Denis Rancourt

Today I had the privilege of having Denis Rancourt come in and speak to one of my psychology classes about school and the education system.

Now, I’d just like to say that this man is one of great intelligence, wit, and so much other good stuff. You’ll either love him or, like the University of Ottawa, hate his guts. I’ve taken the stand to love him (nothing sexual of course).

Denis had our class engage in a very thought provoking discussion. It’s hard to do justice to what took place in that class. It was a powerful experience, moving, emotional. Not emotional in a “oh my god I’m so sad and crying” way. More in the way of “oh my god, I’m so angry with the way I’ve been treated at school”. Many students shared their experiences with the crap they’ve had to put up with during some of their courses. I’ll try to sum up a few here:

–One student wrote an English paper and received a poor grade on it. When the student went and talked to the professor, the professor told them that they did not take the right side when they wrote the paper. Basically, because the student didn’t agree with what the professor thought, they lost marks.
And on the subject of English papers…who the hell do these professors think they are? They think they know exactly what an author of the book was trying to say. Guess what, the thing the professors think the authors were trying to say, were not the things that the author was trying to say. It’s all bull shit, it’s all subjective. My interpretation of a book is just as right as yours is. You can’t tell me that I don’t feel sad when I’m crying, so what the hell gives you the right to tell me that what I think is wrong?
–Another student lost marks on an essay because the sources this student used were not the ones that the professor wanted the students to use. It is important to note here that professors never inform students what sources to use. As long as sources are used, you should be fine.

Here I’ll throw in one of my own experiences. One that has just recently happened. My Industrial and Organizational Psychology professor told us to write a “discussion paper” on a problem in the workplace that we’ve experienced and how we would fix that problem. Here’s the catch: we were to use references for any ideas that we put in the paper. My question is…what the hell kind of ideas are we supposed to cite? We’re writing about our own personal experiences. The things that happen in each workplace are different. We all have our own ideas and experiences. I understand citing these so called “theories” and “terms”, to a degree. But when does it become your own idea rather than someone else’s? I can tell you that what I wrote about was my own genuine experience. And how I defined things such as job performance were my own words. Of course, for the sake of not failing the class or being accused of plagiarism, I looked up a definition that was similar to mine and cited it, but come on…is this really how they want us to do it? If we come up with our definitions of terms, does that mean we’re plagiarizing? The whole purpose of school is to develop our own knowledge. Apparently our own knowledge is complete bull shit unless we say where we got it from.

Also, how do teachers react when students try to question them? Try to question their teaching methods and the system? In a democratic class, where students are allowed to decide on a form of teaching/evaluation, why does a teacher lose their mind and get pissed off if a student suggests something that is not the “norm”? When there is even the slightest notion that a teacher is losing control, they try to take it right back. And when a student questions them on their methods and policies…what does the teacher do? Makes them feel like shit. We’re all terrified of speaking our minds for fear of being reprimanded. For fear of receiving a zero, failing a class, being singled out. But so what if we fail a class? Is it not better to actually learn than to come out of four years of school and only remember 10% of what we studied?

Here’s a final food for thought: We pay good money to the school. What do we get back from them? I’ve had my fair share of professors who read shit off their powerpoints the whole time. And when asked a question that applies to the real world, they can’t answer it. Why are we paying these people to tell us what to do? Why are they not listening to how WE want to learn? If they want to impose their limits on us, shouldn’t they be the ones paying us?

Think about it..

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I am Just a Number

And so are you. If you’re attending a University in Ontario, you’re a number.

Do you know how professors make up their exams? Do you think they sit there and wonder “which questions will assess the real knowledge my students have gained”? Nope. Try “which questions will get my students to fail?”. Harsh. But true.

Here are more truths (from the University of Ottawa):
–you are a number. The faculty does not know your name, does not know you, doesn’t care about your university career. What do they care about? Money.
–if you fail, no one cares. Why? See above. You are just a number. You think the Dean is sitting there wondering…hey, how can I get this student to learn more, to pass all their courses, and to get a wonderful job? He’s not. What is he doing? Well to be honest I don’t know exactly what he’s doing, but it’s nothing to improve our education.

Speaking of education, what kind of education are we getting? If you’re a university student, I ask you this. Can you remember what you learned in that first year introductory psychology course? That first year English course? First year Stats, History, Philosophy course? I’m going to take a stab at this and say no. And why is this? Because we students are not being taught. We are having textbooks shoved down our throats. We are forced to memorize useless dates and facts that will never be used again.

Stop for a second, actually about 10 minutes, and think…what have I actually learned? Were the valuable lessons you learned in university learned in the classroom? Or were they learned within your social lives? Is all that money you spend worth it? Is it worth paying $6k per year (maybe more if you’re taking summer courses) to receive a piece of paper that says “hey, this kid read a bunch of books and found out how to do well on multiple choice exams! Bravo! Give him (or her) a job!”. Just think. Think about how you’re school treats you. If you fail, will anyone care? If you struggle, will someone reach out to you? When you’re sitting in a lecture are you learning anything? Besides how to stay awake?

Just think…(something schools don’t want you to do…)

Invisalign: Tray 7

Yep, it’s tray 7! I’m almost into the double digits! Surprisingly, this tray hurt like a B***H when i first put it in! Not quite sure why. Oh well, it only last a day. Only 21 more trays to go! Yep still sounds like a lot.

I can’t say there are any more noticeable changes besides that space at my back teeth. I don’t really think I’ll see any more for a while.

Oh, one thing that has changed is my consciousness of the aligners. I actually have to check now to see if I’m wearing them. I’ve grown to not notice them, which is a good thing I suppose! But I do tend to forget to put them in right after I finish eating….oh well!

Hope your process is going faster than mine!

Happy Smiles =)

Pearl Harbor (2001)

Since I’ve been here at school, studying away like a sucker, I haven’t been able to get out and about to see any new movies. I have however, been able to watch movies I have. So today, I will review Pearl Harbor.

I must say this movie is one of my favorites. It’s a fantastic love story, but also a wonderful tale of friendship, and let’s not forget, history. And for a movie that focuses a great deal on a love story, there is plenty of action there for the male viewers. A lot of inspiring scenes and the movie in general is heart touching.

The romance between Evelyn and Rafe is heartbreaking. The perfect couple, beautiful together, is separate by war. When Rafe’s plane is shot down into the ocean, his body is not found and he is reported dead. Danny, Rafe’s best friend, brings the new to Evelyn. Her heart is shattered and she turns to the only other person who loved Rafe as much as she did: Danny. Soon, a romance emerges there and Evelyn ends up carrying Danny’s child. Soon after Danny and Evelyn’s romance begins, Rafe makes his way back. He survived the crash, praying to God everyday that he would never leave Evelyn if he could only make it back to her. And make it back he did, sadly a little too late. As you can imagine there is turmoil between the two best friends and of course between Rafe and Evelyn. All too soon, both men are summoned to war after a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.

The ending: tragic. I will not give out details, just go and watch this movie. This one will be on the top of my playlist for a long, long time.

5 Stars out of 5!

Invisalign Tray 5: I see something different!

I don’t know if it’s good or bad. Well…I mean it’s obviously good because it means they’re working, but it doesn’t feel too good. The change? There is a noticeable space between two of my back teeth. It’s good because now there’s room to shift my teeth back and make room up front to eliminate the crowding. It’s bad because it feels weird and I’m getting more food stuck back there. Yay for flossing!

Anyway, it’s nice to see something is happening. Even if it’s not the final product! Yay invisalign!