Developing Minds 2019


Dr. Deanna Reder 

Reading the Indigenous Archive

Deanna Reder (Cree-Métis) is Associate Professor in the Departments of First Nations Studies and English, where she teaches courses in Indigenous popular fiction and Canadian Indigenous literatures, especially autobiography. She is Principal Investigator, in partnership with co-applicants Dr. Margery Fee and Cherokee scholar Dr. Daniel Heath Justice of the University of British Columbia, on a five-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded project for 2015-2020 called "The People and the Text: Indigenous Writing in Northern North America up to 1992". She is a founding member of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) and served on the ILSA council from 2015-2018; currently she is co-chair, with Dr. Sam McKegney from Queen’s University, of the Indigenous Voices Awards. She also is the Series Editor for the Indigenous Studies Series at Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 

Download Dr. Reder's presentation here.

Twitter: The People and the Text Project - @peopletext1

Dr. Peter Cramer 

Rhetorical Games, Critical Writing and Composition

Peter Cramer is an Associate Professor in the Department of English. He teaches courses in writing, discourse analysis, argumentation, and the history and theory of rhetoric. His research examines how writers and speakers shape controversy and consensus in discourse. He has analyzed cases in a number of public and professional domains, and published his work in Written CommunicationArgumentationRhetoric Society QuarterlyRhetoric Review, and Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. His monograph Controversy as News Discourse was published by Springer in 2011. 


Let’s take part in a game from Roman rhetoric pedagogy to discover how it can foster "invention”, the most important and most overlooked skill of composition for critical writing skills.

Download Dr. Cramer's presentation here.

Dr. Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani

On Drake: Designing Simple Exercises to Stimulate Critical Reading

Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani is an Associate Professor in the World Literature Program within the Department of Humanities. Her teaching interests involve interconnections of literature and philosophy, with particular emphasis on the semiotics of translation. Her current research includes Goethe's conception of World Literature in light of his reading of Hafez. She also explores Nietzsche's understanding of Zoroastrianism as it appears in his notations and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.


Critical thinking challenges the mind to question, debate, contemplate, argue, and overcome obstacles. It does this by identifying and analyzing vital details to aid interpretation and judgement. In assuming ambiguity, interpretation invites the critical thinker to be a meaning-maker.
Using Drake’s “In My Feelings” as test piece, we explore a set of ten simple exercises that will get your students in the habit of thinking critically to enable deeper reading.

Download Dr. Yamini-Hamedani's presentation here.

Dr. Sean Zwagerman

"I just don't believe it": the problem of conviction, and some possible remedies

Sean Zwagerman is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, and an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.  He is interested broadly in rhetoric and writing, in the compositional relationship among the word, the self, and the world. His particular interests include the intersections of rhetorical theory and speech-act theory, the rhetoric of humour, and public outrage about plagiarism and student literacy. Forthcoming work includes contributions to a collection of essays on the rhetoric of oil and to a collection on transgressive women’s humour, as well as a book-length project using speech-act theory to define the limits of rhetoric and clarify criteria of success and failure.


What it means to have a "conviction" has changed over the centuries, from knowledge one has come to via persuasive discourse and evidence to a firm personal belief that resists persuasion and rejects evidence. We can see the latter in the refusal to believe Brett Kavanaugh's accusers, in the persistence of the belief that vaccines cause autism, and in the denial of climate change. Since convictions are resistant to persuasion and evidence, how can we engage with them in the classroom? And what current theories of meaning and practices of writing might actually be making matters worse?

Presenting together:

Dr. Joel Heng Hartse

Critical Thinking in a Second Language

Joel Hartse is a Lecturer with the Faculty of Education, and is a second language writing specialist. He teaches subjects in writing, applied linguistics, and education. His research interests include the interface between the globalization of English and internationalization of higher education, language variation in academic writing and publishing, and the role of student/instructor language ideology and metalinguistic knowledge in university writing pedagogy.


Dr. Jiang Dong

Critical Thinking in a Second Language

Jiang Dong is a lecturer at Yuanpei College, Shaoxing University, where he has been teaching English as a foreign language for eleven years. His academic interests are English language literacy and research, translation studies and intercultural communication. He is now collaborating with Dr. Joel Heng Hartse on the project of English education in the Republic of China (1912-1949). He has his works published by TESOL Press, the Journal of Liaoning Normal University, etc.


Common stereotypes about “ESL” and/or “international” students lead some teachers to assume that students whose language or national backgrounds are non-North American may face “cultural” challenges in critical thinking. Here we tackle simplistic dichotomies (ESL/native speaker, East/West, collective/individual, etc.) and offer practical suggestions on how to help students engage with critical thinking when writing in English as an additional language.

Download Critical Thinking in a Second Language here.