Confronting War’s Complexities in the Classroom

 Zainab Salbi’s reminder that there are two sides to war; a devastating film from the NFB on the aftermath of war; the psychological trauma facing many returning soldiers; an ideal classroom text to introduce war’s complexities; and the increasing global outrage against armed drones. ********** Some Compelling Films and Videos that Reveal War’s Costs   […]

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The Lifeboat

This newsletter ends with a poem by Kerry-Lee Powell. “The Lifeboat” speaks to a traumatic memory of war that haunted her father, a WWII veteran, who eventually committed suicide. In a soon to be published book of poetry, entitled Inheritance, she examines psychological trauma and the lasting effects of war and violence on those who […]

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An Introduction to Our Topic: Us and Them

Our minds categorize, our language defines and distinguishes, and our bodies are primed to fear the stranger; othering, the theme for this third issue of Inspire Solutions, comes all too naturally to us. Indeed, some psychologists suggest that as much as 80% of the population in western democracies display subtle biases against those deemed different […]

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The Language of Othering

In this article Louisa Hadley examines how language is built around the very idea of difference, and thus has the power to “other” people. Often, this is done explicitly and intentionally, but, as this essay shows through the history of the word “gay” (and with a look at Ash Beckham’s video, “It’s So Gay”), equally […]

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In the Name of Equality?

In this essay, Leila Bdeir examines the current debate over the minority Parti Quebecois’ proposal to ban the wearing of religious symbols by employees of the public sector, drawing out the division within feminism. While some view the banning of the hijab as a means to promote greater equality of the sexes, what is striking […]

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A Penny for Your Thoughts

In this personal account, Dipti Gupta discusses her struggle to respond to the bullying of her daughter and the lessons she learned along the way that reinforced her belief that “othering” needs to be confronted right away and become a regular part of our conversations in the classroom. ****** A few years ago, I was […]

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Tackling Othering In and Out of the Classroom

Many pedagogical resources exist to help us respond to othering: UnderstandingPrejudice.org offers us tools to recognize our own assumptions about difference; A Class Divided reveals the lessons of Jane Elliott’s blue eyes/brown eyes experiment; living libraries help us see the individuals within the groups we devalue; and a couple of informative videos from our 2011 […]

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Many Others

In this very personal essay, Michael Duckett reveals how his experiences with the many others he has encountered through teaching have not only broadened his perspective, but revealed a multitude of stereotypes that need to be challenged.    ****** During my decades teaching at Dawson College, I have had wonderful encounters with people of hundreds […]

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An Introduction to Our Topic: Violent Video Games

Violent video games is a topic that elicits strong emotions from both gamers and media violence activists, but remains one that resonates little in popular opinion and receives far too little attention in the classroom. The dominant view seems to be that violent video games, like other forms of entertainment violence, are for the most […]

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War Is Not a Video Game – Or Is It?

In this essay, Pat Romano examines the blurring of virtual war and real war for both civilians and soldiers, while some Dawson students look behind the façade of the games they play. ****** “(Before) the weapon comes the image. We think others to death before we invent the battle-axe or ballistic missiles with which to […]

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Addressing War Games in the Classroom: Some Useful Classroom Resources

David Leonard’s call for a pedagogy of peace; a useful conversation starter; a teacher’s guide to help students think critically “about video games that play at war”; and some useful videos.   ****** “Unsettling the Military Entertainment Complex: Video Games and a Pedagogy of Peace”  In this provocative essay, David Leonard suggests that most teachers are […]

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Violence in Another Form: Sexism in Gaming Culture

Despite the fact that women make up a significant and growing percentage of gamers, the virtual world remains dominated by men and women, when represented, are shown in some very stereotypical ways. In several provocative videos, Anita Sarkeesian examines the limited and frequently disturbing images of women in video games. ******  Several years ago, media critic Anita Sarkeesian launched Feminist […]

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An Introduction to Our Topic: Empathy

Welcome to the first issue of Dawson College’s Inspire Solutions e-newsletter. Empathy – the capacity to put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to identify with how they feel, and to understand the world from their point of view – seemed to be the ideal focus for our first issue as it is the basic capacity […]

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Can Empathy be Taught?

In this provocative essay, Greta Hofmann Nemiroff discusses how she has managed to create teaching environments conducive to the experience and expression of empathy, while expressing doubts, rooted in her experiences, that have led her to question whether empathy really can be taught. ****** Can empathy be taught? In reaction to our experience of an […]

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An Ethic of Care in Education

Julie Mooney envisions a classroom where care for both our students and ourselves creates a space where the unexpected can arise and our authentic selves can be revealed. She suggests that mindfulness meditation is a useful tool in fostering our openness to others and our world.   ****** Salzberg notes the classic definition of compassion […]

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A Posthuman Approach to Global Politics

While environmental problems are often addressed in the field of political science, the resulting harm to both humans and nature, and the interconnections between them, are often left invisible as the focus is put on the interests of states. Cynthia Martin suggests that empathy can be promoted through a shift in one’s theoretical perspective. ****** […]

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Some More Inspiring Thoughts on Empathy

Denise Brend muses on the pain and joy that empathy for one’s students can bring; Karen Ridd passionately talks about how to create a nonviolent classroom that creates the positive relationships and openness we seek; and we present a few other very accessible articles on the human potential for empathy.  ****** Empathy and the Self […]

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Some Tried and True Assignment Ideas

Some tried and true assignment ideas: Gloria Lalonde examines how a course that deals with promoting knowledge about social injustice can find space for the personal; Karen Ridd presents an experiential assignment that offers students a deeper understanding of class inequality. ******  Ensuring the personal does not get lost in our theoretical discussions A project […]

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