August 2003 Archives



We have the keys! I now have a new home in SF! This will bring an end to the relatively long, directionless "Moving" series of posts and any attending existential conflicts. I have retrieved and emptied all of the book boxes. There are at least 4 slated for reselling to Moe's. All poetry will henceforth be set aside for Cody. I have a whole lot of young adult sci-fi/fantasy that I have set aside for those with such proclivities. I also have an entire box of children's literature that it would be nice to loan to someone (or multiple someones) on a long-term basis. Do we know anyone who teaches elementary school? Still, I don't think I'm going to make it to 584.

Move-in day is Friday!

Moving: Part 4


How good are you at word problems?

I went to the storage space today to get more books. I had already taken out four boxes, and today I retrieved an additional eleven. There appear to be at least eight left inside. We left Chicago with approximately seventeen.

I can only conclude that they are breeding in the night.

What is a reasonable number of books to have? Please comment.

Moving: Part 3


The Book Depository

Throughout our trip the question lurked in the back of my mind �What will I do with all the books when I get to San Francisco?� Gene had suggested donating them all to the San Francisco Public Library and then visiting them via Muni. I wondered if there was any recompense for a donation so large, perhaps a chair of my own to sit and read in? Alas, my hopes were dashed when I learned that libraries usually sell donations to raise funds, and that they often remove from the shelves the items that don�t circulate. Much as I value The Understanding By Design Workbook, I doubt that it would see enough action to stay on the shelf. I considered donating them to a university library, but the same limitations apply. It was Sean who first raised the possibility of selling them to Moe�s and then buying them back if I ever needed them. This idea had several advantages: 1) Immediate recompense in the form of cold, hard, cash. 2) Regular trips to my favorite bookstore to replenish my supply. 3) The inverse likelihood that the rarer they are, the more likely they are to stay on the shelves. And so it is with this in mind that I am designing my new collection. What shall define the quality of the works that stay? We already have the seven mark system for fiction, but what about reference? What about books I have not read but intend to? What about books that are not useful now but may be later? Simply surveying the shelves at my parents� house I can discern two obvious categories: 1) anything on Encyclopedia Brittanica�s Great Books of the Western World list�keep; 2) books bought for courses in college that I have not needed in the last two years (or for that matter, since the class)�sell. This last category of course leads to its obverse, books bought for courses in college that I have needed in the last two years. Those should be kept for an additional extension of two years. A harder to discern category is �English classics I have never read that I have poor editions of (i.e. pocketbook paperbacks of Tess of the D�Ubervilles).� While these are good and important books that I may someday want to read, they are easily replaced from used book stores and if I ever read them seriously, I will most likely want a better edition. As I contemplate doing away with all the books I read for courses in college, it occurs to me that they serve an additional function. There are a number of fields in which I am not specialized enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. The books on the shelf form a visual reading list that will be lost when they are gone. I will have to keep a list of them all. In fact, keeping a list of all the books I once had, and a record of whether I kept them or sold them may help maintain my sanity when six months from now I find myself muttering and pawing through the shelves to find the Tess of the D�Ubervilles I could swear I had. Such a list would best be kept as a searchable database. What program to keep such a list in? Time to call Gene. I began to cull the collection remaining at my parents� house while waiting for a friend to return my call. I thought I was doing quite well, only saving about a third of the books, but one particular shelf is giving me trouble. What about science textbooks? I know very little and have them so that I can learn more. They are hard to find often and expensive. However, they go out of date very quickly. I feel very strongly that that section should be allowed to remain intact, but with it comes the film section. The film section is only really about five books. Why do I feel so strongly about them? They somehow represent a field I value and would like to think I am informed in. I suppose they act as a badge of initiation. Whenever I feel inferior in film knowledge, I can recall them and feel that I too know the basics, but I don�t actually care much for the content of those particular books so it�s never very comforting. Away they go. They are classics; they can be gotten at the library, or at least, at a university library. What will become of the film books in the other boxes though? What about opera scores? There are only two, �Don Giovanni� and �The Magic Flute.� I have tickets to the opera and will likely go see them, but will probably not study them in depth. I suppose they can go then. What about nearly great books? Books that are indeed classics and well worth studying, far more worthwhile than most contemporary fiction, but that do not make the Great Books list? Lest you be fooled, this is a large category, perhaps the bulkiest of them all. It�s filled with giant names: Mark Twain, Boccaccio, John Keats, Thomas Marlowe, Tennessee Williams, Ben Jonson, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemingway. If I have had them for as many years as I have, and have never read them, then I probably should get them at the library�unless it�s a really nice edition (like my Decameron). So I guess they all go. But that begs another question. What about the Great Books that don�t have any writing in them, that I probably won�t reread? Do I keep them as trophies of the intellect? Or do I humble myself and admit that Aristotle�s Physics means very little to me. As much as some people love Plotinus, I find it facile, the universe is too easily systematized. I think it may be time to go with Flaubert, and admit that knowing only six books, but knowing them well would be an education that far surpasses a cursory knowledge of many. Away then with the extra Aristotle. Perhaps I should only be saving my favorite books and those I am dying to read? Such a prospect is too frightening to consider yet. I went to the storage unit and retrieved four boxes of books. They are already posing more questions. What do I do with the teacher books? I keep hoping that when I get a job there will be a bookshelf and I can just take them all there. Until then, I suppose they should get set aside and put together into boxes. There are also cookbooks, but there aren�t so many of them and they serve a purpose. Here too are the first wave of Children�s Books. Those will be hardest. What about poetry? I can hardly think of a reason it should stay since I seldom read it and am not particularly attached to any of it. Yet I like the idea of it�preparing to sit down on a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea and walking up to the poetry shelf for a single-serving sized piece of literature... Though such delusions also include a pipe and quilted silk dressing gown, neither of which I have, so why keep the poetry? Away it goes. The piles on the desk of keepers are staying fairly steady, but there are growing piles on the floor of books I know not what to do with. Souvenir books (yearbooks, journals, jr. high address books) can all stay at my parents� house. I suppose I should separate out the young adult fiction to offer to friends, but it can go. I will borrow them back if I ever want to read them. The real question is about children�s books. I had thought of putting my name in all of them and loaning them on a long-term basis to a middle school Language Arts teacher. I may need them back if I teach Language Arts. Okay, so all children�s books except those that I still want to read can go in another box. And what of foreign language? They are hard to come by and expensive, but I can�t read them without other people to read with. I think some of them will have to go. Those that remain can stay at my parents' house, which we may now refer to as "the archives." I suppose most of the science and textbooks can remain there as well. This all feels like a section out of Brave New World, where the Director invokes the sacred quote of Ford, �History is bunk:� He waved his hand and it was as though, with an invisible feather whisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk�and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk�and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom�all were gone. Whisk�the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk� (p. 34 in the battered Harper Perennial paperback I will soon not have). The only ancient tragedy that strikes true fear into my heart is the burning of the library at Alexandria. The sudden fiery deaths of all the inhabitants at Pompeii, or the thousands upon thousands who died in vain at Troy, or even the course of history lost to Alcibiades' treachery is mere dust in the wind compared to the loss of such a library. What will I do when it happens again?

Moving: Part 2

Habits to Feed

The following day included many ordeals, the details of which I don't expect you particularly want to hear. Gene accomplished a feat of majestic proportions, compacting all my earthly possessions into three linear feet of a Mack truck (which I hope he will describe at concrete skyline). In sum, we disassembled the furniture, disposed of all the garbage, rented and returned a U-Haul truck, had a farewell dinner with my best friend, and I cleaned all night while Gene slept so he could drive us away in the morning. My opinion remains unchanged regarding the everyday details of people's ordinary lives, but if you disagree, you may write to the following address and register your complaints:

What I find more interesting is the repercussion of watching my best friend hoist seventeen loads of books, weighing the equivalent of one home blacksmithing kit each, 12 feet into the air. While he never complained, he did point out that there could hardly be a need for so much media in hard copy. I had had a sneaking suspicion when my collection grew beyond the floor-to-ceiling seven-foot shelving system that perhaps I had a problem. When it grew beyond the three-foot shelf extension I added, I knew that I had formed a habit, an obsessive compulsion to acquire books. While I reflected with some chagrin on the floor to ceiling shelves still filled at my parents? house, I still felt every one of them necessary, or at least, not expendable. Who could ever give up a book?

Still, long ago I gave up collecting other unnecessary items. I had purged bags of clothes from my closets, paper from files, even sentimental gewgaws, why not books? Horrifying as the analogy seemed, the possibility had stuck itself somewhere in my subconscious, glued in place by the guilt of having used my best friend so ill. It would haunt me throughout our journey.

The first day we drove straight through Illinois and Iowa to stop in Sioux City--just window-gazing, no need for books. The following day we carried on through Nebraska to the badlands. Along the way we passed historical Indian monuments, such as Wounded Knee and the Great Sioux Reservation. As I tried desperately to recall the names of all the most prominent chiefs, their tribes, and the conflicts they fought in, I found myself craving references, signs, pamphlets—text of any sort. A thought welled slowly up inside of me until it pressed on my heart and made my breathing shallow: I needed Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. I took a deep breath and pushed the thought back down somewhere below my stomach.

When we reached the campsite, we went for a walk down the riverbed and I collected leaves, rocks, roots, and other things to identify--if only I had had a field guide! We began talking about camping necessities and the possibility of living in such a desolate environment. I found my thoughts turning to my US Army Survival Guide. I was jonesing for a fix and didn't know how I was going to get it. "Maybe we can stop by the visitor's center next" I suggested weakly, but it was already 7:00 and I knew they were closed.

Upon arriving for dinner at the famous Wall Drug in Wall, SD, a cursory review of the map revealed a Western books section just off the main dining area. My heart leapt three feet out of my chest and my pupils dilated just thinking of all the beautiful information, neatly packed into the consummables I truly feed on. I turned to Gene with big pouty eyes and promised I would be strong, “I won’t buy anything, I promise. I just want to look.” Somehow it didn’t even feel like a lie.

Gene had helped me devise a system earlier that day for determining those books I could buy, and those I needed get from a library. If there were seven places I wanted to mark in the book, that justified having my own copy; otherwise, I was to take notes. As I hurried off to the book store, my hands trembled. I was fiending to take a book in my hand, rifle through its pages, and bore holes through the page with my eyes. I went in search of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and first lighted upon The Audubon Society's Guide to Birds of the Western Region. Now, as a serious researcher, I knew the only authoritative birding guide to be Sibley's or Pearson's, so the temptation to snatch it up and purchase it was mitigated by a knowledge of its inferior quality. Instead I used it to identify the large black and white jay-like birds we had been seeing around camp: black-billed magpies (pica pica). Though I was tempted again by the plant and butterfly guides (which I had dearly wished for on our walk) I resisted. How could I go back to Gene with three new books, no matter how useful?

So I asked the lady who worked in the shop if they had Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and she found it for me. I analyzed the table of contents and turned straight to the passage on Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. I began reading, hoping against hope for a quotable sentence, an important fact, a perspective-shifting interpretation… but alas, it was just good history (on that page at least). It was not a seven-mark book. I would have to get it from the library instead. The balloon of desire that had filled my chest deflated and I resigned myself to the sad reality of withdrawal. Empty-handed but dignity- intact I returned to Gene. Despair would have been the appropriate term were it not for relief of not having lost face before him.

Later that day I found out that there are public libraries within Yellowstone. Gene is suspicious of such endeavors, wondering how they can insure that books are returned, but I see it as sanctuary. The gods are looking out for me and have created a Phaiakia of my very own.

On arriving in Yellowstone, we went first thing in the morning to the visitor's center and bookstore, where the kind lady who tried to get me to donate thirty dollars to the Yellowstone Association confirmed Gene's pessimistic predictions: there were no lending libraries. I decided not to ask how large a donation they would require to establish such an institution. I would have to buy the books I wanted, seven marks or no. Gene, of course saw no problem with this, but to me it was earth-shattering. I had made so much progress, had turned over a new leaf, had begun to change my way of thinking about maintaining access to information, and now he was letting me fall off the wagon. He may as well have just handed me a rubber hose, a bent spoon, and a rusty needle. I attempted to contain myself, to behave rationally. I accepted the field guide the kind lady pointed out (though I knew it would not likely contain all the species we would see), which Gene thought would be very useful, and then attempted to keep from drooling on the floor. There were so many, and they were ALL pertinent to our trip in Yellowstone. Geology, rocks, history, the Nez Perce, trail guides--It was like finding your dealer's stash right before a circuit party. I instantly narrowed my gaze to those addressing my two favorite topics: geology and the Nez Perce. Since I already know more about the Nez Perce than most of the books you would find in a visitor's bookstore, I decided to cut my losses and opt for the $1.95 pamphlet "Chief Joseph's People and Their War" put out by the Yellowstone Association. Surely a twenty-page pamphlet couldn't seriously count as a book.

I was already purchasing two items and had not even begun to sate the urge. Geology still loomed large in the center of the display. She asked how much I wanted to know, "Everything," I said. The tone in my voice must have surprised her since she took a step back, wrinkled her forehead, and said, "Oh, are you a geologist?" A red tinge crept up my face as I acknowledged that indeed, I had no right to be so voraciously interested in the information. She showed me two books, one with more pictures and short enough to finish between sights and one hardback, longer volume that would take weeks to read cover to cover. At last I accepted the cheaper and more readable looking of the two, hoping to reaffirm my good standing in the world of tourists.

With my well-rationed stash we left the bookstore and headed out to see the geysers. The trip from then out would be okay. There was a bag of fiction behind Gene’s seat in the car and I now had most of the informational bases covered. I could survive the trip, but what of the seventeen boxes now heading steadily for Oakland? What would I do when it came time to unload? Where would I store them all when I found a tiny San Francisco apartment?

The answers to these questions and more in “Moving: Part 3!” Coming Soon!

Moving, Part 1

For those of you who are wondering what became of me, or how the Incredible Journey went, I apologize for not posting sooner. I would love to say that it was a harrowing adventure equal only to the greatest feats of humankind, but alas, on review the details seem fairly paltry and, at best, absurd in their finitude. Perhaps, however, this is the nature of Blogs. Let's find out, shall we?

Odyssey: 2003

Moving Log

August 10, 2003

Today is my last day in Chicago. I am packing, a skill I have refined through long practice over the course of several years of transience. I can pack things tightly, purge my closet of "fat clothes," and clean out under the bed with the best of them. Still, there is one aspect I have not mastered: deshabillement. English doesn't really have a word for it, so I have borrowed the French for "moving," which literally translates as "un-living." The French mean "living" in the sense of "where do you live?" but all the same, the more dour connotations seem apt as well. Taking apart your home, dismantling the environment that supports you, and taking off into the great wide open is more than a simple reorganization of space. It requires the ability to accept the transience of one's existence, the arbitrary nature of one's connections, and that the very nature of the universe, including the things you regard as central, is inherently liminal. To move is, on at least one level, to face your own mortality.

11:12am Have searched in vain for boxes. Despite the mound in the living room, it is clear there are not enough to contain even the books.
11:13am Move all completely packed items to living room and take out trash.
11:21am Sort through remaining papers.
11:45am It is becoming rapidly clearer and clearer that I need another file box. Keeping that much paper, however, is unacceptable. I may have to clean out the older files. Either that or use the magazine basket to store things to be filed. Yes, that's it! the magazine basket.
12:05pm It is uncertain how much the magazine basket can truly hold. A box may have to be commissioned.

*For those of you who are wondering, the goal is to have everything but books and the kitchen packed by the time Gene gets here at 10:00. While this seems entirely possible, especially since weeks ago I cleaned out the bathroom, under the bed, and all my files, I can't really make out whether or not I'm gaining any headway. So far I have been leaving the furniture assembled.

The greatest difficulty about packing and moving may be that you have to make all the decisions you've been putting off until now. Should I ship back the videos for my China course, even though I haven't watched them yet? They?re boring, but I paid good money and haven't taken the final yet.

Worst of all, what things should I take with me for the next two weeks? Who knows what I'll need? Somehow choosing the things that will be a part of my transition to the next life feels like a commitment to the end of this one, or worse, acknowledging that none of it really matters. The arbitrariness of the things I pack highlights the complete lack of necessity in the design of my life. If I truly don't need anything more than socks, undies, and a toothbrush for the next week, what good is such a week? What am I accomplishing?

*I have just decided to pack all the bedding and blankets in the suitcases instead of trying to fit them into a box.

1:43pm Took nap. Had snack. Talked to Gene--all is on schedule. Packed remaining bedroom miscellanies. Am considering taking down posters, but then it will be truly final. Instead, I will start laundry.

2:04pm Shoes now fill the empty laundry basket. I am hanging up the few remaining items. The box shortage is becoming pressing. Once I have finished hanging/washing/ transferring laundry I will see if Kinko's has any boxes. If not, I will have to venture into the sun to go buy some from public storage. When I check Kinko's I must remember to look in Walgreen's for cd sleeves.

2:52pm All clothes now in wash. The inevitable last dirty sock surfaced moments after my return. All the posters are down and stored in a tube. From where I sit, I can see a box of things in the closet that I have not used for two years, yet they have been spared at every purge. Will they survive Gene? I suppose the next thing is to pack the stereo.

3:04pm Stereo on its way. Just counted book boxes. There are twelve from when I moved last time. Since then I have acquired pretty much my entire children's literature and teaching collections. I estimate needing at least six more. The barbells are also puzzling. What does one put 36 pounds of solid metal into?

It has just occurred to me: the portable mp3 player does not plug into the car cigarette lighter. Instead of trying to purchase a charger, I will just take the 12 rechargeable AA batteries.

3:39pm Most clothes now in dryer. 10 minutes and rest should go in. I will definitely need two more medium boxes, so I think I will just go to public storage.

4:51pm Public Storage is only open from 10-2 on Sunday. Obtained two lovely boxes from Walgreen's, and they will likely have more later.

Aha! I have not been thinking clearly. There are almost always boxes in Hyde Park, either at the Co-Op, Barnes and Noble, or Border's. I didn't want to go all the way there just for boxes, but it's practically on the way to pick up Gene and maybe I can give Zarah the futon pad too! I am a genius, an evil genius.
Almost all clothes now dry.

4:54pm Excellent. Zarah says she will be home at 8:30 pm to accept the futon pad. Boxes will be acquired. I am feeling sweaty and gross.

5:07pm U-Haul Reservation confirmed.
1200 W Fullerton Racine

5:08pm I'm tired again. What's next? The bathroom I think. We can use some of the small odd-sized boxes for things like the shower curtain, and then I'll have to deal with packing toiletries—a good way to start packing for the next week and pretend I don't actually have to look into the abyss.

7:31pm Good long nap.

1:07pm One mattress disposed of. Gene acquired. Closet and bathroom finished. Boxes aplenty. Solid dinner. Mostly just books and kitchen stuff left. Gene is making strong progress on books. I will go start the kitchen.

After Gene came, it became apparent how much more there was to do, mostly because I had been accumulating piles of things to throw out or give away and they remained, but also because I had anticipated our returning at 10:00, not 11:30. Gene did his best with the books, and we estimate there being about 17 boxes of them at the end. When we finally went to sleep it was 3:00 am and all the furniture was still assembled.

.… the continuing saga of our Incredible Journey and more harrowing adventures to come in “Moving: Part 2.”

Attack of the Computer Gnomes

As �Zembla Day at Katabasis� draws to an official close (here in Chicago, anyway), I was pleased to find another installment from my favorite blogger and yours, but was dismayed to hear how rotten his week has been (see Zembla). Perhaps you would expect some sympathy for a dear friend and blog idol enduring such travails, but you�ll find none here, nor from any such pirate as I. For I too have been enduring many travails (�on the wide back of the roiling, wine-dark sea�). For the last week, my world has been under attack.

7/30 Computer Gnomes Protest the Proliferation of Information
Early this morning in the city of Chicago, a roving band of malicious computer gnomes protested the printing of a final draft Thesis paper. The Gnomes are said to have interrupted communications with the printer, ordering the operator to uninstall and reinstall the printer drivers. During the attempted un-installation, they froze the computer leaving broken and incomplete files littered over the hard drive. One witness agreed to speak with our reporters, "I was just sitting there, minding my own business. I pressed 'print' like always and all of a sudden these bizarre things started happening, and the computer was talking to me in ways it never had before. It can only be explained with magic--magical creatures." Victims throughout Chicagoland are spending 20-25 dollars to print documents at their local copy stores in order to meet deadlines. The Gnomes are suspected to be plotting a hostage takeover--back up your files while you still can.

7/31 Gnomes Under Investigation for Access Outage
Today authorities have released a report linking yesterday�s protest by a roving band of computer gnomes to a terrorist attack that knocked out internet access for a week two weeks ago. The group is now under investigation for this summer�s earlier email blockage as well. They are said to have taken hostage without ransom all outgoing email attachments. Local computer users have been forced to create �blogs� to �post� their attachments in order for others to gain access (hence the recent bizarre, yet informative, influx of Yangtze River Dam posts). All of this seems to have begun with a decision to upgrade from Netscape 4.7 to 7.1.

8/4 ILF Takes Incoming Files Hostage
As of this morning, 8 important incoming emails have been missing for 96 hours. Some wonder if this could be the latest work of the group of computer gnomes calling themselves �The Information Liberation Front.� The group has allegedly been wreaking havoc with any and all processes related to graduation and certification. The emails contained units on teaching children's literature that were to be posted to the internet. There is little hope of their being recovered.

8/6 Gnomes Retreat Without Precedent
At approximately 11:00 pm CST, the battle was rejoined when the computer (which had been shut down at 8:00) was started. However, there were no gnomes to be seen. The computer's first act was to print a "Windows XP Printer Test Page." Though demand for said printjob had been made of the gnomes 12 hours prior, this seeming white flag was quickly accepted by Allied forces. They promptly raised demands and the gnomes agreed to print "whatever is asked." Though they may go back on their word at a later date, this event seems to mark the beginning of a ceasefire and peace negotiations between the two warring parties. All email files seem to have been reaching their destinations and there is talk of even giving Outlook access to mail servers. Perhaps it's too early to go buying Kinko's stock after all.

8/9 ILF Strikes Fatal Blow
Today at the Chicago office of the State Board of Education, it was discovered that the electronic notification of entitlement for a Northwestern MS Education student had gone missing without explanation. The lack of that document precludes the student from applying for certification in the state of Illinois or California. It is all too clear now who is responsible for such atrocities. Simple technical malfunction fails to comprehend the awesome trauma caused by the vicious "Information Liberation Front." It appears their earlier surrender was only a pretext for gaining the time they needed to strike their most fatal blow. Allied Forces have appealed to friendly nations for aid and are expecting a contingent of special forces on Sunday. If the electronic notification is returned by Monday, the gnomes may be spared the death penalty. Otherwise, there will be no mercy.

I too have been having a bad week, but have been feeling it much less, what with Chicago being so much closer to Australia.

Pirating Zembla

I have noticed, as perhaps some of you have also, that my favorite blog has received little attention of late. Apparently some authors are too busy relocating all their earthly possessions to drop us a line here or there. I, on the other hand, have remained intensely devoted to my vast readership. I spent virtually all of today, a valuable day as one of my last living in Chicago, learning graphic design programs, color theory, CSS, XHTML� simply for your pleasure. And what have I to show for it, you may ask? I have learned the golden secrets of Web Design, and now have the power to steal for my own use the stylesheets of all those I envy. So, seeing as Sean cannot keep up with his adoring fans, and since I am more than man enough to meet the task, I am officially offering �Zembla Day at Katabasis,� replete with snappy one-liners and sophisticated syntax. All are welcome.

CLAD Certificates for Everyone

California currently has approximately 1.5 million limited English proficient students representing 25% of the overall student population. According to the 1968 Bilingual Education Act, which ammended the 1964 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is a violation of their rights to not to offer instruction in a language they understand or to refuse them services. However, in 1998, the people of California passed proposition 227, which limits bilingual education to one-year transition programs. In order to comply with both policies, California school districts have been requiring more and more teachers to become CLAD certified. The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development certificate is offered to those who have been identified as having knowledge of how to work with English language learners. One can earn it either by taking approved series of courses or passing the series of four certification tests. How qualified are you to teach students from other cultures with limited English skills? Below are questions selected from the CLAD certificate examinations:

Test 1: Language Structure and First- and Second-Language Development

1. Which of the following parts of speech can be used to complete the sentence "The ________ jumped high"?
A. noun
B. adverb
C. pronoun
D. adjective

2. Which of the following statements about dialects is most accurate?
A. The use of dialects hinders language development.
B. Dialects are valid tools for communication.
C. The use of dialects indicates a disadvantaged student.
D. Dialects represent a stage in an individual's language development.

Test 2: Methodology of Bilingual, English Language Development, and Content Instruction

1. Which of the following is the most appropriate way to make a social studies lesson delivered in English understandable to students whose primary language is other than English?
A. Include a filmstrip as part of the lesson.
B. Use a larger number of worksheets than used with fluent English speakers.
C. Teach a comparable lesson from a lower grade level.
D. Simplify the lesson by focusing on only a few of the key concepts.

2. Which of the following is the most appropriate first step to take for a student whose primary language is not English, who has been in U.S. schools for several years, and who has still not made a successful transition to English?
A. Refer the student to special education for testing.
B. Provide the student with a bilingual paraprofessional for tutoring.
C. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the student's language skills.
D. Determine gaps in the student's content knowledge and reteach missing knowledge.

Test 3: Culture and Cultural Diversity

1. Which of the following is not an example of an intragroup cultural difference?
A. Hmong immigrants engage in different religious practices than Laotian immigrants.
B. Many third-generation Puerto Ricans are less proficient in Spanish than are their grandparents.
C. Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong celebrate the New Year differently from Chinese immigrants from Vietnam.
D. Filipino immigrant children of professionals face less difficulty in adapting to the U.S. school system than do Filipino immigrant children of farm laborers.

2. Compared with earlier waves of immigrants, the people who came to the United States during the 1980s:
A. were poorer and less educated than previous immigrants.
B. concentrated in urban rather than rural areas.
C. were victims of political oppression or economic deprivation.
D. represented a more diverse range of cultures.

Test 4: Methodology for Primary-Language Instruction

1. Which of the following strategies is most appropriate to use first with a student whose primary language is other than English and who is having difficulty understanding a concept explained in an English language textbook?
A. Encourage the student to follow along in the text while another student with strong English skills reads the passage aloud.
B. Use the student's primary language to determine whether the student is familiar with and understands the concept.
C. Show the student how to look up unfamiliar words from the textbook passage in a dictionary or the book's glossary.
D. Have the student read about the concept from a primary-language textbook written for younger students.

2. When evaluating the multicultural perspective of supplementary materials in languages other than English, it is most important that the materials:
A. highlight human commonalities as well as cultural and social differences.
B. highlight outstanding individuals, both past and present, in various cultures.
C. emphasize the positive as well as the negative features of various cultural groups.
D. stress cultural commonalities and de-emphasize that which makes individuals of a cultural group different.

Providing students with a teacher who has passed the CLAD certification tests, regardless of training, meets the federal requirement to provide limited English proficient students with services.

Answers: Test 1-- 1A, 2B, Test 2--1A, 2C, Test 3--1A, 2D, Test 4--1B, 2A

For more sample test items visit California CLAD/BCLAD Examinations Study Guides for tests 1-6.
Statistics and executive summary of California's limited English proficient population from Review of Research on the Education of Limited English Proficient Students: A Report to the California Legislature by Patricia Gandara (1999).

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