Review: The Pacific Crest Trail

March 19, 1998

The Pacific Crest Trail

“Wherever we go in the mountains, we find more than we seek,” said John Muir, an avid naturalist who fought for the preservation of the western wilderness because of their beauty and the relaxation he found in them.  The Pacific Crest Trail was a delight to read as I followed the author from Southern California to Northern Washington.  It took me from the roadside view I have seen blur past my eyes into the wilds and rugged topographic beauty of the Sierra Nevada range across the Mojave desert, into the bowl of Crater Lake and the icy peaks of Mount Rainier to the Canadian border.

Author and adventurer, William R. Gray, wrote this book in such a way that I felt I was experiencing along with him the wet, boulder-strewn trails, the breathtaking uplifted peaks, and the flora of the trail.  Never before have I taken much interest in extensive backpacking/hiking but being able to see the rugged mountains and serene valleys while actually experiencing the world God created has grabbed my attention.  Perhaps I shall attempt the hike myself sometime.

Gray met 87-year-old geologist, Dr. Rene Engel, who described subterranean forces of mountain building and offered this advice, “Be alert as you walk through the mountains.  You will learn much more geology from them than you will from me.”

I think Dr. Engel said it well.  For myself it is one thing to read, study, or even see pictures of the structures of the earth.  But it is a whole new dimension to feel the rough ancient volcanic rock under my feet and understand the gigantic forces God used to make the beautiful ranges Gray described.

Through the variety of ecological environments he passed, Gray, brought the pages of this book to life with descriptions of the land, the creatures and the people who have made these areas their home.  The flora which struggles to survive in the scorching heat of the Mojave Desert draws life-giving water from the porous stone which seems to soak up any moister as quickly as it falls.  This book, with its photographs and descriptive phrases, has given me a guided tour through the deserts and mountains of the Pacific Coast.  Gray described the contrasts of nature as he saw them change with each mile he passed.  The heat of the desert gradually became the freezing wind at the cap of Mount Whitney at 14,494.164 feet.

Just as John Muir said, I found more than I expected in mountains and valleys described in this book.  Not only did I learn about the topography of the Pacific Crest Trail; I learned about the forces which made the numerous ridges and volcanic cones.  I learned to take a second look at the world around me and find the natural beauty of God’s creation.  Someday, perhaps, I will follow the Pacific Crest Trail, but for now I will let this remind me to take a closer look at nature around me and remember the natural geologic stories beneath my own feet.

Sociolinguistics studies affect on practical TESL

#3 Discuss how the topics in sociolinguistics will affect your practice in TESL and other relationships.

This Sociolinguistics class covered a variety of topics, and has proven very enlightening about communication styles and political attitudes in the United States concerning language education and very practical in how to deal with communications between cultures and genders. Continue reading

Review: Keep Talking by Freiderike Klippel

Definitely a book worthy to be in the hand of every language teacher — Keep Talking by Freiderike Klippel. Klippel brings together a wonderful culmination of exercises and teaching techniques and ideas which should be practiced in many a classroom.
This book contains 123 activities all organized and categorized to be of maximum use for the teacher. For convenience, the activities are listed so a teacher can look up an activity which will fit her classroom needs specifically. There are three major headings for the activities: Questions and answers, Discussions and decisions, and Stories and scenes. Each activity is categorized by topic, language level, type of student organization needed whether from groups to individuals, amount of preparation involved, and time in minutes for the exercise to be completed.

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Review: Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact on Jupiter

Collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter Observed by the NASA Infrared telescope Facility” was written by a board of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientist as a report on their observations of the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter as observed from July 12 to August 7, 1994.

The article described how this particular telescope allows scientists to attach three different measuring and/or recording instruments to help in observations.  The scientists chose to attach a camera with a low-resolution spectrometer, an Array Camera, and a high-resolution spectrometer.  These instruments let the scientists record their findings and obtain extensive information about each impact.

The scientist took measurements of the reflection of Jupiter on its moons Io and Europa to see how much of the impacts explosions were reflected onto the moons.  According to this article little or no reflection of the impact was recorded. Continue reading

TESL: A Case Study

 

Learning about Carl Learning English

April 28, 1999

The subject of this case study is a male Vietnamese student at Oral Roberts University.  For the sake of anonymity I will refer to the subject as “Carl”.  Carl is 40 years of age and has been in the United States for 23 years although he has been studying and practicing English over a period of 26 years.  His English studies began in seventh grade while still in Vietnam.  Carl is right handed and worked very intently on the tests I asked him to take.  He seemed very systematic and patient with the material even when he did not understand part of it.  At the time of our interview, he had his watch set 10 minutes faster than real time.  Yet, despite his apparent attempt to be on schedule he arrived about that many minutes late to our meeting.  In this case study I will discuss Carl’s learning styles and strategies, his personality factors contributing to learning, and sociocultural factors involved in learning. Continue reading

Leadership Development among Navajo Youth

Michael P. Shead

Senior Paper

International Community Development

Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, Oklahoma

December 7, 1999

Part II: The Community Development Project

For part one click here

Leadership training among the Navajo men  between ages 12 and 17 in the Shiprock Agency of the Navajo Nation Reservation.

A Note From the Researcher.

A comprehensive documentation of the needs and suggested solutions for any people group would probably fill volumes.  This document is not, by any means, an attempt to address all the needs of the Navajo people but to identify specific leadership issues and present a possible solution in this area.

This project is an effort to contribute an organized leadership training program for young Navajo men.  Its purpose is to train up young leaders who know Jesus Christ as Savior and friend and who will be able, honest, and wise leaders in every area of Navajo life.  This project will take on several stages before completion: analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation and empowerment.

Michael Shead

Tulsa, 1999

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Defining Community Development

Michael P. Shead

Senior Paper

International Community Development

Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, Oklahoma

December 7, 1999

 

 Part I

Chapter 1: A definite purpose and plan

Defining Community Development

Community development is a process. Development is a long-term process of helping people to help themselves.  It is said, “Give a man a fish and you will have fed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and you will have fed him for a lifetime”.  This is the concept of community development–to empower people to care for and improve themselves.

In his book, Two Ears of Corn, Roland Bunch defined community development as “A process whereby people learn to take charge of their own lives and solve their own problems.” (1982).  It is a development of attitude as well as resources. Bunch noted that poverty is often linked directly to mental attitudes more than actual physical situations (1982).

Community development includes many different areas: agriculture, economics, literacy, hygiene, and others.  No matter what area in which the development is taking place it is important to remember that the purpose is to empower the people within their own society and culture so that changes are coming from within the culture and from the people, not merely because an outside influence is changing them.

In 1973 Dale Kietzman presented a definition of community development to the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).  He said, “Community Development is the process of helping to strengthen a community (and its leadership) so that it can resolve, through its own initiative, the problems which face it” (Yost & Yost, 1999). Continue reading

On “The Unknown Citizen”

The tomb of the unknown soldier. (Image from Wikipedia commons)

The poem, “The Unknown Citizen (To JS/07/M/378) This Marble Monument is Erected by the State”, (By Wysten Hugh Auden) is more than merely the thoughts of a reflective visitor at the grave of the Unknown Soldier.  It is a poetic comment on the state of namelessness the United States society creates for its citizens.  Wysten Hugh Auden uses sarcastic irony to comment on the binding attitude society has taken–the attitude of a society that refuses to see anything wrong with itself. Continue reading

Review: Keep Talking by Freiderike Klippel

Definitely a book worthy to be in the hand of every language teacher — Keep Talking by Freiderike Klippel.  Klippel brings together a wonderful culmination of exercises and teaching techniques and ideas which should be practiced in many a classroom.

This book contains 123 activities all organized and categorized to be of maximum use for the teacher.  For convenience, the activities are listed so a teacher can look up an activity which will fit her classroom needs specifically.  There are three major headings for the activities: Questions and answers, Discussions and decisions, and Stories and scenes. Each activity is categorized by topic, language level, type of student organization needed whether from groups to individuals, amount of preparation involved, and time in minutes for the exercise to be completed.

Obviously, Klippel did not merely throw a bunch of activities together but he systematically organized them so teachers could use them most effectively. Although this book was not intended nor should it be used as a complete lesson plan for learning it is an excellent source for a teacher to supplement into a lesson plan to add excitement, encouragement, and action for the students.

One thing I really admire about this book is the author’s emphasis on communication.  Language is communication and learning a language means learning to communicate.  Klippel emphasizes this concept by promoting the need for achieving meaningful sharing of concepts and thoughts in a natural way in the classroom. This includes interaction between the teacher and students and students to other students in meaningful questions, conversations, interviews, games, etc.

In this book Klippel wrote,

“Traditional textbook exercises –however necessary and useful they may be for pre-communicative grammar practice — do not as a rule forge a link between the learners and the foreign language in such a way thatthe learners identify with it.” (p.5)

Just as Klippel points out, I too feel that it is extremely necessary for a speaker to find an identity within there new language.  A teacher can help instill this identity and a better understanding of a language by getting beyond the basic ideas of many texts and teaching the students to express their feelings and personal ideas in the language.  Granted, the basics must be taught but by using activities like many of the ones Klippel describes the students will be able to use the basics for something productive and something they identify with.

I would suggest, however, that these works best in a second language situation where the learner is submerged within the language most of the time. But these concepts can also be used in foreign language classrooms if the teacher uses them to the advantage of the students along with other meaningful classroom practices.

In my own experiences in learning a second language, I have found that most of the exercises are not very practical in communication.  Yes, I have learned some skills in communicating in the L2 but I see the value in Klippel’s ideas because they teach how to express feelings, ideas, and more abstract thoughts than the basic information I have learned.  I want my students to get beyond the learning of a language into the learning of communication via a different medium — the medium of a second language. Continue reading

Analysis of Mr. Holland’s Opus

The movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, is a good example of how a teacher grows by learning from his own successes and failures.  Not only did he grow from the mistakes that he made at school, but also those he made at home. His experiences taught him to develop a good balance between family and career — something every teacher must  learn because teaching requires such dedication.

Mr. Holland needed a vision or idea where he wanted to lead his students.  His first day began with the usual nervousness and somewhat bewilderment that assaults anyone on a new job. However, he lacked a  long-term vision which would have given him an immediate focus and desire to dedicate himself to leading his students. Continue reading