Of small things observed

Little things:
We had been here a couple weeks when I heard somebody calling outside the guesthouse room. I ignored it at first because it didn’t really register. But then it continued and I realized it sounded quite close and was repetitive. I opened the door and there was a visitor standing with a cake in her hands. She’d been calling somebody else ‘s name, but at our door. She asked who lived in our guest house and I told her our names, and she asked if we wanted a cake, so I said yes, and she handed it to me and disappeared.

After that three or four more times, somebody would come to the door and I would only realize they were there when they had been calling our names several times, or not even oru name, just something like “Hello! We’re here!” or ‘Good morning!’ or “Maayong Buntag!” Now, in our new house, one of the carpenters and the driver of our landlord who has done some errands for us as well, has come to the gate of the house and called (I am Mrs Maam to him). They don’t knock on the door or come up that closely to the house.

The windows aren’t practically air tight as in the US, so they can do this, and most people aren’t running their air cons much because of the expense. There is just, I think a different view of private property and personal space? Your home is your home. You don’t knock, you call.

Wedding rings: mostly on right hand instead of left.

It is unspeakably rude to say a direct no, or to ask a question forcing the person to say a direct no.

Do not point. You thought it was rude to point in the U.S. but you were wrong. It was only mildly childish. Don’t point with your index finger. Just don’t. Jut your chin or lightly waggle your entire hand lightly in the general direction you mean.

Rice, three times a day and plenty of it.

Corn is often a dessert.
Corn jello. corn over icecream. Corn in your pudding.

Why? In the land of mango and pineapple and jackfruit, why corn at all? I have no ability to comprehend this whatsoever.

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Assessing Education, 1920, Part IV

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1

Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Part II is here

Part III is here

Question III What opportunities are we offering for^growth in “the power and habit of reflection”?

1 The use of the socialized recitation where the child learns the value of open-mindedness which in itself is a requisite for growth. The child must draw conclusions- and state problems rather than depend upon a memorized version.

2 The use of “individual study” periods to provide opportunity for the child to be taught how to be self-helpful.

3 The type of questions proposed by teachers should! stimulate reflection. Purely informational questions should not typify regular periods of work. Present questions demanding comparisons and judgment and allow the pupil opportunity to solve the situation.

4 The spirit of inquiry is encouraged in the progressive school. This does away with the tendency of set mind which refuses but one interpretation of incidents and which narrows one with succeeding years whatever the experiences encountered.

In history we accept Dr. Dewey’s statement for the keynote to method: “The chief purpose in studying history is not to amass information but to use information in constructing a vivid picture of how and why men did thus and so, achieved their successes and came to their failures.”

The tableau interpretation of various historical epochs presented by pupils illustrates the research of pupils and teachers interested in working out an interpretation of the life of the past. The dramatization, e.g., of parts of “King Arthur” by a fourth or fifth grade class will develop the spirit of inquiry through a socialized discussion of former times.

Reference work of great value grows out of this attempt to truthfully portray (by means of simple improvised costumes and typical situations with possible conversations) interpretation of a period or country. Such instances are typical by-products of a change in method.

Geography teaching is also drawing away from the mere drill for “knowledge by heart,” and becomes a means for promoting a real mental activity where the child’s constructive imagination is cultivated. The representation of Indian life upon the sand-table, the making of a miniature Eskimo hut, the drawing of the schoolyard upon the blackboard when discussing direction, or the application in paper cutting problems of the historical story of the New England settlers, or in later years turning to Joaquin Miller’s “Columbus,” or again to “The Charge of the Light Brigade” — all these give opportunity to more fully imagine and feel the unseen and to interpret rather than recount in order much of the detail growing out of any course of study.

And by the use of the problem method we wish the pupils to have the chance to cull and select the big facts and as the need arises to propose problems growing out of problems suggested. By such means, ability to place emphasis upon important fact comes as a natural growth. This learning how to study and select the kernel is necessary not only for future experience but also for the child’s intelligent use of many books during his school life.

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Everything Takes Longer

Everything takes longer-
This is what we were told frequently while preparing to come here. We heard it so often, from so many people, and I have heard it as well from Filipino friends who live in the states, that I believed it was true, I just wasn’t sure why or exactly what they meant. Sometimes they’d try to explain, but sort of run down in the middle, dissatisfied themselves with what they were trying to describe.

It is hard, because it’s a vast combination of things. Efficiency is less valued, I think, than relationships and employment. Convenience is less important than saving money (most of the time. Or perhaps I am misreading what I see, which is quite likely since we still have only been here 3 weeks as I write) I was absolutely delighted by the discovery that the large jar of mayo I bought comes with a *handle* so I can open it by myself quite easily). For so many reasons- people live in smaller spaces, must walk or make use of public conveyances rather than personal cars, spoilage is more likely because of the climate and the lack of 24 and 7 aircon, packages are often in smaller sizes so must be replaced more often, and then you might prefer to buy the plastic bags of ketchup or dish soap and refill your original container to save even more money (and space, and weight when carrying your groceries home).

The vegetables require more washing, the meat more prepping, the floors more washing (because you are so close to the roads which may or may not be well paved), so more dust comes up and in the windows which are not remotely airtight, the clothes are air dried in a climate not conducive to drying up of anything, the washing machines are smaller than I have been using (most of our kids were still at home the last time I bought a washer, so it was extra large capacity)- just, in general, doing certain things takes a bit longer than I am used to. I also think I take longer to get things done because I am sluggish in the heat and possibly still jet lagged, or maybe just not yet sleeping well because it’s still not ‘my’ bed. Washing dishes in a single sink with only cold running water takes far longer than washing dishes in a double sink with hot running water on tap, and of course, the dishes dry faster with hot rinse water and a drier climate as well.

Whatever the reasons, things do seem to take a little longer to do. One can be frustrated by this, or one can decide that’s not a bad thing. One can do a lot of thinking, contemplating, and meditating while giving attention to washing all the dirt out of the bok choy stems and sweeping the floors and hanging out the laundry.

Sometimes you can take it as a kind of challenge. “Today, whenever I am working with my hands rather than my mind, I shall apply my mind to taking every thought captive and focus on gratitude, what does it mean, what am I thankful for, to whom am I thankful, how can I express it, what does God have to say about it? Or pick an attribute of God for the day, or a memory verse to work on (perhaps in another language). These are suggestions, not orders. Choose your own way of choosing how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time.

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1920 article on assessing education, part III

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1
Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Part II is here

Question II What opportunities are we offering for growth in “refined and gentle manners”? This is Dr. Butler’s second criterion of education functioning. In place of incidental accomplishment, we are placing upon the daily program in some systems a definite time for pausing to consider the sort of citizens we wish to become, the qualities of character out of which we build our ideals, and the lessons we learn from others, together with the response due from us for whom so much has been and is done.

The use of a course of study in Civics is resulting in a discrimination on the part of the child, an understanding that results in the outward expression of the right spirit — a spirit from within, and not assumed, the spirit of true gentility and fine breeding which shows itself in simplicity and knows that greatness dares to be unaffected, spontaneous and sincere.

The activities of our children, listed from Red Cross work down to the playing of games, or the building of houses for our itinerant bird folk emphasize this spirit of sympathy, of co-operating with, and of helping others — the spirit which is the foundation of good citizenship (and incidentally one of the secrets of personal charm).

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We have treated the people from church who have helped us move and come over for basketball and language lessons to pizza twice. We were told, with much gratitude, that they cannot usually afford pizza so this is a very special treat. We look like we have more disposable income because of that pizza, but really, they saved us so much time and even money (we could not have rented a jeepney for the same price they could, we don’t think we could even have found one to negotiate with because we’re so clueless), and they have all been such a blessing that we are glad to be able to do this much.
They eat shrimp and other fresh seafood- squid, octopus, milkfish, rabbitfish and more on a regular basis. Shrimp is one of the cheapest meats in the fresh meat market. I told them that where I live in the Midwest I only buy shrimp as a special treat because it’s so expensive, and they laughed, “we are rich!” they crowed.
A friend of our son, one of his friends he met at the mall, drives her family’s car around Davao City. We are impressed that she can drive in this city’s crazy, but somehow functioning traffic, and, we told the Boy, the family must be kind of comfortable, since they have a car. Isn’t it interesting how much your perspective changes?

What is true wealth?

One of the sisters at church told me that her six year old son had only begun speaking in the last year. She had been so worried, and had taken him to the doctor but was told not to be concerned yet. Now, she says, when he speaks, whatever he says, ‘every word is a treasure in my heart.’

I think that counts.

Gratitude, giving thanks, having a thankful heart- themes from the lessons in church on Sunday, and as one of the speakers said, if you have a thankful heart, a habit of gratitude and appreciation for what you have, whatever you have, no matter what, you are always content, and that is a treasure.

That counts.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Where is your treasure this year? What direction is your heart yearning toward?

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