How Ontario Teachers Can Save Wente & The Globe & Mail

25 Sep

It was through clenched teeth that I read Margaret Wente’s August 2012 column “Why kids need to fail to succeed in school“. In it she interviewed Paul Tough, author of “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character” about his book and the research it is based on. Tough’s book is about the importance of character education in learning, something most educators and schools are well aware of, have been for years and make efforts to address in an overcrowded curriculum.

Wente, reactionary as always, latched on to some of Tough’s ideas and through her narrow view turned it into a polemic against children from low-income families. She went on and on about ‘grit’ and how if kids just had more ‘grit’ they could overcome their limited circumstances and learn.

Think I’m being unfair? MacLean’s had a much more balanced look at the book (only 2 mentions of grit in the whole piece) and NPR saw it as a vindication of the anti-testing movement.

Wente’s take on this was a typical, “if poor kids would just try harder” approach. It was full of the condescension of someone who is far removed from the realities of trying to learn with an empty stomach.

So it it’s been with a certain amount of Schadenfreude (not bad eh?) that I’ve been keeping up with the accusations of plagiarism levelled at Wente and the Globe & Mail’s unsuccessful efforts to handle it.

Fortunately I am kind and compassionate and willing to help. If there’s one thing that 21st Century educators know how to deal with, it is writers that copy and paste their assignments.

I therefore suggest that Wente be dealt with according to the tried and true formula used in the Ontario public school system she berates for being too soft on these sort of miscreants.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Run Wente’s columns through Turnitin or a similar service to determine the percentage of plagiarism in her writing.
  2. Have her engage in restorative justice. Meet with those she’s copied from, apologize and explain her actions (I’m willing to video stream this so that students can learn from her mistakes)
  3. Have her write the columns she has plagiarised again, this time with her own work. She won’t get full credit for it, but some credit is better than none.

Another problem solved by Ontario’s teachers. Ok, now where’s Dalton got to?

One Response to “How Ontario Teachers Can Save Wente & The Globe & Mail”

  1. nadinelumley September 27, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    aside, re the culture at G&M, throw one reporter under the bus, go to ridic lengths to save another… neocons for ya


    Jan Wong, once one of Canada’s most feared reporters, took on a powerful corporation, the Globe and Mail newspaper, which fired her after she suffered a major depressive episode. Despite the terrible toll the disease took on her, she refused to capitulate to what she deemed a wrongful dismissal.

    Eventually, she won an undisclosed cash settlement. Wong also spurned her former employer’s demand she sign a gag order.

    And this month, she exposes the sordid details of her mental-health ordeal at the Globe and Mail in a compelling and sometimes amusing new self-published book, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness.

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