Saturday, March 5, 2016

Transnational Mysticism: A Review of Yahia Lababidi's Balancing Acts.

As I read Egyptian-American poet Yahia Lababidi’s newest work, Balancing Acts, I remembered Jean Eardman’s comment that “The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except the mystic doesn't have a craft.”  Lababidi’s poetry demonstrates that he is a mystic with a craft: a true artist. 
Publication date April 1, 2016 by Press Fifty Three

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sustainable Careers, Economies, and Lives.

Whether you are a first year college student, or someone seeking a career change, you might consider the concepts and practices of sustainability as you pursue your college degree.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sykes-Pico 101

I use an assignment I call "The Dictionary" in my college-freshman level Topics in Arab Culture interdisciplinary course.  Students are asked to define a list of ten terms and to keep those definitions as references for their analytical papers and our in-class discussions.  The Sykes-Pico Agreement is at the top of the list.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give.” - P.D. James.

Christmas Morning 2012. I stood in the living room of a modest home, wearing a green Santa's Elf hat; next to me was a man dressed as Santa. We were encircled by three little girls under the age of age 8 and a 10-year old boy. I helped Santa untie a large Hefty bag full of gifts. The children watched us, wide-eyed. It was my first Christmas as a volunteer elf for Santa's Helpers Inc. in St. Louis, MO.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Education for Citizenship in Arab Countries - One Perspective

Amman, Jordan (Photo Courtesy of Visit Jordan)
 Teachers in Arab countries are facing a significant transformation of their profession. In a recent Carnegie Paper by Muhammad Faour and Marwan Muasher, titled "Education for Citizenship in the Arab World", the authors explain that thus far, education reform in Arab countries has meant improvement to buildings and infrastructure, improvement of math and science test scores and bridging the gender gap.  Until now, education in the Arab world has been tightly controlled by Arab governments, and the goal of Arab education has been to preserve the ruler's grip on power. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Texting is paving the way for literacy learning in Senegal, and it could be the impetus for a written language in Wolof, which until now has been an oral African language. Kristin Vold Lexander (2011) conducted a study that examined the ways that Short Messaging Service (SMS) texts were used by ordinary citizens in Senegal.  She notes that, "estimates show that among Senegal’s 12-13 million citizens, there are 1 million internet users, while the number of mobile phone subscribers is 7.8 million" (Lexander, 2011, p. 2). Unlike French, the colonial language of Senegal that is used in professional and academic settings, Wolof is recognized as the peoples' language. Senegalese SMS text users are helping Wolof and other African languages move to a higher status in their society, which can elevate the linguistic access of the majority of citizens who do not speak French.  Lexander (2011) notes that, "mastering several languages appears to be an important resource in SMS-writing: through texting, African languages and multilingualism are promoted" (p. 15).

English Literacy Learning

Lexander's (2011) conclusions are worth noting by teachers who instruct English literacy learners. In English speaking countries, text messaging has frequently been blamed for the deterioration of good writing. Most writing professors have become used to encountering text message acronyms such as BFF (best female friend) or single letter designations for words in student papers: u versus you, for example.