Enjoy ‘Note’-worthy selections – and more

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Cathy Benedict is a professor in the Don Wright Faculty of Music.

Today, she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Alex Robbins for The Chronicle

I just recently read a piece in the The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, Stop Trying to Cultivate Student Leaders.

The author, Shampa Biswas, makes this incredibly powerful and nuanced point that we need to step back and interrogate the assumed good of what Biswas refers to as the “student-leadership industrial complex.” And that while this “training” can create the space for empowerment, in too many cases, the agenda of these programs reproduces systems of power and privilege.

As a teacher educator, I was drawn to this article because I am always asking students to see and enact leadership in all moments – large and small – in which one simply finds oneself with another. In other words, yes, any ‘good’ leader needs to listen, but for what purpose, and to what end. Hopefully for something beyond use value and gain.


The Peanut Butter Falcon. The Music Education students and I have a transnational research project in place that is focused on watching movies that frame teaching and learning in ways that provoke dialogue as to what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ teaching.

The Peanut Butter Falcon is a beautiful film that, while not ‘about’ teaching, presents a relationship between a young man with Down Syndrome and a man finding his way in the world in which who and what is taught to whom necessitates a rethinking of what it means to teach and learn.

So far, we have watched Dead Poets Society and will be soon watching History Boys, Half Nelson and Whiplash. Of course, we have to watch Whiplash, we are music educators! But I suspect I will add The Peanut Butter Falcon to our next year’s list.

Take Note podcast // Special to Western NewsSecond-year Don Wright Faculty of Music student Roisin Miland, Take Note podcast host


I am a huge supporter of student-based initiatives, particularly those that create the space for meaningful listening and dialogue. Roisin Miland and Orko Oyon (both second-year Music Education students) have created just such a space through their Take Note podcast. It really is worth listening to simply to hear how masterful Roisin is at listening and responding in the moment to what is being discussed. I find that even with seasoned journalists there often seems to be an unspoken agenda as to how they want the conversation to run, but Ro really facilitates a space of thinking and I love that!

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If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.