Experience of the day:
Had a crash course in neuroplasticity and early literacy skills today. I also was casually given a test on the English language and felt the dumbest I ever had in quite some time. Fun quiz for you, and don’t google the answers (at least not until you have actually guessed and absolutely have to know):
1) How many sounds are in the English language?
2) What letters do no words in the English language end with?
3) What is a phenome?
These were all things that were on a 20 question test, and the average score at the table was abysmal. The test, given at teacher in service days, had an average score of 22%. It was odd to feel that inept at something so basic. And amazing to see what young kids could do when taught by methods supported by science.
What I’m thankful for:
1) My health. I might weigh a few more pounds than I would like (which I am working on changing), but by and large, I am healthy. And that is something so many people either take for granted or can’t say about themselves.
2) My employment. Maybe it was a bit arrogant of me, but I don’t think that I ever considered the possibility of being unemployed. Not only am I employed, in so many ways, I might have stumbled upon my dream job without even realizing it.
3) My family. I’ll be the first to admit that I often take my family for granted. And I really shouldn’t. Still not sure how to change that, but maybe it will change over time. But I do have two amazing parents and two awesome siblings. I’m not even going to try and do the tallies for my extended family because for Indians the line between friends and family is often blurry, if existent at all, but I am really lucky to have that kind of connectivity.
4) My opportunities. Not too many people can say that they have had the chance to work on something truly unique. I’m doing two things that are, being a part of the Inaugural class of Venture for America Fellows and working for the Downtown Project. Yes, this is similar to number 2, but it is different.
5) My fellow Fellows (NC and VFA). I’ve had great experiences of the last four years with Fellows in different contexts, and they have been great to the point that I am determined to find a group of Fellows where ever I go from this point onward.
6) Sort of related to the above, but sometimes distinct, my friends. As much as I say that I would be perfectly happy to go live in a cave by myself for a year (I still maintain I would be!), I have been incredibly fortunate to find myself in contact with the motley mixture of humanity that is my friend group. I don’t know if there is any common characteristic that is common for all of them, and I kind of like it that way.
7) Having the resources and opportunities to travel. Life would be a lot more boring with out them.
8) Having a place to stay in Las Vegas. There aren’t too many options in Downtown right now, and I’m glad to be in the nicest affordable one.
9) Mangoes. Right now, I have fresh mangoes, mango lemonade, mango juice, and mango pulp in my fridge. No shame.
10) Watermelon. I seriously ate about slightly less than a quarter of a large watermelon for dinner. Don’t judge.
11) The internet. I hate it sometimes because of how much of a time suck people allow it to be, but at the same time, it does so many wonderful things. I think of the great power/great responsibility quote.
12) Great teachers. I haven’t really thought about it before, but I have had some pretty amazing teachers over the course of my life, not just the ones that I have had in high school and in college. The value of a great teacher cannot be underestimated and is often undervalued.
13) Having the resources to move my life across the country. Not many people can do that.
14) New people to have good conversations with. I still consider myself an introvert. But I do love getting to know new people Now if only I were better with names…
15) The US Men’s National team finally beating Mexico in Mexico. Now if only I had been able to see that game.
16) Community dinners. Something so much fun about bringing together a group of people for a collaborative dinner and good conversation
17) My mobility. Having a car. But also having the ability to walk and take it for granted. For some people, getting around is a lot more difficult.
18) Smartphone! Finally got one on Saturday. I haven’t become a total addict, and hopefully I won’t. But it is so nice to have greater access to everything. Despite the fact that Siri doesn’t like me and my network access is sometimes a bit wonky.
19) New experiences. I hope they never stop.
20) Coffee. Caffeine doesn’t effect me (unfortunately) but I do love having coffee in the morning time.
21) Optimism. I might be young and naive, but I am endlessly optimistic, (despite being a self-professed cynical optimist, and yes I know that is contradictory).
I’m confused. Did the items on this test seem very important to you? Knowing how many sounds there are in the English language doesn’t seem very useful to me… but maybe you can tell me why it would be.
The test itself wasn’t a big deal. I’m fine not knowing things. It was what the test was testing that frustrated me. There is actually a logic to the English language, and it is one that almost no one knows. The talk was about how 50% of people are hardwired to get language without needing to understand the logic of the language. For the other 50%, if they don’t get the logic and don’t strengthen those pathways, they get left behind.
I agree with Ovik’s opinion about the “logic” of a language. There are some people who learn many languages effortlessly because of their understanding of logic of the language. Most of us learn language un-scientifically.
My two cents.