Thursday, May 29, 2008

First wife, second wife, third wife...

From National Public Radio's All things Considered...An engaging story about Muslim polygamy in America. The story looks at this religious and cultural practice among immigrants--mostly African--who know it is not allowed in the U.S., but for a variety of practical and personal reasons, continue to live in plural marriage.

Several in-home tutors have inquired about this topic after realizing that his or her student was one of several wives sharing a husband. Yes, the practice does continue after families resettle in the United States. To find out why and what the women think about it, check out the NPR story by clicking here. The story is available in text format or click the icon on the page to listen.

The New York Times ran a story about African immigrant polygamists last year. You can read it online here.

What you don't know about your brain

When you attended training to be a volunteer in this program, there was a brief discussion about the mechanics of the brain as they relate to learning. There is a new book out--for the layperson, not the medical professional--about understanding the brain's function. The book, which takes you on a guided tour of your brain, also debunks some popular myths about brain function (the 10% rule, for example). Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wong was reviewed on National Public Radio earlier this week.

For a glimpse at some of the brain facts you probably didn't know, listen to the NPR interview by clicking here. It is just under four minutes long and well worth your time. If you're not inclined to listen to the authors' interview, at least munch on this very relevant bit of information that wraps up the story: "Two study sessions with a break between them is twice as effective as a single study session of the same total length."

For the Job Hunters...

Spring Institute is seeking an enthusiastic and outgoing person willing to become “the keeper of the details” and help coordinate their Community ESL program. Please see the attached job announcement for Community ESL Program Coordinator & Lead Teacher at Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning.

This position is directly available. Please send targeted resume by June 13, 2008 to: Chris Tombari, Director of Language Services (1610 Emerson Street, Denver, Colorado 80218;; Tel: 303-863-0188; Fax: 303-863-0178).

For the job description, please click here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Catching up--in Karen!

If you are working with a Karen student from Burma, there are some materials available online that may be of interest to you. These books, dictionaries and newsletters are all downloadable--most are free. Almost everything is in Karen; few things have been translated. (The Karen Proverbs book has been translated and it is a lot of fun!).

There is a selection of articles and short publications for adults, as well as a collection of children's stories and newsletters. You won't understand it, but if your student has been itching to read something in her own language--or wishing her kids could--this is the place you've been looking for.

Also worth noting, on the left side of the screen, there are downloadable Karen fonts and a Karen keyboard layout for anyone who has a computer but wishes to write in Karen and not English.

For the downloadable materials, go to Drum Publications. To learn more about Drum Publications and their mission, click here.

Want to learn a little Karen language? This part of the Website teaches basic phrases and it uses sound. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Update on Aung San Suu Kyi

On May 26, 2008, the ruling military Junta in Myanmar declared that democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi is to continue being held under house arrest for at least another year. The Nobel Peace Prize winner's current detention has been in place since May 30, 2003. By further detaining Suu Kyi, the Myanmar junta has violated its own law limiting detention in the form of house arrest to no more than five years.

For more information on this story, click here.
(photo copyright 2008 Associated Press)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From the Internet

If you're interested in learning more about the Burmese refugees living in Thailand, I've come across some excellent Websites that have valuable (and interesting) background information. Note that almost every site has a photo gallery, slideshow, or "museum" with pictures! If you have a particular interest in the cultural background of this population, read on...

Cultural Cornerstones: Most of the information on the site was poted in the last three years, so it is more current than most. The documentary, music recording sessions, and photography were all produced in Mae La camp, home to the Karen refugees currently living in Colorado.

There are three photo stories. Let the slide show run and they will sequence automatically.

Outer Voices is a six-part multimedia project devoted to sharing the stories, strategies, and tools of women peace activists from the traditional cultures of the Pacific Islands and the Asian Pacific Rim. Listen to Kawthoolei the stories of Karen women involved in the struggle for freedom--and peace--in one of the most volatile places in Asia.

The Karen Women's Organization - Documenting the struggles of the Burmese people through the eyes of Karen women. Fascinating!

The Karen: This is a very short, very easy overview. Be sure to navigate through the options on the left side of the screen, paying particular attention to "Dress" and "Language."

Karen Folktales. Excellent to adapt to your student's level of English to provide reading in a familiar context!!

Karen Konnection From the Baptist Church. Check the links to the left for lots of news and information. My favorite section, believe it or not, was the slideshow of Karen weavers.

This should be enough to keep you busy for a while!