viernes, 13 de diciembre de 2013

Reflection Sixteen

“I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is 
practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so 
primitive.”   John W. Gardner
What is your view of education and the future?  Do you think it will take twenty years for 
such a dramatic shift?  Do you agree with this quote or disagree?   Explain.  Post to your 

Do we look back twenty years and say this? No, in fact, we can look back to the Greeks thousands of years ago find aspects of their education that are not far removed from present practice. Of course we consider some aspects of education from previous times barbaric, but not all of it all of the time. This quote is hyperbole.

I expect that education will become less formal and more open to people in general. We can already see this happening. Websites such as coursera and udacity offer classes from universities all over the world for free and some top universities (Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley for example) offer lectures and materials to the public for free through YouTube and their respective websites.

I also expect that it will be more common for individuals to identify with what we call a life long learner. People will work in and be experts in multiple fields over the course of their lives. In general there will be a more widespread understanding science and the philosophies and the world will be a better place for it.

domingo, 8 de diciembre de 2013

Reflection Fifteen

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”  Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers was a humanist along with Maslow.  What does this quote mean to you personally and as a teacher and/or student?   Explain.  Post to your blog.

Learning how to learn is an important part of learning as well as education. Anyone who has studied more than one foreign language will note that the second was easier to learn than the first. This is because the learner has developed strategies for understanding and is more flexible concerning the new facts of the second (third) language.
Possessing the quality of an educated person, though, is much more than just knowing a large body of facts about the world. An educated person is able to apply facts about the world to a changing world and to new experiences. An educated persons person carries the tools of adaptability.

sábado, 23 de noviembre de 2013

Reflection Thirteen

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”  Sydney J. Harris
Interesting thought.  What do you think?   Explain.  Post to your blog.

I'm wasn't sure what to think so I looked around to see what other people say. Most say that the quote means that the uneducated person can only see himself/herself and his or her immediate surroundings. Whereas the educated person can see beyond the walls of his or her personal experience into the wider world. I think this is a reasonable interpretation.
I would like to see the original context and read the rest of what Mr. Harris had to say.

I found a little more of the quote. Here's some more context: Most people are mirrors reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. (
The sentences preceding the quote seem to indicate that Mr. Harris is talking about the effect that educated and uneducated people have on the world around them. It seems he wants to say that the uneducated might be followers, people who simply go with the times. If there is injustice the uneducated will not challenge it. If bigotry and jingoism are the norm they will participate. They may be easily manipulated. He seems to indicate, on the other hand, that the educated will illuminate their world. They will resist injustice, bigotry and jingoism, and they will not be easily manipulated.

lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013

Reflection Eleven

“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who 
would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”  Author 
An analogy that I really love explains that friends are like roses. They are beautiful, but 
they have thorns.  In other words it’s a give-and-take relationship.  We never know what 
path our students are on or where they have been.  It doesn’t matter.  They are in our 
garden now and an important part of it.  How do you feel about this quote?  Do you think 
that it is important to get to know your students?   Explain.  Post to your blog.

A lot of people take the thorns analogy to mean that people will hurt you if you get too close. I don't take it this way though. I take it to mean that getting close to people will inevitably end up in one's being drawn into their problems and issues and in sharing their pain. 
It is really unavoidable. As people become closer they tend to experience more empathy toward one another. People tend to care more as they become closer. Problems that might once have been ignored now have a greater emotional impact. Lives become tangled and all the little thorns that a friend was once so discrete about become shared experiences. 
In my experience, this fact is especially important in interpreting. Interpreters live a constant struggle between being trusted and being impartial. Interpreters are supposed to be trusted and to be trusted means being friendly and open. Being friendly, however, often leads to real friendship and affection which can destroy impartiality. These friendships also lead to abuse of the interpreter's roll. And the unwary interpreter becomes a confidant whose number is on speed dial. Interpreters don't get paid for bailing their clients out of jail or for taking clients' pets to be euthanized.

lunes, 4 de noviembre de 2013

Reflection Ten

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and 
Albert Einstein
One of my joys is actually seeing things click for my students.  I love those ‘aha’ 
moments when the light bulb just came on.  What do you like best about teaching?  (Or if 
not teaching, what do you like best about your favorite teachers?)  Explain.  Post to your 

I like the words art and awaken in that quote. I like best about teaching the connections that I get to make with people who I would otherwise probably not meet. I like the places that teaching has taken me and the parts of the world that it has opened to me. I also like seeing my students make progress and watching their skills develop and I like the potential opening to them of our society as they learn to speak English. 

domingo, 27 de octubre de 2013

Reflection Nine

“It is not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.”
Linda Conway
To me this is kind of reassuring.  It is like a garden, but we may never see the ‘seeds’ 
that we planted.  We nurtured them though, so they will grow later.  What do you think?  
What does this quote mean to you?  Explain.  Post to your blog.

I think it means that a part of teaching is planting the seeds of knowledge or the desire to seek knowledge. While we might find that any given student is or is not particularly motivated in our own classrooms, we might find that our influence has worked in small but persistent ways to push that person toward a thirst for knowledge and self-betterment. 
Sounds good to me. I've always found the gardner more compelling than the sergeant.

lunes, 21 de octubre de 2013

Reflection Eight

“It is impossible to teach without the courage to love, without the courage to try a thousand times before giving up.” Paulo Freire

How does this quote make you feel?  Do you agree with it?  Have you always wanted to be a teacher? Explain. Post to your blog.

I think the quote is important. Love as Pablo Freire meant it is the ability to continue to accept and respect others in spite of their failings and their failures. Students sometimes fail at the tasks that teachers set them to, but a teacher will not succeed in teaching if the teacher is unwilling to accept this and teach gently. 

Unfortunately the bureaucracies under which teachers are most often employed are as unemotional as lizards. The machine is not concerned with circumstances, or second chances. Sometimes teachers feel that their behavior should resemble that of the machine. At that point, they stop being teachers and become oppressors.

sábado, 12 de octubre de 2013

Reflection Seven

“The mediocre teacher tells; the good teacher explains; the great teacher demonstrates; the excellent teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

Sure, the ultimate is to inspire students. However, isn’t there a time and place for all these things? Aren’t each of the above important?  What do you think? Explain. Post to your blog.

Since my experience is in teaching English and in learning other languages I will speak from a language learning perspective. Language learning does not happen in the classroom. The best thing a language teacher can hope to do in the classroom is start students down the right path. Occasionally inspiration will happen to a student but I'm not convinced the teacher has anything to do with it.

From the age of 14 to the age of 21 I studied French in a traditional classroom setting. I did learn to use French somewhat but I never really spoke the language except for a brief moment while I stayed with a family in France. In spite of several years of studying French, felt lost navigating my little corner French society and I felt as if I was always missing something and as if no one really understood me. By the time I stopped studying French in college I could barely speak a word. The total failure in my attempt to learn the language was probably the result of being taught and of having grammar explained in the absence of any reason to ever put it to use. But my teacher was a great teacher. She helped me survive that period of my life between childhood and adulthood. French class was the reason I went to high school every day instead of running off and hiding somewhere. Had Madame found some way to inspire me to seek out French in books, and movies, and French speaking members of our own community I might still speak the language. (But really, that's asking a lot of her) Instead learning the language resembled piecing together a very complicated puzzle that never made a picture. 

I gave up French and took up German. I studied German for four years of college. I made my greatest advances in the language in the first year. I made a German friend, I made plans to visit Germany, and I checked out every German language movie available at Pick-a-flick. My teacher was a good teacher. He had a good repertoire of effective methods. He was enthusiastic and he had a good attitude. He gave me the foundation I needed to be successful in the language. However, I inspired myself. Over the next few years I visited Germany several times and found a job in Switzerland for one winter season. By the time I was ready to continue my university studies I was reading novels in German and speaking the language as if I were another person altogether. I entered the linguistics program at CU and I was optimistic that German would be a part of my life forever. By the time I gave up studying German (my senior year) I could barely speak a word of the language. 

So, I met a girl from Spain. Nearly a decade later I came back to my home town with enough Spanish to work as a medical interpreter and lead a weekly tertulia. Sometimes I feel like I am two people one who speaks Spanish and one who speaks English. The platitude is wrong. An excellent teacher does not inspire. A teacher cannot inspire. An excellent teacher points the way for others to find self-inspiration. My greatest language teachers are my ex-wife who lead me to Cameron de La Isla, Antonio Machado, Garcia Lorca, Juan Rulfo, Cervantes, Borjes and Almodovar. And my and ex-father-in-law who lead me to the mountains, springs and gardens of his home.

Teachers will do what they can to help their students avoid pitfalls and false paths and to help them down the right way to learning, and that's all they can really do. 

lunes, 7 de octubre de 2013

Reflection Six

“The most extraordinary thing about a really good teacher is that he or she transcends accepted educational methods.”  Margaret Mead

The funny thing about adult education is that we are finding new ways to teach adults, so the field is really open to teachers finding their way.  Do you agree or disagree with this quote? Do you feel like you have enough support or professional development to teach the way that you would like? Explain. Post to your blog.

Not this week, sorry.

lunes, 30 de septiembre de 2013

Reflection 5

“Teaching = helping someone else learn.” L. Dee Fink

How do you feel about this quote?  Why do you teach (or want to teach)?  Post to your blog.

I think this is a good perspective. A teacher should be a guide who helps the student avoid pitfalls and who helps decide where to go from any given point.  

Learning is an internal process and it starts with willingness. If the willingness and motivation burn out teaching can involve helping to rekindle the desire. If this has to have to happen every day, however...

lunes, 23 de septiembre de 2013

Reflection 4

“Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone's knowing how to bring about a
better condition of things than existed earlier.”  John Dewey
John Dewey is one the founders in the education system.  He was keen on active learning. How
do you feel about this quote?  Is it true? Explain.

This sounds reasonable. As far as I understand it I would say it is true. It seems to me that "genuine teaching" refers to teaching things that are true or teaching skills. "Condition of things" should refer, then, to the state of the world or to the state of our lives. If we learn something new then we will be able to improve our place in the world and/or to make the world a better place.

The quote might also refer to an idea that teaching involves improving on knowledge or abilities that already exist. This is probably true too since the student who comes as a blank slate does not exist. 

domingo, 15 de septiembre de 2013

Reflection 3

“The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do.” John Stuart Mill
What do you think this quote means?  Do you have high expectations for your students?

I think this quote means that if you are never pushed to the point of failure you will never achieve success. I don't think it is true. Many skills can be learned incrementally and comfortably. More important than being pushed is the possession of a burning desire for knowledge. 

In my experience with language learning, I found that Spanish came very easy. I never attended a class and I never stayed up late nights pulling my hair out trying to figure out the language. I had a burning desire to learn the language, so I did. When I could have spoken English, I spoke Spanish instead. When I could have sought out Americans or other English speakers, I avoided them instead. When I could have tuned out conversations around me, I listened in. But, I never pushed myself to the point of failure. I just learned because I wanted nothing more in the world. Spanish was the most important thing in my life at the time. I was successful in my endeavor where many are not. 

Maybe I don't have high expectations for my students. It depends on what you mean by expectations. I set high standards for their work, but I understand that they are adults. I understand that if they do not love English or writing they will only ever achieve limited success. I am there to guide not to push. I cannot make anyone want to learn, and I cannot make anyone love the subject matter. I can only guide my students down the right path. They will choose success or not. 

sábado, 7 de septiembre de 2013

Reflection 2

“A teacher affects eternity: he or she can never tell where his or her influence stops.”  Henry B. Adams

How do you feel about this quote?  Reflect on one or some of your teachers – are they still influencing you? Post to your blog.

It's true, at least in small ways. Influence is very difficult to measure, but I do feel that as a teacher I am making the world a better place.

If I teach someone to appreciate reading and writing and to feel at ease when he or she is required to read and write that person will have a better life. They will be subjected to less stress, doubt, and shame. If they have children their children will grow up in a better environment if only for the slight reduction in stress to the parent who isn't afraid to read and who isn't afraid to write.

If I teach an Arab to speak English (and I have). He will gain some understanding of who we are and will at least have one American who he appreciates. In addition that person will be better able to inform other Americans of who he is. With his new language they will establish common ground and undo all the damage done by hateful pundits and ignorant people.

If I teach an American Spanish, I will transfer to that person all the cultural wealth that many Americans assume our day laborers lack. My compatriot will appreciate the intangible riches that come from being able to enjoy two cultures and the pleasure that comes from sharing experience with people of all walks of life.

Teachers are the best hope for the future of the world. My teachers helped to create the person I am, and I recognize that I am changing people's lives. Of course there are those who teach The Lie, but even they cannot undo what we who teach skills and critical thought do. 

domingo, 1 de septiembre de 2013

Reflection 1

  1. What are your expectations for this course?
  2. What are your expectations of me (instructor)?
  3. If involved in an Adult Education Program (AEP), what would you like to learn about in this course?
1. I expect that this course will fulfill the state of Colorado Department of Education LIA requirements. In addition I expect that this course will provide me with some new knowledge and refresh my teaching practices. 

2. I expect the instructor to be knowledgeable and to provide clear instruction through a well developed curriculum.

3. I would like to learn more about what motivates my learners to stay with our programs. I would also like to learn how to help my language learners break out of stagnant ability with the language. Many students in ESL programs as well as adult English speakers learning a second language seem to hit a wall somewhere in their progression toward fluency. Of those who do hit this wall, I have seen very few overcome to achieve real fluency in their second language.  Why does this happen? Is there a way to help them overcome? These aren't necessarily adult education questions, and perhaps they have more to do with language learning in general. 

jueves, 29 de agosto de 2013

Space Escape

If we are in a space station and all the life support systems go down what five things would you bring into the escape pod?

I'm bringing nothing and if you spend more than about thirty seconds looking for your items I'm locking you out and launching myself. Besides if everything we need isn't already in the escape pod we're pretty much dead meat anyway.