Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Learning Opportunities

“Oh! I am so sorry!” I exclaimed. I caught them grinning as we worked on a project, and remembered the article I had read that morning in the Gulf Times.

“Sorry?” they looked puzzled. “Why khalti?”

“I’m humming! I’m so sorry! You are fobidden to hear music during Ramadan!” I apologized.

“No, khalti! Where did you get that idea?”

“In today’s Gulf Times” I replied, and went to get the morning paper. The three of us read through the article, on the religion page, together. It was in English, and I secretly rejoiced – a perfect opportunity!

I hate classroom teaching. I trained as a teacher, and actually, I loved my students, but oh, the classroom just overwhelms me. For one thing, I must be a little ADD (attention deficit disorder) because when the bell rings, and I know I have fifty five minutes in the classroom, I feel TRAPPED. I bet you didn’t know that some teachers feel that way, too!

What I like is living learning, and that is why I think those who are home schooling are enjoying so much success – really small classes, individual attention, and hands-on examples to illustrate what is being taught.

“We have to check with our Mom and Dad, they can tell us why, but we don’t believe this” they said, as we finished reading the article. (Teacher secretly dances for joy! They are reading in English with full comprehension!)

Later they came back to me and explained – in English – that while some believers felt that all music was forbidden at ALL times, not only during Ramadan, other believers felt that it was not forbidden, as long as it did not deal with forbidden things, like sex. This time, I really did dance. They could explain a complex subject to me in English, and I learned something too. This is the best kind of teaching, when the teacher also gets to learn from her students.

October 13, 2006 Posted by | Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Locard Exchange Principal, Middle East, Qatar | Leave a comment

John Milton and Freedom of the Press

John Milton wrote the Areopagitica in 1644, in protest of a law passed in England which required all books and pamphlets to be OK’ed by a group of censors before being published. He believed that if England allowed licensing of books – who could be printed and who could not – it would be an attempt at controlling what the people were thinking. Milton is not easy reading, but I still get a thrill reading his defense of freedom of the press.

This comment on Milton is from the St. Lawrence Institute:

“While knowledge of this context is important to an understanding of the nature of Milton’s passion in writing this pamphlet, it is not essential to a modern appreciation of its contents. Milton’s words are just as powerful today in their call for freedom of thought as they were in his own. The issue he is addressing is still with us: the debate between legitimate societal control and freedom – whether of printing, speech, or thought – is on-going, and will continue to be of central importance in our media-dependent culture.”

This is John Milton’s most often quoted paragraph:

“And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil. As therefore the state of man now is; what wisdom can there be to choose, what continence to forbear without the knowledge of evil? He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian. I can not praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”

If you are looking for a challenge, you can read the whole Areopagitica here:


October 13, 2006 Posted by | Books, Cross Cultural, Kuwait, Social Issues | 4 Comments