Latest Musings
  • Adult ESOL teachers are a rare breed...perspicacious, systematic, buoyant, resilient and coalescent.(Okay, sure-- they were prompted with those choices...but they could have chosen not to vote. Did I mention that adult ESOL teachers are also very supportive? ) Over the course of five 1/2 hours these teachers committed themselves to sit in a windowless--and at times airless--room, working on ways to integrate the College and Career readiness Standards at the very beginning level of ESOL.  (Beginn... View Large
  • Years and years and years ago, (22 to be exact), Norma Shapiro and I wanted to create videos based on the pictures in the *New* Oxford Picture Dictionary.  Our vision was of  OPD pictures dissolving into live action scenes that would engage learners and demonstrate the OPD vocabulary in use. At the time, the New York office of Oxford University Press (American English Language Teaching) was not in a media frame of mind. (Roy Gilbert, head of OUP-AMELT at the time, did like the dialog balloons we... View Large
  • After 23 years of TESOLing, I feel as though I can speak with some authority when I say that Portland knows how to do a conference! The giant poppy sculptures hanging from the convention center hallways, the laptop lounges, the compostable coffee cups (with coffee that tasted much better than compost), the reassigned men's to women's restrooms (well that was a little tricky...) and a classy cocktail lounge right on site. All attendees received free light rail passes and I haven't even men... View Large
  • (Note: I do recognize that one post every 7 months is not the idea blogging time frame. And I promise to share some of the adventures that have kept me distracted since March. But let's start with this past week's ACE conference in Orlando Florida.)The ACE Adult Education conference is always a wonderful gathering of passionate and committed adult education professionals invested in their learners and seeking out the instructional strategies that would best serve their learners' needs. Having ... View Large
  • TESOLing 03/23/2013
    What happens when 200+ people show up at a workshop you feel certain will attract 50? You have four times more fun!  Lori (Howard) and I had a great time working with teachers, teacher-educators, students and other equally-important-but-unidentified participants at our Paired Reading session today. At one point- which I so wish I had on film--everyone in the room demonstrated the positive nature of "leaning forward" because I asked them to. (With great power comes great responsibility...)The day... View Large
  • Tomorrow the skies of the southwest (and the airline that bears their name) will transport me to TESOL 2013 in Dallas.  I am looking forward to the flight because:1) I leave from our quiet, local airport in Burbank;2) there's a short layover in Las Vegas, where the possibility of winning a small fortune at the video poker slots always lurks in the back of my mind; and3) althought the total travel time is the same as going direct to NYC (6 hrs!), the time difference once I'm there is two hours ra... View Large
  • I know it's absurd, but I feel like running around distributing politically incorrect chocolate cigars to complete strangers. (Bwhahahaha....My chance to give candy to strangers!)Absurd or not, there's a real sense of joy (and relief) at having a website up and running. I should probably knock wood as I type that.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Yiddish verbal equivalent of knocking wood ---no, not spitting, if that were a verbal equivalent it would have to be the cartoon ex... View Large
  • Fat Tuesday was not a part of my upbringing, but the spirit of letting "les bon temps" roll was certainly something my parents encouraged--our version was a saucepan and wooden spoon parade around the house while singing "We are marching to Pretoria." Even now, when I feel especially festive, I let my inner 6-year old hum those two lines. (I only just found out that there are lyrics beyond "We are marching to Pretoria-Pretoria-Pretoria. We are marching to Pretoria-Pre-tory-ory-AH!"  Thank you Wi... View Large
  • (That was exhausting... now I must go have a little lie down.)  It is probably not news to you that many famous authors wrote from bed. Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, Colette, and Mark Twain could all complete their fortune cookies with "between the sheets."  And there just have to be at least five blog posts about writing in bed. (I checked...there are.) However, writing on a laptop, with pillows propped up around me is NOT the subject of this post. It's the "little lie down" on which I'd li... View Large
  • Week 2 begins! 02/20/2012
    I actually saw some of Singapore F2F rather than from inside a taxi! Sunday started out with a luxurious sleep in to 8 a.m. and then a morning observation on the north side of the city. I set out with Joan (Polster), the head of the Workplace Literacy Centre in the Institute for Adult Learning around 10, only to arrive on site at 10:30 and see a big closed sign on the mosque's community center door. Undaunted, we found the class in the back and sat for an hour as the trainer worked with students... View Large
  • Today is Sunday and as I head into week 2 of my Singapore adventure, I realize that daily blogging is probably a tad unrealistic. For the last four days I've been traveling all over the city observing classes, meeting with Workforce Development Agency's General Skill Development Division (WDA-GSDD) managers, getting my employment pass and giving workshops. In addition to my daily bus rides back and forth to the Institute for Learning offices, I have taken more than 25 taxi rides. I like the blue... View Large
  • Day Two: Jet Lag 02/14/2012
    Here's how it started. And it looked just that blurry.There was a Skype call with my beloved at 6 a.m., followed by a little killing spree of these guys:I did try to give them a fighting chance by gently gathering up as many as I could, opening up the casement window and flinging them out the window. Ants fly right?Then there was a period of intense self-medication:Sadly, Singapore Starbucks does not have Light Fraps, so I started my day with the equivalent of a mocha milkshake and tried to ame... View Large
  • When I arrived in Singapore at 3:30 a.m. today--it was still yesterday for all the people I love. I have to believe in time travel, because I just did it. I also believe in air conditioning. I love it. I will reduce my carbon footprint in every way I can--but please God don't take away air conditioning...As a woman of a certain age, the weather in Singapore is brutal-and the air conditioning is glorious. (I had been told that all the women wear pashminas or fleece jackets in offices in orde... View Large