger, entitled “Notwithstanding Heidegger, Man Is An Intelligent Animal” at relatively face value.  Veyne’s central aim in this chapter is to distinguish Foucault from Heidegger. Though Veyne won’t admit this, many have lumped Foucault in with the […]

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Same Coin, Two Sides: Resurrecting the Liberal Arts Ideal

There are truths on this side of the Pyranees, which are falsehoods on the other.  ~Blaise Pascal ————- Have you noticed that the same behaviour can be described in diametrically opposed ways, depending on different people’s perspectives? For example, if you were taught, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at […]

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