Friday, October 4, 2013

Immense Russian Soul of Immens Beauty by Elena Matyjenko from Altai Krai Barnaul, Russia.

Immense Russian Soul of Immense Beauty!

Matvienko Elena, Age: 14, Gymnasium 22, Barnaul, Altai Krai, Russia,

       Teacher: Oksana Aleksandrovna Petrova

Immense space of immense beauty
You can see in our land!
For example, pretty bushes,
Many mushrooms and big glades,
Spreading trees, the longest borders,
Lovely woodlands, picturesque lakes,
You can see in our country
In my dear motherland.
Fresh, cool air, fluffy clouds,
Only fields around you
I will quickly go down
On the covering and you?

I invite you to come and visit Russia! You’ll see such а fabulous beauty, that you can only dream of. But the most important thing is not the wonderful, beautiful world that you see outside, it is the world that lies within the people’s souls. It is certainly even more vivid, intense and inspirational. All this is because the inner world of our people has a soul, a real Russian soul with sheer veritable genuine Russian heart. One way you can discover this wonderful penetrative world very well, is through Russian dance. Being the most ancient and richest of the arts, dance is very interesting, multi-faceted, bright and carries a huge emotional charge. Fashion and time cannot change it, and moreover, make it disappear from the face of the Earth, since it contains the history of the people, who created it. Every generation holds sacred the memory of their ancestors and protects all that reflect their lives.

I am proud to be a part of an amazing Altai Model Dance ensemble called “Ivan da Mar’ya .” I have been performing in this ensemble for more than ten years. And I can say with precision what each traditional Russian dance conveys a certain history, its essence and character. We offer our audiences a marvelous variety of Russian dance-stories sometimes familiar, sometimes esoteric, and always filled with the distinctive Russian mixture of endless energy. Exuberant emotions, bright costumes, happy and cheerful faces, like nothing else show the real happiness and fun of the Russian people. Imagine a wide rampant orgy, flying in the immensity, the very peak, when you want to give a piercing shout from all the deep emotions overwhelming a dancer’s body and soul. Further all of these emotions erupt and fly out like chicks that escape to freedom from their mother’s nest; and all the dancers shout loudly, sensually and expressively: "Hey!" At this very moment, having excited all the spectators, the dancers themselves feel shivers running through the skin. The legs of all the people who are watching, dance by themselves and they continue until the end of the music. But the end of the music is not the end of the dance. Literally, in less than a second all the thoughts and feelings that you experienced and lived in the dance pass by in your head. You make a light sigh, then, you make a graceful bow and then comes the grand finale! You can feel that exhilarating and entertaining feature of Russian traditional dance that makes people intensively watch the performances of “Ivan da Mar’ya” and many other Russian dance groups. They are not only fascinating and enjoyable, they also make one think. You will also notice there is hardly any person in the audience who isn’t admiring the beauty of the Russian music with its distinctive sounds of folk music. During our performances you can hear typical ethnic Russian musical instruments which are usually the gusli, balalaika, zhaleika, contrabass, bayan, accordion, Gypsy guitar and the garmoshka. Our folk music had great influence on Russian classical composers, and in modern times it is a source of inspiration for a number of popular folk bands.

  Russian Folk Dances that our dance group likes to perform can generally be divided into two main types of dances: The Russian Khorovod, a circular game type dance where the participants hold hands, sing, and the action generally happens in the middle of circle, and The Russian Plyaska, a coed circular dance that increases in diversity and tempo. Other forms of Russian Folk Dance which we also like to perform include The Pereplyas, an all-male competitive dance, The Mass Dance, an unpaired stage dance without restrictions on age or number of participants, The Group Dance, a type of mass dance that employs simple round-dance passages and improvisation, and types of Quadrille’s, originally a French dance brought to Russia in the 18th century.

We like to dance various ethnic Russian dances in our ensemble. They are the khorovod, barynya, kamarinskaya, kazachok and the chechotka (a tap dance in bast shoes and with a bayan).  We have also got a dance called “Masha and the Bear”. In this dance there are a lot of small children who act as bears, one big bear and one little girl “Masha.” The story dates back to 907 when Great Russian Prince Oleg, in celebration of his victory over the Greek in Kiev, kept 16 male dancers dressed as bears and four bears dressed as dancers. Dances with performers dressed as bears are a reoccurring theme in Russian dance competition!

Another part of the story is the folk Russian costume! You will certainly believe it remains a priceless treasure of intrinsic culture which the people have accumulated over the centuries. I don’t think the Russian folk costume is only just a bright original element of culture; it is also the synthesis of various types of decorative art. Until the mid-twentieth century it conveyed traditional cut elements and use of materials and ornaments typical of Russian clothing in the past. I heard from my teachers that the formation of the composition, cut, and ornament features of the Russian costume were influenced by the geographical environment and climatic conditions, the economic way of life. Important factors were the historical and social processes that contributed to the creation of special forms of clothing. The role of local cultural traditions was significant. The folk costume has become an integral part of the artistic look of Russian people at various Folk festivals and other dance parties. People wear costumes performing round dances at wedding ceremonies and gatherings. The Russian national costume is being developed by modern designers.

I like all the costumes in our ensemble and my favorite is “Russia”, as we usually call it. The basic color of the costume is white. The hemline of the dress is embroidered with golden thread. From the bottom stretches an endless band, which represents the earth. Spreading and at the same time curling stems grow out of the land. Beautiful flowers are in blossom on these stems. Paradise birds with long wonderful tails sit on these flowers. A transparent cape covering our arms trembles a bit and soars with every stroke. On this cape there is a collar in the shape of a dome. And on the collar a shiny bell is hanging. There is a crown on the head. It shines like the sun. And all of this costume is embroidered with golden shining glitter.

As you see all the things in Russian dance both music and costume are connected with nature. Russian peasant labor has been creating the beauty of Russian nature for centuries. Peasants still continue plowing the land and so they learn its certain dimensions. They measure fields going through them with the plow. A farmer walking behind a plow, plowing and harrowing has not only created "polosynki" rye, but leveled the forests and shaped its edges, creating a smooth transition from forests to fields and from fields to rivers or lakes. Smoothing the ground, man has been smoothing all its sharp edges, hills and rocks. As a result, Russian nature is soft, neat and tidy. The Russian landscape is mainly formed by the efforts of two great cultures: the culture of man, that softens and sharpens nature and the culture of nature, which in turn softens all the imbalances that have inadvertently been brought into the people. On the one hand, the beautiful landscape is created by nature which is ready to learn and recover all that is somehow broken by people. On the other hand, such beauty is created by man who trimmed all. In this case the balance arises between the environment and a human. And in most dances people show that harmony. An Indian guru and spiritual teacher Oslo said “Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers - for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.” I can say the same thing about Russian dancers. They always smile! And they do not need any reason for doing that. Moreover, they smile even when something hurts, and all this because when you go out on stage you forget about everything and think only about the stories experienced in dance. Feelings during the dance can be different. You can experience climbing the mountains and getting their good tidings, nature's peace flowing into you as sunshine flows into trees. You can even perceive the freshness of winds blowing into you, and the energy of storms. You can live trough the love of a young girl for a young man who went off to war. Feeling all that while dancing you understand that “all your cares drop off like autumn leaves.”  Whatever thoughts and feelings are, I still remember the nature of my motherland Russia! So I can definitely say “Dancers’ hearts away from nature become hard”.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the beauty of Russian nature and people! No matter how much you hear about it, how many stories you read or how much you think about it, you will not understand Russia until you see these wonderful Russian landscapes and gorgeous Russian dances with your own eyes. Only then will you feel the real Russian soul!



Sunday, January 2, 2011

A few words from the editor Hugh Bilton

Teaching – surely is a ‘Noble Profession’
To pass on knowledge to future generations, but a noble profession doesn’t come without its challenges or without its frustrations, whether your teaching in the USA, Australia or Armenia, Peru, or Poland, the constant search for a balance of real teaching time – the teacher student interaction and the time spent preparing, planning, juggling paperwork and documentation, whether at school level or government level. Of course there are always limitations of facilities or resources or the ongoing need to upgrade those facilities/resources in the ever changing educational environment. But thanks to TEA and other teacher enhancement programs throughout the world step are being taken to improve the teachers lot.
Education systems as you will see in this book vary from country to country, from individual schools within those countries, as do facilities or resources within those individual schools but once again it is as an individual, as a teacher that the most important development can occur. So when you’re down always remember teaching is a ‘Noble Profession.
                                                                                                                                Hugh Bilton, Australia

During Christmas Break, Hugh Bilton and Anna spent a valuable time on editing and organising the articles. In deed, it was incredible to read all TEA articles from different parts of the world:

Dr Terry Janicki, Prof Del Harnish and Shannon Lovett, Waldemar Sedkowski, Oksana Petrova, Nana Tatiashvili, Modou Mbaye, Mutahar Hussain, Saliou Sarr, Irina Barilenko, Rita Banerjee, Efrian Davila Salazar, Varduhi Grigoryan, Erick Fuentes... . 

Now, they will be retyped and sent to the authors and Dr Joe McNulty to prepare final version for publishing. Please, do not forget include the pictures of you, your schools/students (as the attachement) and references (in the article).

Happy New Year 2011.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A collaborative Small Grant 2010: The Image of International Teachers and Students

Click on the photo and you will see pictures from a Collaborative Meeting in Krakow. :)

A collaborative meeting in Kraków, Poland.

On snowy Sunday morning we appreciated the possibility of continuing our project work, the reason being it gave Waldek and me an occasion to reflect on TEA scholarship in the USA supported by IREX and our embasies. Waldek was hosted by State University of Nebraska and I had a pleasure to be at Nebraska University. The valuable experience we gained was the issue of our hectic discussions. What`s more, the valuable people we met for 2 months have become our great penfriends and collaborates in this project. We also appreciate next opportunity as alumni, namely a chance of hosting US TEACHER - in my case even two: Denise and Allyson - in our cities and schools. Thank you to all who support the teachers all over the world (and according to our final song), the ones who make a better life - just for our students and a better world. Feel free to share your memories from TEA PROGRAMS on our blog.

A collaborative meeting in Kraków, Poland.

Over the weekend 10-12 December 2010 Anna and Waldek met in Kraków to work on the book-project. They corrected the layouts of all articles, sent emails to all collaborates,planned further work. In addition, they organized all articles and also contacted the publishing companies. The deadline for all corrections and articles is 22nd December I would extend it to 31 Dec 2010. We would like to ask all authors FELLOWS to finish their work, send profile pictures and photos from schools and work to Anna. Waiting for the news from you. Best regards. W&A P.S.While working Dr Joe McNulty was calling us and checking if we are making any progress. Thank you for the support :)"

Authors` Bibliographies

Dear collaborates,
I am presenting bibliographies of the people who decided to enrich our book project and share their experience with others.
Thank you for your effort and support,
Varduhi Grigoryan
Quantum College, Yerevan, Armenia
Varduhi has been teaching English at Quantum College for two and a half years. She teaches students of varying English fluency through a wide range of ages. Varduhi creates ELMs for teaching English at secondary schools and organizes different trainings for her peers to develop new approaches to teaching. She received her bachelor`s degree in English from Gyumri Pedagogical Institute in 2005. 

Md. Mutahar Hussain, Science teacher
Anjuman Adarsha Government High School
Netrokona, Bangladesh .
Md. Mutahar Hussain has been teaching social studies in a public secondary school in Netrokona, Bangladesh for the past 18 years. He is a convener of Students` Welfare Fund and member of the Tibbin and Milad Committee to encourage students participation in extra-curricular activities. Md Mutahar obtained a Master of Science from Chittagong University and Bachelor of Education from National University. 

El Salvador
Oscar Erick Fuentes Prudencio
Centro Cultural Salvadeño Americano Secondary School
San Miguel, El Salvador

U.S. Host University: University of Nebraska, Lincoln

He has been working as an English teacher for seven years; in a private school named Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano in San Miguel. He obtained his Bachelor´s Degree in English in the year 2008. He participated in the Teaching Excellence Achievement Program (TEA) Spring 2010. Oscar has new English teachers, he has been part of a radio program designed to teach English through radio, and was member of the thesis defense jury. He was one of the presenters of the National Conference for teachers of English in El Salvador and also had the opportunity to work with a group of students in a public school in the United States in the TEA program. During his free time he enjoys going out with his family, watching television, going to the movies, and meeting new people.

Rita Banerjee, English and History Teacher
Carmel High School
Kolkata, India 
U.S. Host University: University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 

Rita Banerjee has been teaching for 17 years. She currently teachers English literature, language, history, civics, environmental science and life skills education. Her students range in age from 11 to 18 years old. In school, she participates in teacher training, curriculum development, and induction of new teachers. She holds a meter`s masters degree in English and a bachelor`s degree in education as well as diplomas in computer education. Her hobbies are reading, watching films, and bird watching. 

Efraín Dávila Salazar
San Jose Obrero School Marianists, Trujillo, Peru.
My name is Efraín Dávila Salazar. I am 33 years old. My nationality is Peruvian. I have a
Licenciatura on Secondary Education with the Specialty of Foreign languages: English and German from the National University of Trujillo, Perú. In addition, I have finished my master thesis and will soon defend it to get the master degree on Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I am an English teacher. I have been working at San Jose Obrero School Marianists for ten years. I love teaching and I consider myself as an effective and successful teacher. Besides, I also work at El Cultural centro Peruano Americano, where I teach English as a Foreign Language. I love teaching, traveling and learning foreign languages. I also like meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures. 

Irina Barilenko
Physico-mathematicla School Specialized Scientific Study Center
Novosibirsk, Russia

U.S. Host University: University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Irina Barilenko has been teaching English language at a school specializing in physics and math for the past 12 years. She is Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and provides training for her peers in teaching methodology. Irina received a diploma of teacher of English and German languages from Omsk State Pedagogical Institute in 1988 and a postgraduate study certificate from Novosibirsk Institute in Philology in 2008.

Modou Mbaye
CEM Sikilo Quest
Kolda, Senegal
U.S.Host University: University of South Florida

Modou Mbaye has been teaching English in Kolda for the past 9 years. The age of his students range from 13 to 17 years, and on average he has about 85 students in his class. He received his bachelor of Arts degree from Cheike Anta Diop University in 1999 and his certificate of teaching from the Senegalese National Teacher Training School in 2000. 

United States
Chuck Morgan
East High School in Lincoln.
For the past 16 years he has taught Geography in the Lincoln Public School District. In his first year, he was part of a three-person team that wrote the standards and expectations for the new geography curriculum. He also helped select the textbook used by the district. Since then he has continued to be involved in making an impact in the district and on the children’s education in the area of geography. Eight years ago, he left the classroom for nine weeks as the sole writer for the new 9th grade geography curriculum and standards that were implemented district wide. Today, he is continuing to work with a panel of high school geography teachers that are focusing on the direction of today's discipline of Geography. He is proud to be making our students able to organize geography into a coherent body of knowledge, because the need for geographic knowledge is as old as humankind itself. He is one of two A.P. Human Geography teachers in LPS, (Brian Burback of North Star H.S. is the other,) certified by A.P. Central , The Geographic Educators of Nebraska, and the National Council of Geographic Education. In 2005, at the National Conference of Geographic Education, he was awarded the Distinguished Geography Teaching Award from the National Council of Geographic Educators, at the National Conference in Montgomery, AL.
Bachelors degree - Geography and History from the University of Nebraska Lincoln 1995. 
He plans to continue his quest for knowledge by beginning another Masters or a Ph. D in Geography.

Brian Burback, East High School, Lincoln.

Dr Del Harnish, UNL University
Ms Shannon Lovett, UNL
Dr Terry Janicki, California State University.