Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Gzowski's Voice
For three hours every morning, for 15 years, Peter Gzowski held millions of Canadians in thrall with his voice, his interviews, and his folksy charm. He even detailed, in writing and on air, the lung disease that would eventually take his life. The New York Times said of Gzowski: "In a country forever in search of its own voice, Mr. Gzowski is a stand-in for Canada, as curious as he is courteous, interested in hockey heroes and indigenous customs and all the forgotten chapters of a national history and culture that he constantly challenges his listeners to cherish and defend."
Students will research Gzowski and the role he played in defining the nation and connecting Canadians. They will use a graphic organizer to gather facts about Gzowski's work and then write an essay persuading their readers whether Gzowski should be considered the "Voice of Canada."
Students should begin by viewing "Gzowski
dies after battling lung disease" on topic Peter
Gzowski: Voice of Canada on the CBC Digital Archives website. In small groups, they discuss what the clip tells about
Gzowski and his role in defining Canada and connecting Canadians. Students then
explore the remainder of the site, particularly the clip "An outpouring of
grief", and other internet and print resources.
Have students define an argument and write an outline for their persuasive essay. They then write a rough draft and edit and proofread it, applying correctly the conventions of language usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Finally, they peer-edit one another's work, sharing their responses and providing objective and constructive suggestions for improvement.
Let students know that essays must demonstrate the characteristics of a persuasive essay:
Development of ideas
Logical formulation of ideas
Good organization of facts
Clarity and coherence
Students write and submit their final products for
assessment. Hold a class discussion and invite students to share their opinions
on Gzowski's role in defining Canada and connecting Canadians.
Adria, Marco. Peter Gzowski: An
Electric Life. Toronto: ECW Press, 1994.
Gzowski, Peter. A Peter Gzowski Reader. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2002.
---. The Private Voice: A Journal of Reflections. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988.