23 Jan 2014: CINEMA POLITICA MCGILL – PROFESSOR NORMAN CORNETT: “SINCE WHEN DO WE DIVORCE THE RIGHT ANSWER FROM AN HONEST ANSWER?”

Please post your comments on the screening/discussion below.

Professor Norman Cornett

7 Responses to 23 Jan 2014: CINEMA POLITICA MCGILL – PROFESSOR NORMAN CORNETT: “SINCE WHEN DO WE DIVORCE THE RIGHT ANSWER FROM AN HONEST ANSWER?”

  1. Posted on behalf of Zahra Henry:

    I would like to thank Cinema Politica McGill for creating this forum for students, and you for taking the time to share with us your style of teaching and the true way to learn. Your documentary really changed my perspective on my purpose here at McGill, and re-instilled in me a desire to learn, not just for the sake of professional advancement, but for personal enrichment. The discussion was absolutely riveting, thought provoking, and left me with a charge to challenge what must be challenged in the name of what is fair and just. Thank you!

    I sincerely hope that the dialogue may continue.

    Yours truly,
    Zahra Henry

  2. Boy Gone Wild says:

    Dear Professor Cornett,

    It was an incredible experience to sit and wait for the Q&A after the movie screening but even more incredible was actually having a conversation with you and the rest of the learners present! Your insights were amazing. I have never felt more understood in an assembly as I was in that Q&A. But more so, I had never discussed such issues and left a room acquiring so much interdisciplinary new knowledge. I felt nervous before the dialogue started but after 30 seconds into it, those nerves turned into pure excitement. You captured my attention in a very peculiar way. I was wondering what was the key to this effect. Then you mentioned the word ‘passion’ somewhere along the conversation. That’s it! Passion is a fuel for life. I was feeling it on my skin and all around me. I was finally understood in an area of life that no professor, except one, had ever addressed. That sparked passion to listen to your words. Thank you. It gave me one more reason to keep pushing for dialogue and doing something meaningful for my life and the world.

    Hope to talk to you again soon.

  3. JN says:

    Dear Professor Cornett,

    What a pleasure it was to meet you yesterday!
    You made me realize that there are not one “good way” of learning, or being for that matter.
    Je me suis rendue compte hier qu’apprendre ne doit pas être un “burden” mais un plaisir, le plaisir d’être enseigner par quelqu’un de passionné et de recevoir quelque chose d’utile pour la construction de soi.
    J’espère recroiser votre chemin pour ce partage de connaissances.
    Je sais qu’hier m’a donné l’envie de poursuivre ce qui m’intéresse, et de ne pas me décourager lorsque le système académique n’est pas en accord avec ma pensée. J’ai compris hier que ma pensée devait continuer d’être nourrie, et ne devait pas être “restrained” par des règles.

    Beaucoup de choses donc!
    Je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur pour la suite, à vous et à votre famille.

  4. ZS says:

    Dear Professor Cornett,

    I’m very glad my conference yesterday ended early so I could come and watch this documentary. Just earlier that day I was talking with a friend about how angry being in school made me and how upset I was with the school system, but listening to you speak helped me find a new invigoration for learning. Yesterday morning when I woke up, I did something different from normal. I prayed a specific prayer which went like this: “God, show me what you want me to see today,” and that was all. I was shown something through you that inspired me. I love how much you care for others and
    I love your teaching style.

    Thank you.

  5. Rachel Sibbald says:

    Dear Prof. Cornett,
    I was very encouraged by your teaching style and appreciate how you dedicate your life to helping others discover the “joy of learning”. Sometimes it’s very difficult as a student in a standardized schooling system where my studying becomes automated and lifeless – I have felt like I am no longer a human being eager to discovering the world, just a student number who must complete certain requirements and have a certain opinion to be regarded as an intellectual. I remember very strongly a discouraging incident in middle school where I handed in a poem I had written with all my heart and soul and my teacher had given me 2/10 because it was “confusing” and made “no real sense”. Later I entered that poem in a national poetry contest and got runner up and when my teacher found out he still refused to change my grade. You have re-ignited in me a passion to learn about this world that I live in, to make an impact and that my individual ideas and thoughts do matter.

    Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom.

  6. Chloe says:

    Mr Cornett,
    I am Chloe from Cinema Politica McGill and here is the outline of questions that would conduct the discussion following the screening.

    1/ Questions on yourself and your experience teaching
    How did you manage to keep the students disciplined while introducing a new style of teaching that can appear to be more entertaining ?
    At first, did you get any bad/ unexpected reactions from the students? Did they respond the way you wanted them to?
    While teaching at McGill, were you aware that your unconventional methods could get you dismissed ?
    Do you have any regrets about your experience in the university ?

    2/Questions on your opinion about education.
    What does the current system of higher education lack? Which changes could be brought?
    Do you think some day classes will integrate some concept like the perspective you offered while teaching at McGill?
    How would your teaching style affect one’s behaviour as one evolve in the higher education system?

    Thank you, we are looking forward to tomorrow.

  7. policytensor says:

    Dear Professor Cornett, I am writing on behalf of StandPoints. We are very excited to see you on Thursday. Here are some questions we may fire in the Q&A.
    1. What do you think is wrong with our model of higher education? How do you think it ought to be fixed?
    2. Was it necessary to throw out the baby with the bathwater? That is, do you not think that extant teaching tools could be adapted? In retrospect, do you think you could’ve done as much good without ruffling too many feathers?
    3. Explain the “dialogic” method. Is it just a fancy name for the Socratic method?
    4. Your PhD thesis was on Lionel Groulx. What did you think about him? About Quebec nationalism? Don’t you think there was a danger of ultranationalism in Quebec?
    5. Matthew Crawford, celebrating the joy of manual work in Shopclass as Soulcraft, points out that you cannot fix a motorcycle until you figure out precisely what is wrong with it. More often than not, it matters very much what the “right answer” is. Part of acquiring a good education is learning to approach external reality with clear eyes and a healthy dose of humility. Don’t you think that replacing the ‘right answer’ by an ‘honest answer’ undermines this essential aspect of learning?

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