Pushing Through Strong!

Hi all! In this week’s progress report, I am proud to announce that I have officially finished the student version website! Between getting my own writing scholars ready to end their semester, and preparing for the last  three weeks of mine; I was in a Go Mood. Alongside finishing the site, I made major edits to my Research Proposal, completed my  #OTESSA21 proposal submission, and finished off my last major assignment for my NJIT course. Getting all of this fun stuff done before Thanksgiving really helped relieve some stress off my shoulders. Posted below is the video of my presentation, where I discussed the creation of both the student and instructor version of the e Learning websites.

Short and Sweet Thesis Update!

I hope you all had a blessed and safe holiday weekend! I sure did enjoy myself and I count my blessings each and every day! This year was rough but it could have been worse. I remain grateful, thankful and prayerful for brighter days ahead! As far as my thesis progress, I took a mini break from it so I can reset and enjoy the holiday. Since we didn’t have class on Thursday I felt less guilty about taking this mini break, we needed it. As far as my plans for this week my goal is to go over the research proposal guidelines and start to really buckle down on it. I’m also planning to work on my literature review which I need to revise and organize. This semester sure is flying by! I can’t believe it’s almost December and we have only a few weeks left! Where has the time gone!? I won’t allow myself to even think about the fact that many of you, my friends, will be leaving us in a few short weeks. I will miss seeing your beautiful faces each week. Ugh! I better stop now before I completely lose it. Damn Pisces in me I swear.

Lastly, I’ll share that I created a outline, which is very rare for me to do. But I need to get organized and fast. The outline is a family tree of the members of my family who I plan to include in my memoir. Besides my older brother, who by the way, has been contributing so much to my project, powerful stuff! I’m forever grateful to him for being so open and agreeing to share his story with me. I will also include my grandparents (that’s as far back as I go) and three of my aunts. All of these special people in my family are important and crucial to the telling of my story. I’m eager to get started on this chapter soon! Well that’s all folks! Short and sweet just as promised! Being that this is the season for giving thanks, I must say I’m so very thankful for all of you! Xo.

See the source image

Thesis Progress: Voice in Writing and Lit Review

VOICE

This week (so far) has been spent in recording parts of my memoir. It took me a long time to nail down a format in which to record. I have to thank Professor Alan Levine for helping me and suggesting the program Audacity. It works beautifully. Here’s the rub (there always is one). My Mac’s sound output was beginning to work, so I chanced it and started the project on that laptop. Then poof! no more sound output. The Computer Doctors in Union cannot fix it unless I give them my unit. Allll of my work is on this Mac, so I can’t afford to surrender it when we are this close to the end.

Backup Plan: I re-recorded the Prologue and Chapter 1 on my HP Pavilion (bought specifically because of the pandemic necessity of ZoomLife). I also recorded up to Chapter 3. Fine, good, right? No. Nothing is ever easy. It is incredibly difficult to record. I lost air and my throat closed up, necessitating retakes. Now I know why famous singers like Celine Dion don’t even speak before a big concert!

My memoir requires a lot of animated expression and I had to create a rule in order to preserve myself. I’ve decided to record only one chapter a day. WARNING- the final results are not perfect and this is not an audiobook. I know I will need a re-do if I decide to publish. The perfectionist in me chafes that the recordings are not A plus quality. I know that I have stumbled over some words here or there, despite my best efforts. I really am giving it my 100% best.

LIT REVIEW

I was able to find two very good sources regarding resistance to therapeutic care, which is something that I explore in my memoir. I read them carefully to include in my literature review.

MY PLAN:

I plan to continue recording one chapter a day (6 more days needed). I will also do a clean-up of MLA citation. Those are my goals for the remainder of this week.

I look forward to learning with you on Thursday. Be well!

Exciting News and More Reading

Hi and welcome back to another week! Thank you so much for stopping by. With the holidays coming up and thanksgiving day tomorrow, I am feeling so thankful for many things! This weekend November 21st my boyfriend proposed to me in front of my family and closest friends. The entire day was exciting and eventful! I am excited and happy about this new journey in my life! Please take a peek of the weekend below.

With all the excitement happening for me this week it has given me all the energy I need to put in more work towards my thesis project. I read more articles for my Lit review and continued working on my thesis research.

Cultural Adaptation in the ESL classrooms

Ernst-Slavit, Gisela, et al. “Changing Lives: Teaching English and Literature to ESL Students.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 46, no. 2, 2002, pp. 116–128.

Ernst-Slavit is a Ph.D. professor of education at Washington State University Vancouver where she teaches courses in sociolinguistics and conducts research on second language teaching and learning. In most of her work, she investigates language teacher education in culturally and linguistically diverse settings using ethnographic and sociolinguistic perspectives. The reason I selected to read her articles is because of her rich background in the field of ESL/ELL studies. I was so proud of her accomplishments and awards. She also co-authored the book Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: English Language Arts, Grades K-2: Promoting Content and Language Learning, which I did not read but was able to skim through most of it and there were many key points and suggestions critical for ESL teacher success. 

In this article, she provides many of the same strategies. The purpose of this article is to tools to enhance learning for ESL students as well as providing teachers with the knowledge they need to enhance the learning process for ESL students in secondary classrooms. The article presents program models, outlines important linguistic and cultural processes and effective activities are suggested for students in various stages of the learning process. There is a constant repetition of the importance of cultural adaptation in the ESL classrooms. Ernst-Slavit stresses that schools should demonstrate appreciation and respect for cultural diversity. In one section of the article, she goes more in depth describing why ESL students need this for success. She states, “Educational programs need to include what students bring with them. Educators need to focus on what students have rather than what they lack. Teaching and learning can be extended and enhanced when participants’ own experiences (language and culture) are mixed with those generalizations and conceptualizations offered in schools. Such acknowledgment often stimulates learning and helps students construct meanings by connecting what they already know and what the new environment offers them ( Ernest, 1993).” Learning a second language in an academic setting is a long and difficult process. Ernst makes the point that this can be easier with cultural adaptation and teachers understanding the different stages of learning development that all second-language learners navigate through. I enjoyed his article because there is a point in my autoethnography writing where I recall the times when my elementary school would hold an annual multicultural day event in honor of all the ESL students and everyone in the school would participate. This showed me that my school environment was supportive and interested in my culture and the cultures of other immigrant students. As a result, this annual event helped me to be happier at school and learn better. Ernst makes this point in her article and although these points are targeted to the high school level, the same can be used to educate teachers in the elementary grades. 

Goals for the coming week:

They Say/ I Say- By Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstien

I pulled out one of my favorite books on my bookshelf. They Say/ I Say have gotten me through so many college essays and practically saved me most nights in undergrad, so I’m hoping it will do the same this time around. Since I am starting the discussion part of my thesis I am using this book to outline some of the things I want to say. This book has a collection of sentence starters and templates for every circumstance, including a section devoted to transitions which I love to use. I would recommend this book for any essay writting or discussion. Click this title section to purchase your copy on Amazon!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving day!

Exciting News and More Reading

Hi and welcome back to another week! Thank you so much for stopping by. With the holidays coming up and thanksgiving day tomorrow, I am feeling so thankful for many things! This weekend November 21st my boyfriend proposed to me in front of my family and closest friends. The entire day was exciting and eventful! I am excited and happy about this new journey in my life! Please take a peek of the weekend below.

With all the excitement happening for me this week it has given me all the energy I need to put in more work towards my thesis project. I read more articles for my Lit review and continued working on my thesis research.

Cultural Adaptation in the ESL classrooms

Ernst-Slavit, Gisela, et al. “Changing Lives: Teaching English and Literature to ESL Students.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 46, no. 2, 2002, pp. 116–128.

Ernst-Slavit is a Ph.D. professor of education at Washington State University Vancouver where she teaches courses in sociolinguistics and conducts research on second language teaching and learning. In most of her work, she investigates language teacher education in culturally and linguistically diverse settings using ethnographic and sociolinguistic perspectives. The reason I selected to read her articles is because of her rich background in the field of ESL/ELL studies. I was so proud of her accomplishments and awards. She also co-authored the book Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: English Language Arts, Grades K-2: Promoting Content and Language Learning, which I did not read but was able to skim through most of it and there were many key points and suggestions critical for ESL teacher success. 

In this article, she provides many of the same strategies. The purpose of this article is to tools to enhance learning for ESL students as well as providing teachers with the knowledge they need to enhance the learning process for ESL students in secondary classrooms. The article presents program models, outlines important linguistic and cultural processes and effective activities are suggested for students in various stages of the learning process. There is a constant repetition of the importance of cultural adaptation in the ESL classrooms. Ernst-Slavit stresses that schools should demonstrate appreciation and respect for cultural diversity. In one section of the article, she goes more in depth describing why ESL students need this for success. She states, “Educational programs need to include what students bring with them. Educators need to focus on what students have rather than what they lack. Teaching and learning can be extended and enhanced when participants’ own experiences (language and culture) are mixed with those generalizations and conceptualizations offered in schools. Such acknowledgment often stimulates learning and helps students construct meanings by connecting what they already know and what the new environment offers them ( Ernest, 1993).” Learning a second language in an academic setting is a long and difficult process. Ernst makes the point that this can be easier with cultural adaptation and teachers understanding the different stages of learning development that all second-language learners navigate through. I enjoyed his article because there is a point in my autoethnography writing where I recall the times when my elementary school would hold an annual multicultural day event in honor of all the ESL students and everyone in the school would participate. This showed me that my school environment was supportive and interested in my culture and the cultures of other immigrant students. As a result, this annual event helped me to be happier at school and learn better. Ernst makes this point in her article and although these points are targeted to the high school level, the same can be used to educate teachers in the elementary grades. 

Goals for the coming week:

They Say/ I Say- By Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstien

I pulled out one of my favorite books on my bookshelf. They Say/ I Say have gotten me through so many college essays and practically saved me most nights in undergrad, so I’m hoping it will do the same this time around. Since I am starting the discussion part of my thesis I am using this book to outline some of the things I want to say. This book has a collection of sentence starters and templates for every circumstance, including a section devoted to transitions which I love to use. I would recommend this book for any essay writting or discussion. Click this title section to purchase your copy on Amazon!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving day!

Tightening the Tennis Racket Strings

I have spent considerable time this week (so far) combing my memoir and literature review. I was surprised to find that there were better ways of phrasing things in both. It’s all like tightening tennis racket strings so that you can be ready for optimal game performance.

In the upcoming Thanksgiving week, I will spend time trying to fill in any gaps in my literature review. There are still a few areas I would like to explore regarding my reactions to professional care for my mental health issues. It has been difficult to find articles on such issues, but I’m not giving up.

I still need to go through the literature review to determine if the different categories are placed in the correct place. I did not alphabetize them because I felt that I needed to include issues in their order of importance, as it relates to my memoir. I hope that this is acceptable, Dr. Zamora. Additionally, in the next coming weeks, I will have to check that my citations are in proper MLA form. I am used to the APA citation format and I only re-learned MLA last year. I have a great book for checking proper citation form so I do not think that the process will be arduous. It will just take time.

I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Be well.

Progress, Progress, Progress!

Hi fellow scholars! Unfortunately, my news from last week of presenting at Research Day at NJIT will not be happening. The university has decided to postpone it to next semester. Even with this unfortunate news, my thesis is still trugging along. I did MAJOR edits on the introduction and literature review within my Research Proposal. I am currently finishing up the last three tutorial videos for the student version site. Since I will not be sharing any more of my tutorial videos into the end of my thesis, in this week’s blog, I will let you guys read the edited version of the introduction and literature review within my Research Proposal.

Click Image to access my Proposal! Access is limited to Kean University accounts

Goals for the coming week:

  • FINISH student version site
    • Add in “notebooks” for 6 different scholars
  • Continue to make edits to Research Proposal
  • Make slight edits to instructor version site

4 more weeks to go.. It is grind time!

Back to Matters of the Heart.💖👨‍👩‍👧‍👦💞

After two weeks of tirelessly working on perfecting my presentation slides and revising my literature review, I’m back to matters of the heart. This week I’m devoting time to working on my family tree which is a essential part of my MA thesis memoir. A few weeks ago I nervously asked my older brother Gianni to share with me his experiences with anxiety and OCD. You see that is something my older brother and I share. Besides our love for the same foods, pickles anyone!? The same sense of humor and the fact that we look so much alike, and of course share the same DNA from our wacky Italian family, the one thing we also share is our diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Why was it important to start with my brother? I chose to start with him because he is the first born in my family. He is the oldest cousin and the very first person in my family to graduate from high school and college. He is and will always be a important branch in my family tree. At the age of 46 he has carved out a very nice life for himself. He works as a PA-C in a reputable drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, is a proud Father, active outdoorsmen, certified personal trainer and a homeowner. He has done quite well for himself and as his little sister I couldn’t be more proud.

I know all of these accomplishments were no easy feat for him because of his battles with anxiety and OCD. He is eight years older then me so I have limited memory to a lot of his sufferings and experiences. Eight years is a large age gap between siblings. We were never in school at the same time and all the milestones he reached I was still far behind. He was always a step ahead due to his older age. Only in our late twenties and when we both reached our thirties did we become closer because the age gap seemed smaller. I finally caught up to my big brother! But from what I do know is that my brother also suffered from the same debilitating symptoms that I did. I needed to know more. I wanted to know more. But of course I was hesitant to ask for fear of being rejected and possibly hurting my brother by awakening old and repressed memories from within him.

See the source image

To my surprise my brother was more then willing to participate! He said YES with no hesitation. I was elated! I let out a huge sigh of relief! I told him to write out his earliest experiences with OCD and anxiety. To trace his entire life up until this point in his adulthood. How did it manifest? How did he cope? What were specific memories? The highs the lows? He never hesitated or asked me why these specific questions. He just got to work and a few days ago he emailed me the beginnings of what he wrote. I excitedly opened the email. I began to read my brother Gianni’s words. He wrote it in a casual conversational style. In small paragraphs that gave a timeline of sorts as to when his symptoms started. I was immediately transfixed by his honest and raw account. Reading his words reinforced to me how little I really knew about his issues while growing up. But I knew it wasn’t my fault. I was simply too young to remember. Of course I did have memories of some events and troubles that he faced as I got a bit older but having him write it out in his own words was even more powerful then I anticipated.

After reading what he wrote so far I quickly texted him and said: “Thank you, I already feel closer to you.” He responded with a smiling face emoji. He even asked me if what he wrote was okay. He really cared about this. It warmed my heart as a little sister. Currently he is in the process of writing more and adding to the document. Of course I want him to take his time with it and I hope he finds a catharsis from this experience. I always knew my brother was a talented writer. Ultimately, he chose to work in the medical field but I had read some free lance articles years back of what he wrote about OCD and it was amazing! Yet another thing to add to the list of what we have in common. This MA thesis has taken me on quite the journey so far. A unexpected voyage, not only into research and academics but a odyssey of sorts into getting to know myself and my family better, learning to forgive my troubled past, learning each day to embrace my present and continuing to dream big and have faith in my future. Xo

Take a Breathe

I’ve been slowly feeling more and more sluggish each week. But with the coming Thanksgiving Break I feel a small burst of energy this week that I didn’t have last week. Perhaps my 2nd wind (or 3rd, I’m not sure which one I’m on) kicked in because my body senses the small break coming. Either way I’ve been going with the flow.

I was so excited about the renewed energy and so into my work, I realized it was Thursday and I didn’t make a blog post. This week I started typing up my Lit. Review and began adding in the notes I’ve been taking on my articles/resources. Once I am done with this, I plan to turn my attention to working on my thesis proposal.

I know how hard we have all been working and I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday. Remember to take a moment to breathe.