Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The HighLine

Click image to walk the HighLine
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The HighLine is an old railroad trestle in NYC that runs on Tenth Avenue from 30th Street down to Gansevoort Street. There is a lot of history about the area that trestle traverses. I know the area well. I used to skate at Roxy starting in late 1979 until it closed in 2007. I've been biking the Hudson River Bike path before it was built. A must stop is the very informative and user friendly bathroom. Seeing the birch branches sway in the soft wind made me think of Frost. It was a perfect day to walk the HighLine a couple of days before the cruellest month.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

English only, Really?

I am confused by mono-linguistic thinking in America. Recently a Republican presidential candidate has blundered through Puerto Rico exclaiming that English should be the dominant language of the island if it wishes to be a state. Certainly the details of this gaff have to be attributed to the English only group in America. This is so wrong headed.

As a teacher, I was so amazed when I saw my students engaging in a bilingual conversation. One student would speak in Chinese, Spanish, or another mother tongue and in English. I was so impressed with this linguistic gymnastics. I was jealous and embarrassed that I could only understand the English part of the conversation, because I'm handicapped: I'm mono-linguistic. On another occasion I took a couple of classes to see Shakespeare's "As You Like It." The production was organized by Tony Randall and Estelle Parsons. Once we were in Arden, one group spoke in Spanish, another group spoke in Chinese. The main characters spoke in English. What this immediately did was to get the attention of all of my students as well as those from other schools. They were more attentive and they laughed more at parts they didn't before. We had seen a film of the play as we read it, so they were all familiar with the play.

Why the English only speakers are wrong headed is that we need to support all languages as they will be available to defend our constitution in more languages, which makes more sense than English speaking only advocates. As we become more global, we need to be more aware of the nuances of other cultures and too often English does not have the words to help us understand a different culture and helps perpetuate the myth of the "ugly American."

Is there a connection that this same candidate suggested those who go to college snobs and home schooled his children. I see this candidate and those who support this English only agenda as isolationists and dangerous to the well being of America. It is about respect and what I hear is disrespect to other cultures from a presidential candidate and the English only crowd.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Get Kony

I'm not as concerned about Mitt's dog or contraception or even our economy as I am about Kony. We got Osama, now it is time to get Kony. Then we can move on. That our politicians are speaking about such droll and mundane topics belittles us when the like of Kony still exist in this world. We have lost our way, let getting Kony help us find ourselves and our way again.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Social Network

One morning four of us gathered to have brunch. We met at 11 AM in a lovely NYC diner. The conversation immediately began on the latest political guffaws as we settled into our seats. Our only interruption was the waiter trying to get us started. At this point all we needed was water. As the four of us chatted, we were all engaged as we spiraled from this conversation the next. What I found most interesting was how we when we were remiss in a name or fact, we were able to help each other form the clues. None of us had the technology to immediately look things up, so we had to depend on each other as we did problem solving charades to get the facts. We ordered after an hour. We moved from talking in pairs back to all four and then back to a different pair. As we picked at our meals, our waiters changed and the water kept flowing. At one point we noticed all the other patrons had changed. After we paid our bill we sat for awhile and continued our amazing conversations all without the aid of technology. When we got up to leave, we discovered it was 3 PM.

Reading "Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives" gave me pause after my own experience at brunch and I wondered how the youth would survive without technology.