Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Los haikus y la poesía zen

La vida en el campo y el paso de las estaciones en Canadá me inspiraron estos haikus

Al caer el sol
miles de luciérnagas
pintan la noche

Trinos y cantos
proclaman la aurora
en la campiña

El cruel otoño
fuerza al árbol mostrar
su flaco cuerpo

En invierno
el cielo se desgrana
en blandos copos

Con rumbo norte
formación en flecha
los gansos vuelan

Nubes de gansos
oscurecen el cielo
es primavera

El aguacero

deja olor a fresco
en la tierra

Una estrella
rasga la noche negra
sueño fugaz




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Seal of Biliteracy: A much needed opportunity for bilingual students

I just learned a piece of news that makes me extremely happy. The governor of Colorado just signed a bill establishing a  Seal of Biliteracy program in that mountain state where I used to live, joining 18 other states that have already adopted it. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, schools in Colorado can voluntarily adopt the Seal and recognize students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

As explained in the document in the link below, the program values language as an asset that prepares students for college and career. Online job postings in Colorado for bilingual candidates nearly doubled in recent years and the demand for languages such as Spanish and Chinese has increased exponentially.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
As a translator and interpreter trainer, I am thrilled that language acquisition and development is encouraged in high school.  In recent years, I taught translation and interpretation in college. A large number of the students taking my classes were heritage speakers; that is, young people who grew up speaking a language other than English at home but did  not have a formal education in the language. These students knew that their language skills could increase their marketability when looking for a job and that they could pursue a career as a language professional. However, the lack of formal education in their heritage language was hard to overcome at the college level and in a program in which excellent language skills are required.  Heritage speakers in my classes seemed to be conscious of their lackings and would tend to not take full advantage of opportunities such as class discussions and providing and receiving valuable peer feedback on how to improve. This bill is also important for other students who are trying to learn a second language. It is a clear message that learning a second language means more work and life experience possibilities.
This link leads to a document that explains the Seal of Biliteracy, its purpose and benefits, and the path to follow for attaining it. It  is worth noting that students who obtain the Seal must be academically proficient in English and in a language other than English, which means that they have a strong academic background, which, of course, increases their chances of being successful in college.
I do hope that both parents and students are informed about this program well in advance so that students can be prepared to take this challenge that might change their lives forever.  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spring is finally here!

After a productive week in Washington D.C., we are back in our beloved Quebec City.

When we left, on May 17, trees had just begun to leaf out and only a few early flowers could be seen here and there.  This weekend, however, the sun is shining and the temperature is truly pleasant.  Yesterday, my husband, Dewayne Matthews, and I strolled  the streets of Old Quebec and visited a few museums, the Parc de la Artillerie and the Musée de la civilisation. We were out for about eight hours and enjoyed every minute. Hundreds of people were out enjoying the beautiful weather. 

Hundreds of tulips around Parliament

 Here are some pictures that I took with my mobile phone. I will take my real camera next time, although my iPhone does a decent job.

Dewayne reads a plaque on the Parliament building
Winters are long and cold in Quebec, there is no denying it, but there is so much to do and see.  And, as I always say, embracing winter is key.  Winters are beautiful and can be enjoyable. 

Parliament and the famous hotel Le Concorde in the distance. 
The revolving restaurant atop Le Concorde offers a
breathtaking view of the city and the majestic St. Lawrence River.