I would like to contribute to the conversation about Norman Cornett that has recently been seen in the pages of The McGill Daily. I was fortunate to have taken two classes taught by Cornett while I was completing my undergraduate degree at McGill. He is an unparalleled pedagogue always willing to help students find their voice by engaging them with his unique dialogical method.
By bringing guests from all fields into the classroom for open conversation, Cornett created a nonjudgmental, nurturing space within which students were validated as individuals and given free reign to voice, explore, and make tangible the world of ideas.
While my time at McGill taught me many things, without Cornett, I would certainly not have had the well-rounded education that his classes ensured. It is lamentable that McGill did not recognize the value of his approach, something none of his students would hesitate to affirm. His departure from the University is certainly a loss for the student body, if not the administration.
I encourage everyone interested in what the spirit of education looks like when it finds a classroom to seek out Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary Professor Norman Cornett: “Since when do we divorce the right answer from an honest answer?”.
B.A. 2003 Joint Honours, History and Religious Studies
M.L.I.S. Archival Studies