MBCAL newsletter, July to Sept. 2019 p.1
No meeting July, August, and December
GRANT AWARD IN MEMORY OF ANTOANETA BONEV
MBCAL's Spring Semester 2019 financial grant award was given in memory of Antoaneta Bonev, instructor in English as a Second Language at Copper Mountain College, supporter of CMCs Student Success Center for Developmental Education, but remembered most fondly by students and friends alike, as a teacher who cared about her students' welfare. She always encouraged her students to do as well as they possibly could in school and in life.
Outside the Student Success Center building is a plaque on the wall and a small table for students and others to use.
The recipient of the Antoaneta Bonev Grant Award was Priscille Mukamurenzi, a student in the English as a Second Language class who is planning to apply to CMC's nursing program. Priscille attends class regularly and works hard to improve her English. Both of those things plus her dedication to her goal will help her achieve success.
We wish her the very best for the future.
Priscille and Kathy
MBCAL newsletter, July to Sept. 2019 p.2
BACK TO SCHOOL
Even those of our students who do not follow the regular school year probably feel a renewed enthusiasm for learning in the fall when the summers heat starts to let up and teachers and students meet again. Although California has long been known for heat waves right when school opens, there is still a sense that cooler temperatures will sooner or later prevail.
The English as a Second Language class opened August 19 with students and tutors (those of us who volunteer to help students when they need it) and instructor Missy Carey, who is starting her second year in this class. Current tutors are Marilyn Clark, Mitchell Halicki, MJ Fiocco, and Kathy Truesdell. The class opened with new and returning students taking the CASAS assessment test and beginning to settle in for a new semester.
THE MBCAL IN 2019
The MBCAL has seen several changes in 2019. Asisness created a new website for us, and the Board of Directors set a new goal of creating a few Little Libraries in the Morongo Basin. If you would like to suggest a location, let us know. We plan to have a mix of adult fiction and nonfiction and a few books for children and young adults.
We have lost board members in the last year due to their relocation and would be happy to talk to anyone who would like to find out about serving on our board. We generally meet once a month, except for July, August, and December, and have a breakfast meeting on the 4 th Thursday of the month.
We can always use new tutors who are interested in helping other adults improve their reading skills, and if you know of anyone who needs help, tell them the MBCAL is ready to assist. Call us.
LOOKING AT LANGUAGEL
Our favorite wordsmith, Richard Lederer, recently wrote an article entitled "You Are a Language Inventor." This interesting way of looking at how we use language begins, "Like air, language is invisible and all around us. We need it to live, yet we take it for granted. If, however, we pause and examine our language thoughtfully, we discover that the ordinary language user is astonishingly creative. Without realizing it, we all spend most of our waking hours inventing language....practically every sentence that you speak and write during your lifetime has never been spoken or written before in human history."
"Except for phrases like How are you? and Have a nice day, almost all of your speech and writing consists of sentences you have made up. You are a language inventor.
"...an experiment [was] conducted by Richard Ohmann, a professor at Wesleyan University, who placed before 25 people a fairly simple cartoon and asked them to describe in a sentence the situation the drawing portrayed...all the descriptions that Professor Ohmann received were different from each other....Professor Ohmann used a computer to determine how many grammatical sentences in English could be generated from those 25 sentences about an agitated tourist and the bear in the telephone booth. How many would you guess? ...Maybe 25,000? Professor Ohmanns computer yielded 19.8 billion...
MBCAL newsletter, July to Sept. 2019 p.3
that depict one limited state of affairs culled from only 25 different statements.
"There is one more intriguing fact to consider. Not only do you spend your days reading sentences that you have never before encountered, but you understand almost every one of them. Part of your humanness is your ability both to invent new sentences and to comprehend the swirling verbal inventions of other people.
"Linguist Noam Chomsky maintains that when we study human language, we are approaching what some might call ...the distinct qualities of mind that are, so far as we know, unique to man. "
Mr Lederer ends by saying that, if you avoid using clichés and poorly thought out writing and speech, you will more effectively and resourcefully carry on your life as the individual you are.
ARE WE US? By Phil Fultz
In a recent issue of National Geographic (the "Race issue" that I believe can best be described as "monumental") there is a fairly extensive treatment of the phenomenon of "us versus them." That phenomenon seems to be widespread in both time and area, and a common result is enmityif one is them, s/he must be the enemy of us. It seems that us vs. them is also one of the problems we need to cope with in the adult literacy community.
From the point of view of the general (i.e. uninformed) community, there are only a relatively few adults who are illiterate. Furthermore, those people are considered not very bright, or lazy, and that they are, or have been , unwilling to take advantage of the American public education system. Or else they are immigrants, probably illegal, and illiterate in their native language(s) as well as English. Finally, as far as many of the general public are concerned, it is a waste of resources to try to teach people who failed in their first trip through school. No less, according to them, it is a waste to teach immigrants who will eventually be deported anyway.
From the point of view of adult illiterates, there is a kind of conspiracy to keep from them the key secrets of reading and writing. They therefore feel driven to develop their own ways to cope, sometimes inventing for themselves a kind of separate written language. They take this homemade tool into the world, and, at least to some extent, manage to get along. Alternately, they believe what they have been toldthat they are stupid, worthless, and unworthy of concern. Moreover, not a few survive through the efforts of a parent, a spouse, or other family member.
From the point of view of adult literacy advocates, nothing is relevant except that the student learn to read (and write) English. Of course we recognize that there are community forces that are "to blame." But we also recognize that fixing blame is, in this case, completely irrelevant to the work we must do. We understand that, for example, being unable to read a prescription label may be a death sentence and being able to read warnings like P-O-I- S-O-N is critical.
We feel a students joy when he can read a bedtime story to his three-year-old. We are as proud as s/he is when that drivers license is issued. To put it in the way we began. Them is Us.