Peer Tutoring 101 – Conclusion



This is the last blog post of my peer tutoring experience! There are a couple of people I want to thank for making this possible.


First of all…

Dear Ms. Stringer,

It has been a great privilege to work with you during the past 5 months. I’ve always appreciated how much effort and time you spend into making sure every student is your class understands the concepts and are ready to be successful on tests. Your style of teaching is very easy to follow along and you’re so genuine in everything you do, including making sure that our personal health is being taken cared of. You make the classroom such an inviting place to be in regardless if we are taking a class with you this semester.

I personally admire your ability to work with teenagers, it’s truly a wonderful gift to have.I know that sometimes we’re hard to deal with and like to think that we can’t exist without our phones. But as a peer tutor of your class, I can confidently say that your friendly reminders to keep phones in backpacks have allowed the students to focus more in class.

I can’t believe that you were taking university courses while teaching full time! It’s amazing that you have the ability to balance your work and your studies. I am striving towards balance in my life as well and look to you for motivation.

Once again, thank you so much for everything. I hope to see you around the school and I will definitely come and visit in second semester.



Jiwon Hwang

(And she will see this letter as I have handwritten it for her as well)


Second of all… to Ms. Upton for all her hard work managing all the peer tutors. I know it’s no easy feat taking time out of your lunch to for us and I’m sure everyone appreciates your efforts. I really admire your positivity and your hellos in the corridor. I hope to see you around the school next semester!


Finally, I can’t believe that half the year is already gone! I didn’t really know what to expect when I chose peer tutoring as a course, but I’m so glad that I did. I’ve learned so many skills and valuable lessons, such as leadership, being a role model, and how to help instead of tell. I will be definitely making recommendations to my friends to take this course if they have room in their schedule next year.


Au revoir till peer tutoring 12!

Peer Tutoring 101 – What Does an Everyday Job of a Peer Tutor Look Like?

What Does an Everyday Job of a Peer Tutor Look Like?

For me, at the beginning, I was very nervous to walk into the physics 11 classroom. My two biggest worries was that I was assisting a class filled with peers my age, and that I had forgotten some physics since the summer. Although I had a couple of friendly faces, a vast majority of the students were peers that I had never seen in the school before! Despite my slight anxiety, after my first day as a peer tutor passed by, I quickly realized that peer tutoring wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it has been an amazing opportunity and I’m pretty disheartened that I don’t have Ms. Stringer’s block 5 class to look forward to next semester.

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With peer tutoring, I feel like there is a slight stereotype: an easy course to receive a good mark. However on the contrary, peer tutoring in a classroom is a lot of work and I always feel that my time goes the fastest during block 5. In the next couple of paragraphs, I will be outlining the basic roles that I took on as a peer tutor in the classroom.


When I first enter the class at the beginning of the bell, the first thing that I do is to greet the students. I recognize that although I am a peer tutor and should handle myself professionally, it is equally important to connect with students further than the basic peer tutor-peer relationship. I only knew 1 or 2 faces going in to Ms. Stringer’s class but by the end, I was friends with a dozen of them! By becoming a friend, I think that it is easier for the students to ask me for help in a casual manner instead of feeling embarrassed that they need help.


Next Ms. Stringer usually enters and the class starts to work on problem of the day. Problem of the day is usually review from the day before so that the students can refresh their memory before learning a new lesson.


At this point, I’m usually walking around the class looking for hands and answering questions. When solving physics, one of the easiest things to do is to get frustrated. I know myself because I’ve been in those shoes only this past summer! This was one of my favorite ways to directly help the students because I love it when I explain or go through the steps of a physics equation for them to have an “Aha!” moment. It’s very enlightening that their frustration with physics get dissipated with a little push in the right direction.


I also ask Ms. Stringer if she needs help with anything other than to work with peers. She usually says one of the following:

  • Physics marking : usually worksheets, labs, and sometimes multiple choice on tests


  • French marking : she teaches french 9 during block 4 and I’ve taken french up to grade 11 so I can help mark workbooks, tests, and projects

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  • Handing out worksheets, class notes, lab materials, and other related materials
  • Helping students who have been away for vacation in the physics 11 and french 9 class


  • Putting work up on the hallway boards and taking work down
  • Running scantrons in the office
  • Doing little tasks : going to Mr. Bryce’s room for more worksheets, textbooks, puttline supplies back, hole punching, stapling, etc.

Another of the tasks that I regularly do is to fill water bottles. Ms. Stringer always explains lesson indepthly, so she’s always drinking water. I make regular trips to the water station with not only her water bottle, but students of the class as well!


If there were no major tasks to complete, Ms. Stringer told me that I could work on my school work. I sat at the front ofthe class near Ms. Stringer’s desk and quietly finished some work. However, if she needed something handed out to the class, I always paused immediately and helped her with the task. Sometimes, she tried to not disturb me by handing out the worksheet herself, by I always caught her before and called out to tell her that I can do it. She almost always replies with a “Oh merci beaucoup Jiwon!” and I then say, “De rien!”. Yes, we speak french in a physics 11 class.

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Obviously, one of the bigger roles that I play is to help the students who are struggling with physics. There were quite a bit of intelligent and hard-working people, however, there were many international students who struggled with the English language. I felt like they had the concepts down in their head but struggled to put it down on paper, especially when doing written word explanations. My job was to help them with basic English so that they could receive full marks.


More than the students who struggled with physics, more people needed help making sure to keep their phone in their bags. If I spotted a student who was on their phone instead of listening to the lesson, I just quietly made my way over and asked him or her to pay more attention.


Time flies in this class! When I’m helping out, I tend to not look at the clock and all of a sudden, the bell would ring for the end of the day. Sometimes, I stay back five or ten minutes to finish marking a pile of tests or workbooks because it’s awkward to have three left for Ms. Stringer to mark. After that, I’m free to go!


Voila! Here are some of the tasks that I have been taking on routinely for the past semester. It was such a pleasure to work with and help this group of students and I definitely look forward to saying hello to them in the hallway.

Peer Tutoring 101 – Goal Setting and 10 Ways to Be a Better Peer Tutor

Goal Setting and 10 Ways to Be a Better Peer Tutor


During peer tutoring, one of my major goals for the second part of the semester was to not get side-tracked when helping my friends. I found that sometimes, it’s very easy to slip along with the rest of my goofy friends. Although this is totally acceptable outside the physics classroom, inside, I should set a role model and be more professional.

As Ms. Stringer commented on my report card that I should work towards, “being a little less chatty with my friends”, I decided to focus on this  for the rest of the semester. Below are 10 ways on how I attacked my goal.

  1. Make sure to be professional! You can be chatty all you want out of the classroom but remember that once you step into your role as a peer tutor, you are there to support and help your teacher.
  2. If there’s nothing for you to do, don’t opt to chat with friends and distract them. For me, Ms. Stringer told me that I could do my own homework if she didn’t have a task for me. Use this to your advantage and do your work!
  3. Be on task! Make sure to finish all the tasks the teacher gives you before you s
  4. Don’t daze off! If you daze off, you’re more inclined to talk to those around you about not-physics-related topics.
  5. Find things to do! If there’s nothing to do, ask the teacher if there’s anything marking or tasks you can finish up for her.
  6. Don’t go on your cell phone! You’re supposed to encourage your friends and peers to put their phones away. Set a good example.  
  7. Strive for a friendly relationship with your peers! This way, they’ll be less hesitant to ask you questions or be embarrassed if they don’t know the answer.
  8. You can always ask other teachers if they need help as well. Personally, I know that I asked Mme. Udell and Mr. Udell across the hall. I marked a bunch of french tests and took down work to help them out at the end of the semester.
  9. Understand the part of the course that the class is at! A peer tutor can’t be going ahead of the class to teach material that the class hasn’t learned yet.
  10. If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess! It’s okay to ask your teacher for help and it’s way better than teaching the wrong thing.

Socials DoL 3: Halibut Treaty

Halibut Treaty… What exactly is the Halibut Treaty? The dictionary definition for the word treaty is a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries, therefore, it can be assumed that the halibut treaty is an agreement made between countries about Halibut fish. However, many people fail to inform themselves on the direct consequence and result of this event, and how it really shaped Canada’s political and economic growth. A reasonable explanation for the lack of unified Canadian identity that is evident in today’s society is due to our lack of knowledge in significant Canadian events that determine our autonomy and makes us Canadians. By delving into the Halibut Treaty, we are able to learn about one of Canada’s most prominent landmarks that transitioned Canada to a sovereign autonomous state.

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First of all, in order to look back at an event which took place nearly a century ago (95 years to be exact), it is necessary to recall the events leading up to the Halibut Treaty. In 1923, when the Halibut Treaty was negotiated and signed, Canada had an ‘independent government’ but was not fully autonomous as a nation, due to Britain’s powerful grasp that still had a huge impact in Canada’s political decisions. Britain had the right to consent, repeal, and override any of Canada’s acts, and Britain’s acts still applied to Canadians.


Section 132 of the British North American Act states:

The Parliament and Government of Canada shall have all Powers necessary or proper for performing the Obligations of Canada or of any Province thereof, as Part of the British Empire, towards Foreign Countries, arising under Treaties between the Empire and such Foreign Countries.”


This basically implies that a Britain representative will have a seat at or at the very minimum be present in any of Canada’s international treaties and foreign affairs. Canada’s international standing became almost non-existent, which was expected  considering that any meeting involving Canada had a British subject attached at the hips who had all the power to OK or veto all the conditions being negotiated. Almost all of Canada’s officials at this time grew increasingly frustrated over Britain’s control over Canadian matters, many felt that Canadian ego was threatened, and some began to take small, but noticeable actions to retaliate back.

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In Canada, the Halibut stock value was rapidly decreasing. Prior to 1921, it was in great bloom: large scale halibut fishing was big in business after the creation of the Northern Pacific Railway, which connects the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Canada allowing Halibut to be traded and sold. In World War I, fishing for Halibut was big due to the continual efforts from Canada and the United States to be on good trading terms while the war was happening. In 1915, Halibut was at an all time high of 69 million pounds! The serious decline in Halibut became concerning enough that the Canadian government sought for a way to amend the problems. Between Canada and the United States, negotiations for preserving fish stocks began around 1918. Most prominently involved was Ernest Lapointe, then Canada’s minister of Marine and Fisheries, and Charles Evan Hughes, the US Secretary of State. Although at first the discussions had no urgency, the continual decline motivated both countries to come to an agreement regarding the North Pacific, fishing grounds for both countries. In the terms of this treaty, fishing would be off season and would not be allowed between November 16 to February 15, with a seizure of penalty if terms were broken. The International Fisheries Commission was introduced to inquire about the life of a Pacific Halibut and recommend measures to preserve their presence in our oceans. On March 2nd, 1923, the final result of the treaty boiled down to the Convention for the Preservation of Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean, an historic first agreement on an international preservation of a resource. However, there is a bigger underlying theme that is arguably, more important than the treaty itself. (Will be discussed later on.)

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Halibut Treaty


Economically, this event improved Canada’s fishing industry and therefore the flow of Canada’s cash flow and economy. During this time, there was also an economic shift in trade between Canadians and international countries. Prior to the event, British was Canada’s biggest trading partner, but during this time, the US surpassed Britain. Politically, this was the first treaty that was signed without British involvement and established Canadian dominance over Canadian issues. (This idea will be developed in Historical Significance). Finally, socially, this changed Canadian mindset so that Canada is not so dependant on Britain, but rather a separate entity that can make own decisions.

Regarding this whole ordeal, we can put ourselves in the perspectives of Canadians of the early 20th century, and what they felt about the Halibut Treaty. One of Canada’s biggest industries at this time was fishing, and local business were being threatened by the lack of Halibut reaching the markets. Those who knew about the discussion of a treaty supported the government’s decision to negotiate fishing rights in the North Pacific Ocean, as the continual decline of Halibut could have negative impacts on Canada’s economy. Many also supported the government’s decision not to involve British officials. Prior to confederation, a lot of Canadians were still loyalists, and enjoyed the benefits from being under Britain’s rule, such as protection. However, after Canada’s ‘semi-independence’, the British Empire became a huge benefactor from the creation of another country. They did not have to use their resources to protect Canadians, however, still had the right to control all the regulations and bills in Canada. This brought along many concerns by Canadian Prime Ministers such as Robert Boden, and it can be assumed that their interests reflected the citizen interests at this time. After the treaty was signed, initially, the Halibut market continued to decrease while the IFC was researching and providing recommendations. However, after revisions in 1930, 1937, and 1953, and a increase of board members to six people, the market finally began to stabilize and grow. In 1959, a catch of 71.5 million pounds of Halibut finally exceeded the 1915 record of 69 million pounds. Canadians could finally feel a sense of independence, knowing that as a nation, decisions made without British involvement could still have a positive influence on Canada. 

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Historical Significance

As mentioned earlier, the Halibut Treaty affected all four quadrants of a cycle: economical, political, social, and environmental. That’s great and all, but what does this really mean in terms of Canadian identity and it’s path to becoming a fully autonomous state? This treaty seems of low importance at first, considering that it had minor impact on the US, however, it was extremely important from Canada’s perspective in terms of what this treat symbolizes beyond the simple preservation of nature.

When the negotiations were being made between Canada and the United States, the British wished to sign the treaty as they have always had. However, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King argued that this issue had nothing to do with the British Empire, therefore, a British official doesn’t need to be present. Despite fervent British resistance, King maintained his stance, even threatening to send independant representative to Washington D.C. The British Empire backed off, knowing that a request for independent representation would bypass any British authority.

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Mackenzie’s strong insistence to keep Britain out of the Halibut Treaty, was the start of proving Canada’s autonomy from the British Empire. Canada proved as a nation that it is capable of making independent decisions that shape its own future without guidance or help from Britain. Throughout accumulations of smaller steps such as the independent Canadian involvement in World War I, Prime Minister Mackenzie King successfully took the first noticeable step with the Halibut Treaty to Canadian autonomy.

For example, Prime Minister Robert Borden demanded that the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I fight as a single unit instead of a subunit under British troops. His case seems well justified; Canadian military members would want to fight for their own country, and it probably boosted Canadian moral and national pride. After the war, he continued on to fight for Canadian independence in small ways such as arguing for a Canadian representative at the Paris Peace Conference and for Canada to have its own seat at the League of Nations.

This also demonstrates national pride for Canada, and its growth over the last century from confederation to resisting against other countries trying to meddle in Canadian affairs. It proves that Canadian wants and fears can be negotiated within Canada and by a representative of Canada, and we are capable of making independent decisions that shape our own path. Although I was not present 95 years ago, this event is significant to shaping Canadian autonomy and forged the way to the Balfour Report, which states that, “all are autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate to one another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth.”


Socials Academic Controversy: Trudeau and Laurier

Is Justin Trudeau currently positioned to be Laurier’s successor?

L = Laurier T= Trudeau


Pro (things they have in common) Con (things they don’t have in common)

  • Both in favour of immigrants coming to Canada
    • Wants to increase the population: in the case of L was to cultivate the land and in the case of T is to even out the wage gap
    • Believe in equity?
    • Cares for minority groups
    • Both achieved their goals
    • L = Was in huge support of bringing immigrants to colonize Canada West and promised free land
    • T = Welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees although it was two months later than promised

Background and Culture

  • Both politicians and French Canadian
  • Catholic background
  • Similarities in education L = Law, T = Literature
  • Stressed importance of maintaining both the English and French culture

Sunny Ways

  • Both used lots of compromise to come to agreement of various conflicts
    • L = Manitoba School Question where L attempted to make the Catholics and Protestants happy
    • T= the 2015 debate where he used sunny ways and also in his platform when he was talking about positivity
  • Not very radical
  • Seeks to please everyone (ties into focusing on re-election as both set their platform on getting re-elected for the next term)

Rebuttal: T doesn’t focus on sunny ways as much as Laurier does because he sometimes makes a decision (arguable for the greater good). An example is the Pipeline issue where he didn’t really compromise with the Indigenous people.

  • Strengthening Royal Canadian Navy
    • L= create a navy in 1910 which helped Great Britain in their war
    • T = promised more ships and patrols for navy however has yet to keep his promise
  • Peacekeeping nation (keeping peace in international conflicts)
    • Being supportive country allies but not fully being involved in the issue
  • Look to long term Canadian development

Foreign Relations

  • Tried to/keeps good relation with the States
  • Independent nation
    • L = pushed for independence and Canadian Confederation
    • T = Canada is making changes to the government system
      • Senate reform
      • Not depend on Britain as much?
      • Questioning why we have a monarch
    • L = tried to encourage free trade with the US
    • T = supports NAFTA free trade agreement

  • L = was raised as a farmer (less introduced to the political scheme)
  • T = Raised in a family politicians (Pierre Trudeau)

Unity vs Diversity

  • L = tried to push for unity of all countries and strongly supported Canada’s independence
    • Style of compromise
  • L = loyalists although french born
  • T = post nationalism state
    • Advocates for diversity in a global setting

Different perspectives on society

  • L followed the ideals and views at the time: society has progressed since then and some of L’s values do not match up to T’s values
  • E.g.
    • L = raised Chinese Tax from $50 → $500
    • L = transferred Indigenous land to Western Settler Land

Focus on internal vs external threats

  • T focuses on protecting citizens internally (within Canada)
    • Social infrastructure and building on top of the essential needs of humans
  • L focuses on protecting citizens from external threats
    • Independant Navy (Navala act)

Rebuttal: Arguably, at the time L had to protect Canada to maintain its own identity. As Canada has a secure global standing currently, T can take more time into focusing on the living conditions of Canadian citizens (Pyramid)
Way of leadership compromise vs greater good

  • Although both have a certain degree of compromisation, sometime T is not all about compromise
    • E.g. For the Mountain Trans pipeline, he didn’t negotiate or compromise very much

Sources: 1.4534679

Over 800 businesses slam Trudeau government’s purchase of Trans Mountain pipeline



Dear, Sir, John A Macdonald,

Dear Sir. John. A. Macdonald,


First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your investment towards uniting the colonies.

I have written this letter to ensure my support for the upcoming confederation conferences and to convince you where I stand in this issue.

I must admit, when I first entered political matters I was quite opposed to the idea you had with the other members of the Great Coalition. I vaguely recall our confrontation in 1861, and being described as “a Tory of the old school” by Sir, which I presume implies negative connotations to the fact that I belong to “the old fossil party”, otherwise known as the Family Compact. However, I can reassure you that I do not have the so called wealth to be part of the group of people that controls most of the judicial, legislative, business, and religious powers of Upper Canada. My failure of a business and my poor success as a lawyer is enough proof of this fact. Furthermore, members of the Family Compact are heavily against democratic reform and responsible government which I clearly stand for, and which is the purpose of me writing this letter to you now.

As you may already know, in 1861, I defeated the postmaster general of your party, and was elected as an independent candidate to represent the Northumberland West in the Legislative Assembly. However, after much thought, I have decided to switch my allegiance to stand under your Macdonald and Cartier party, mainly due to one reason. I, Cockburn, pride myself on being a strong nationalist and hope to see all political parties stand under one central government which will carry out acts that benefit all the nations as a whole. This is the very reason why I empathize with your need to unite Upper, Lower and the Maritimes of Canada for economical reasons and for fear of annexation from the South. Time and time again I have reconfirmed my support for you, and the case in 1862 with my support of the proposed militia act is evidence of such. Needless to say, I am strongly for confederation as I have great faith in you, your convincing arguments, and your determination to see confederation through.

What particularly intrigued me was the rep by pop system. Although I am no means a recognized politician, and others may not see me as an individual with great conviction, I write to convince you of the validity of the rep by pop system and its accurate representation of the people’s wants and needs. Furthermore, as I immigrated to Canada at a very young age and my childhood and education has thrived in the heart of Ontario, undoubtedly, I have the citizens of Ontario in mind when pondering about the future of this new confederation. Canada West outweighs the population of that of Canada East and the Maritimes, and this could be used towards our favour when discussing new policies and laws that could benefit Canada West.

Finally, I write to you to shed some light on our recent threats from the south. As you are well aware, there is great tension that is arising between the border that separates us from the power of the south. It is in my greatest interest to see the colonies unite and raise our defenses towards their motives to annex our land through what is called the “Manifest Destiny”. America’s civil war may be dying down, but in turn, they have turned their ugly heads towards the land that we hold as our own. They may seem divided, but we must not cast this aside as weakness; their military and their soldiers could roll into our land in a matter of weeks and destroy years of culture and heritage that we have built upon our land. While other politicians have been blissfully feigning ignorance of such threats, I trust that you see the great dangers that might be soon present if we don’t take action immediately. In this, I give my full support to unite all colonies and nations as one, and to protect our people.

Although I am from a small town of Ontario, and my opinion matters least among powerful politicians, I do hope that my leap of faith towards the confederation would give you some support and confidence to follow it through.


An union of all people of all lands is long overdue.  The time is now.



James Cockburn



Indepth Post #6: Only a month away

In-depth is a month away and I’m already writing my final post of the year! With April May Juneeeee going past quickly, I accomplished many things since my last in-depth post.


First of all, I put my vision for the night of in-depth together. I changed my original idea because it would take too much time with other peers which would be hard to organize. At the start of in-depth, I wanted to present my composition live with the help of my friends in the music department. For the instruments where I couldn’t get anyone in the school, I would ask my orchestra friends to play their parts individually, record, and put together to show on the screen at in-depth. However, I quickly realized that this plan was not realistic, mainly for two reasons.


Playing orchestral compositions take a lot of fine tuning as a collective group. In VYSO, it’s hard enough trying to play the piece perfect as a group, nevertheless filming the pieces individually and trying to put them together using my computer! There would be too many components for me to handle such as rhyme, tempo, dynamics, and more. Also, this would take too much time which is not feasible with all the work on my plate currently.


Second of all, asking peers to play live would be difficult, especially because there is a limit to how much I can control the stage environment. Plus, I know that they have lots of things on their mind, and many of them said that they would want to do it, but don’t have the time to do so.

untitled <– Alternate Plan

Now, my alternate plan is to bring down the orchestral composition to a quartet level. This would work, because although I focused on orchestra composition throughout my project, composing for a quartet would be almost the same thing! I meet with my quartet every Saturday, so I could ask them easily to practice it, and record the group to showcase on in-depth. I planned on recording the composition without me in it, just the 1st and 2nd violin and cello, so that on in-depth night, while this is playing behind be, I could play my part on stage!


Progress wise, I have already created the piece to show on the night of in-depth. I had already thought of my presentation idea when creating the piece, so I just composed for a quartet instead of orchestra.


Here is the preview for it here: Only 30 seconds because I don’t want to spoil the song


quartet-composition Click the link to look at the score!

(I cut the document to only show the 30 seconds)


However, here is the whole core (Which is where everyone’s part is one page for the conductor to look at). 1 minute and a ½ is pretty lengthy, so in total, it’s about 10 pages. You can find the link to the score down below.

Indepth Night Quartet Composition Score


Get ready for some fire, indepth 2018!

Dr. Frederick Banting and His Road to Discovering the Ultimate Treatment

The autobiography non-fiction book that I am reading about Dr. Frederick Banting is titled, Breakthrough: Banting, Best, and the Race to Save Millions of Diabetics by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg.  I am currently ⅔ finished and around my book!


“Which one should I have left, sir?”

This quote seems fairly unimportant at first glance, but once I read the background behind the quote, I immediately knew that it would be on this list. This took place in one of the earlier days of Banting’s life, during his service as an army medic in World War II. Banting was operating at one of the dressing stations in Lilac Farm, when the Germans were firing furiously at, well, at about anything. Banting had been hit himself in the arm and protested heavily when his commander told him to take the stretcher ambulance. Despite his orders, when the commander relocated to another dressing station for a brief time, he had to help the incoming stream of the injured asking himself, “Is this the face I am going to walk away from?,”. The answer was always no. Seventeen hours later when the commander returned, Banting was standing exactly where he left him. When he glared at Banting, Banting looked back without fear or malice and asked, “Which one should I have left, sir?” Banting’s dedication to his fellow officers is both admirable and stubborn, almost to the point of ignorance. Although his refusal to have his wound treated right away almost got his arm amputated, it also won him the Military Cross. Although Banting looks foolish for his impulsive actions several more times in the book, it just may be this stubborn character that eventually finds him the treatment for diabetes.

This quote shows the values of Canadians in times of need; leadership, innovation, resilience, and teamwork are only a prominent few among many. All this stems from that fact that Canadians feel a sense of duty to protect what they own, and the hardships shifted our values so that many civic nations bound together in a national crisis. As a nation, many volunteered and raised up to fight for their own country during the World Wars. We have a great sense of pride in being Canadians, and Banting showed us that despite his injuries, he was willing to stay and treat more injured people. This can also be connected to modern values of our time. Canadians often project the image of ‘peacekeepers’, which can be seen as both a positive and negative light. Canadian identity is a bit wishy washy; we have many common values, but no collective national interests to protect, which is why other countries view us as separate nations in one country. However, despite this, Canadians aren’t afraid to serve their country, and defend their own when it really gets down to it.


“He [Banting] had gone from being a country farm boy to being a medical student to being a decorated officer in the Canadian army and now he found himself unemployed and in debt, casting about for direction, plagued by resentments about the past, and paralyzed with fear about the future.”

I found this quote particularly interesting because in such a short time frame, you can really see how Banting progresses. If you compare this to a chart, I would imagine that it would look like an up, down, up down. Back in this era, it was hard for country farm boys to become medical students, and similar to modern day situations, it costed hard work and a lot of money. Banting himself only managed to attend medical school in UT due to his father’s graduating gift of $1,500. When he finally completed his courses, the country was at war, and he volunteered to serve in the army. After going through all sorts of trouble there, he became a decorated officer, only to come home and realize that he had no idea what to do next. I think Banting’s experience can resonate with many people because it shows that humans are creatures of habit, and when this habit is broken, we are often at lost for what to do. The determining point is how you adjust to this situation, and whether you have enough mind strength to push past personal doubts, find your identity, and recognize your presence in the community.

This says a lot about the values of the Canadian government and how they treated veterans in the past. Back then, veterans were honoured; the city held annual parades and built war memorials, but did not honour what the soldiers really wanted. JOBS. The aftermaths of the war were shocking and many soldiers who had survived the war couldn’t get back on their feet. They often felt lost in sense of direction of their life, could not find jobs to financially stabilize themselves, and many had post traumatic stress disorder from the war. Some even turned to alcohol and drug substance users to mitigate their stress in other ways. Banting was one of the people who went from being a highly respected officer, to a mere person with income rages of 4 dollars a day. Despite fighting so hard for Canada, Banting, and many others, were cast from the country when they needed the help back. Even today, many veterans are still not getting the proper acknowledgment that is due from the government. This quote allowed me to reflect on how much the veterans did for us, and how we could be improving their lives with sufficient funding and well managed senior homes.


“Diabetus [sic] Ligate pancreatic ducts of dog. Keep dog alive till acini degenerate leave Islets. Try to isolate the internal secretion of these to relieve glycosurea [sic].”

This quote is the most prominent two lines in the entire book so far; this would become the starting point of the cure for diabetes. What particularly captured my interest is that he thought of this idea at three in the morning, half awake and with extremely loopy handwriting. The fact that this single-handedly inspired him to discover a treatment for diabetes is astonishing because it shows how he accomplished such a feat with sheer will power, determination and strength of mind. Second of all, this also shows how progressive and smart Banting must have been to think of this kind of idea on his own (although there were similar discoveries in the past, Banting did not know about them). I can connect to Banting because once I have an idea down, I will do whatever I can to make sure it gets implemented or acted upon.

At the time Banting wrote these two lines in his black notebook, he was not aware that his idea was not original. Before Banting was Lydia de Witt who described the same idea as early as 1906 (63). As recent as 1916, in Rome, a physiologist also injected dogs with a pancreatic extract that normalized their blood sugar levels. This shows how Canada was detached to the rest of the world in an international level. Banting was not aware of these discoveries because these publishments had not been translated to English and brought over to Canada at this point. Articles between Canada and other countries were not interchanged smoothly till the later 20th century, and this could have stunted our country’s progress in a great array of genres. This could also have been detrimental to the career of many researchers as credit is often given to the first published successful experiment. Banting always said, “finding the discovery is not as important as publishing the discovery,”. If Canada and other countries are moving on to the post-nationalism stage, I think it is important to keep in mind that if so, scientists could then collectively contribute to cures for diseases such as cancer, at an international level.


“I’m more interested in finding a cure for diabetes than in reading about how others have tried and failed.”

This quote pertains to the conversation between Banting and Macleod when Banting visits his research university and proposes his idea to cure diabetes. What I found interesting is that from this quote I got two impressions of Banting. First of all, I can tell that he prides himself in being a smart person, almost to the point of arrogance. Macleod told him that many other researchers have tried similar methods, and although Banting did not know this information prior to their meeting, even after he found out, he thinks himself at a higher level then the previous researchers stating that he does not want to read the works of failed research experiments. Another impression of Banting is more positive; he knows that other people have failed, but it does not keep him doubting himself and his determination perseveres to continue searching for a cure for diabetes.

Ideas in the field of science in the early 20th century were not as advanced as that of modern day society. At this time, people valued researchers who discovered big ideas, and many scientists worked their entire lives to find little pieces of information, or mere clues that would confirm their theory. Although this is still the case in modern times, science has changed. In school we are only taught what is already known, and in most cases, aren’t given ample chances to think and connect pieces of information on our own. Science is the art of logic; many in our time believe that there is no imagining behind what is right and wrong, but if this was the case of many researchers before us, science would not have advanced. I think that Canadian values have shifted to limit ourselves to what we know and do not know, and in the case of science, this could be detrimental to our country’s progress.


“It was as if the dogs knew the importance of the work and willingly participated.”

This quote quipped my interest because Banting’s use of dogs for his experiments were morbid and terrifying. For each of Banting’s experiment, he used two dogs. One would be the donor, who would be ligated and sacrificed to supply to pancreatic extract for the second, depancreatized dog who would be the recipient. (87) Banting and his assistant Best, experimented on at least a hundred on dogs to finally see results. Going back to that issue about animals and their role in our life, this seems like a terrible but honest reflection on the kind of person Banting is, and is very controversy because he is experimenting on hundreds of dogs, to save hundreds of human lives. This changed my impression on Banting in quite the negative way and shows once again that even the most brilliant people can’t escape from mistakes in their life.

This connects to current events as well, specifically, the inquiry question that Melissa and Nicole brought up regarding animal testing. Using two dogs for every experiment, and having many experiment failed with the only result of a dead dog, needless to say, Banting and Best went through hundreds of dogs. Although some were found on the street, I think that this goes back to the conversation that many societies don’t value animals in a human’s life. The experiments were not well handled either, many of the dogs died from starvation as Banting had to minimize sugar levels, and this kind of lab setting is unseen in our time. That being said, it shows that the Canadian society has progressed enough so that this kind of lab setting cannot be administered. In modern values, we are working towards appreciating animals, only taking what’s needed and making sure experiment are approved for safe animal care.



If one works hard enough at being persistent, eventually it will create opportunities for success.  

Banting on numerous occasions, demonstrated that he was a persistent individual. For example, when others told him that he could not survive in medical school due to his lack of background in his early years, persistence allowed him to graduate and serve in the Canadian military. He was persistent in continuing medicine, so when medicals advised him to amputate his arm after he was shot by a gun, he refused and eventually gained back the use of his arm. Even when Macleod was hesitant about granting Banting the lab to carry out his research on pancreatic extracts, he fought back with hard rebuttals because he was persistent in making his experiment a success. Although persistent can sometimes be seen as foolish, it created opportunities for Banting to work with others in the same work of field, and eventually lead to Banting’s discovery of the treatment of diabetes. I can connect to Banting in many different ways because we are both people who attain the mindset that enough effort will eventually lead to success. Furthermore, like Banting, I had the desire to pursuit a career in medicine from a very young age. Since medical school is something that requires a lot of persistence, reading about Banting allowed me to understand that if I want to survive through medical school, I need to be more persistent in taking charge of my own learning and to direct my path to where I want to go.

Sir. John. A. Macdonald – Worth A Long Second Look

Mr Morris


April 20, 2018

Historical figures are often held at a higher scrutiny regarding their negative actions then positive as they affect a wider array of people’s livelihood. Recently, this sparks the debate over Canada’s first prime minister Sir John. A, Macdonald, who is receiving criticism for his promotion of the Indian act, and similar legislations, that goes against modern Canadian principles. Although some argue that Macdonald is rightfully titled as ‘Father of Confederation’ due to his resolution to unite Canada, those who call for the removal of Macdonald’s name and statue believe that his actions towards minorities, such as the Indigenous and the Chinese, are a direct insult to the multiculturalism that is prevalent in Canada today. Nevertheless, because of John A. Macdonald’s historical values that cannot be judged by contemporary mindsets and his strong effort to keep Canada a separate entity from the United States, his displays should rightfully remain in the public sphere.

Since values are determined by the wants and needs of society during a specific time period, one cannot judge Macdonald with current values, as when society progresses values change as well.  Although the Dominion of Canada had multiple misjudgements in its creation, one must note that “while Macdonald did make mistakes, so did [all] Canadians, collectively” (Gwyn). Macdonald cannot be used as a scapegoat for the thousands of other Canadians during the 1900s, who also believed that white supremacy was the fundamental basis of law, hierarchy and order in a society. Viewing Macdonald objectively as only a leader of this environment, his first priority was to Canada as a whole and to please Canadians in order to form a new thriving force. Since the majority of vote holders at the time were white, privileged men, it made sense for him to appeal to them in order to implement his big ideas. Like any other praised political leader, he was committed to the right values of society then, and worked hard to ensure that his actions reflected the people’s wants. Instead of seeing Macdonald as an obstacle to Canada’s acceptance of all ethnicities, one can view  Macdonald as a reference point of Canada’s progress and rapid changes in the Canadian zeitgeist.

Contrarily, others argue that John. A. Macdonalds’ public displays accentuate and glorify his negative values such as racism that don’t align with current Canadian values. However, Macdonald’s monuments represent moments in time that deserve appraisal from the public, most notably, his determination that kept Canada a separate nation from the United States. Macdonald was prime minister during the time labeled “Canada’s age of failure, [when] one in five Canadians left for a better life below the border” due to the poor economy (Gwyn). However, despite Liberal promise of a free-trade agreement with the United States, Macdonald’s strong resolution and vision towards Canada convinced Canadians to vote for him at the election of 1878. By keeping high tariffs, taxes paid by importers and exporters to have their products available internationally, he helped to promote the economy by forcing Canadians to buy domestic goods. Without Macdonald’s determination to prevent the free-trade agreement, Canada’s economic dependence on the United States would soon shift to a political dependence; the wealth of culture and diversity that can be seen in Canada now would have been lost. The statues of John. A. Macdonald honour his efforts in uniting Canada as an independent nation, and because this is still valid and of importance today, his figure should not be removed.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario states that the removal of Macdonald’s name from public schools is necessary for children to feel safe in their own environment, while others say that removal will prevent us from learning about Macdonald’s legacy as the father of confederation (National Post). However, when one understands that Macdonald cannot be judged with our current values, and that his determination stopped Canada from merging into the United States, it is clear the Macdonald should be a figure that remains in the public sphere. Sir. John. A. Macdonald made plenty of bad judgement calls, but just because the values of his time were different then now, hiding our past by removing his likeness isn’t helpful in the long term. As Canadians, we should be honest when looking past our history, and understand the sacrifice and efforts made to achieve Canada’s multicultural society. Similarly, while understanding Sir. John. A. Macdonald and respecting his endeavours, we can learn from his mistakes and make sure history does not repeat.


Additional Works Cited:

Press, The Canadian. “Ontario Elementary Teachers’ Union Calls for Renaming John A. Macdonald Schools.” National Post, 24 Aug. 2017,