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From the Talons Room: Discussion and Rebellion – Liam

February 13, 2011

Since we began our new semester two weeks ago, the Talons have been eagerly throwing themselves into the second part of the school year. We begin with Science and Socials, studying both the geography of our world and, supposedly, the Red River Rebellion.

In Science, we are doing things in a typically TALONS way – we are teaching ourselves. The grade 10s are each responsible for teaching a section of the unit they are studying, creating their own lesson plans, assignments, and quizzes, as well as actually teaching the subject itself. They say that a person learns best when teaching others, and that past few weeks have proved that true, as the students have reached a level of understanding about the subject the were teaching that they would likely not have reached otherwise. It is also a part of the TALONS dogma of leadership and autonomy – as students, this self-teaching gives us a chance to take a leading role in our own studies, as well as possibly giving us a feeling for what is like to teach a group of unruly students.

In Socials, the recent events in Egypt has given us a perfect current events backdrop for the study of the Red River Rebellion. We spent last week discussing and blogging and commenting and reflecting on the situation in Egypt and the media’s role in passing the information on to us. I won’t talk longer about what we did – I will let people’s posts speak for themselves.

Megan reflects on how the Age of Information has given people a chance to change the world, and her own role in the quickly changing landscape:

For on the other side of the world I am still sitting here, typing away on my keyboard, trying to keep up in a quickly moving world through the only way I know how. Words spill through my fingers into sentences that might be read, or might not, and form stories that might mean something, one day. It’s satisfying; in a sense. But what do I know? I am merely a child in this age of information, of stories and knowledge available at our every whim, to feed our every need, and every desire. I pour my two cents into it all, but I can see it tumble into cyberspace, and I wonder where it will end up. I wonder if it will ever end up anywhere, at all.

Sepehr’s post on how it is important to note the relative evils between different leaders, and the comment storm that grew out of it:

Mubarak and his regime are not bloodthirsty killers like Khomeini, Hitler, and Stalin! They do not murder, torture, or “effectively and systematically take steps to eliminate an entire population”(critics of Fox News) like the Nazis. As Mr. Jackson said, we can’t compare any group to the Nazis. Mubarak has shut off the Internet of the country in fear of attack from USA or other Middle Eastern countries. Guess that backfired on him. The Egyptian people are treating this situation like the Persian people in the recent Iranian revolution. The Persians tore apart their 3000-year old monarchy for a series of tyrannical Mullahs who killed in the name of God. I truly hope the Egyptians do not share the fate of the Persians.

Richard speaks about how simple economics means that the media will tell us what we want to hear:

So looking at it in a more reasonable way, as what it truly is, the responsibility of such company, is to get larger amounts of hits, viewership, and subscriptions. So, what the company’s responsibility is to tell or say to the public what the majority of the public wants to hear, see, or read about. Also, on the same side the majority of the public is about, not to present news objectively, or to challenge views, because people want to feel that their views are right. People want to be right, and that is true and prevalent in everyone, does anyone want to be wrong?

And finally, Liam writes a lengthy post on the absolute nature of truth, which leads to some heated debate in the comments section:

It is important, then, to look past the complexities of language when discovering the truth. By debating the meaning of the word ’sound’ in the tree question above, as many do when answering this question, you are missing the philosophical point – that of whether there is a reality independent of perception. If there is, it means that all questions have an answer, and that it is theoretically possible to end all arguments. If not, then everything is open to debate, and nothing is as it seems.

Then this week, we moved onto the actual Socials curriculum. As stated, we are studying the Red River Rebellion – the resistance of the Metis people, led by Louis Riel, against the Canadian government, which eventually lead to the creation of the modern-day province of Manitoba. Again, the Talons have been writing their own takes on the subject.

Veronica talks about how it got started and why the Metis felt the need to resist:

There were primarily three sides that contributed to the Red River Rebellion – the French speaking group, the Metis, the Canadian government, and the Hudson’s Bay Company.It all started when the Canadian government bought “Rupert’s Land” from the once-powerful Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869. The Bay’s sales were declining, and they probably needed the money from the Canadian government.Right after that, the Canadian government appointed an English-speaking governor for the newly-bought Rupert’s Land. The guy was named William McDougall. Alright, so before the land was officially Canada’s, McDougall decided that it would be a good idea to send out surveyors to plot the land. Yup, that’s when the Metis got mad.Wouldn’t you be irked too, if some guys just waltzed in the territory that you’ve been living in for hundreds of years? Well, the Metis probably were. They basically prevented the surveyors from coming into their land, which is totally fair in my opinion.

And Kraemer explains how the Red River Rebellion is representative of our Canadian psyche:

The people of Red River had every reason to lash out, violently against the Canadian government that was threatening them, but they didn’t. Instead, they formed their own provisional government, peacefully, so that they could negotiate properly with the government of Canada. Now, I don’t really need to point out that people have gone charging at the enemy for far fewer reasons than their freedoms being taken over. The Americans launched into bloody revolution even though they were being treated much better by the British compared to how the Canadians would have treated the “half-breeds”, natives and french-speaking people living in Red River.

This is but a small part of the wealth of the discussion the Talons have been having. They are by no means over – instead, they are just beginning. In groups, our current project is to tell the story of the Red River Rebellion in four stages of the crisis. Such vague instructions are common to us in TALONS – they’re simply what we do. We use our creativity to understand and to explain our world, in whatever way we can, whether that means through writing, music, or art.

And so ends another week of TALONS!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 13, 2011 11:20 pm

    Fantastic post, Liam! Provides some great synthesis of ideas and a window into the class’ activities and thinking that, along with Kelly’s post, I think, reveal great potential for the class blog to evolve as a means of shared reflection and narrative-construction. I’m looking forward for the blog to also provide a means of sharing some of the inspiring learning Talons conduct in Science, and Math, as well.

    Even this first week, I am really impressed with the way the blog is shaping up, in 2.0 form, and can’t wait to see it in the full swing of spring, the Adventure Trip, and in-depth.

    Keep it up!

    Mr. J

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