My Religious Journey Going Backwards

I looked around at the scraggly bunch of kids dressed in their everyday clothes. I said to one of the other guys “You’d think they would put on their better clothes.” and the reply came back “They are wearing their better clothes.” Here I was at a school in the hills in the north of Vietnam wondering what I had got myself into. I was surrounded by primary school kids at a free primary school that was kept alive by the Global Languages Center GLC a Vietnam non profit based in Hanoi. These kids had nothing just the clothes on their backs that hadn’t been washed for I don’t know how long. I liked going out with this group because we seemed to end up with the poorest of the poor. This school was on the edge of a major tourist centre and they had been marginalized by society. In Vietnam there was no safety net like in the West and they were living off handouts from Charity organizations and the group I belonged too was very active in this region. I do volunteer work for a number of groups and for this group I taught English to poverty stricken kids.
I like Vietnam and I usually come here every year for up to 6 months if I can. I live in a Hostel in Hoan Kiem in Hanoi right next door to the Catholic Cathedral. I can look out the window and see the Cathedral looming up into the pollution and in the morning I’m woken up to the bells ringing at 5 am. Then I get up and join the morning walkers and go for a run around Hoan Kiem lake about 5mins walk away. On the weekends there is no wheeled traffic so we have the road to ourselves.
The Cathedral is an amazing place. During the mass you can hardly get a seat and during the Homily the priest walks up and down the centre isle talking. Here there is no English Mass so I go to another Church for an English Mass. This is held in a small chapel beside a bigger Church where they hold the Vietnamese Mass. This is basically a student church where everybody is University age and they are all learning English. Sometimes I go to their learn English meetings to give them somebody to practice their English with. That is also an amazing Mass with the Priest speaking English and walking down the center isle asking questions to the parishioners. I will mention one more church in Hanoi. This church is the most crowded church I have been too. There are rows and rows of seats outside the entrance door and along both sides of the church with outside loud speakers so the parishioners could hear the Mass. When I first went to that church I just couldn’t believe the numbers of people. I just stood there amazed. In the West church numbers are dwindling but not in the East.
Before I ended up in Vietnam I was in and out of China since the end of last century. My first Christmas in China, back in 1994 I think, was something else. I started off to go to the main Cathedral and the police had the church surrounded and the only way in was through a police checkpoint. Now I am not used to walking through a police check point to go to church So I walked to a smaller church where I knew the piano player. When I got there it looked like the little church was closed, there were no lights on anywhere. There was an old women sitting behind the closed gate and when she saw me she opened the gate and let me in. The church was nearly full and they were all sitting in darkness. Then at 7pm the lights came on and we had Christmas Mass and at 8 oclock when the Mass was over the lights went out. In those days the church was paranoid possible because of the attitude of the government. I think the church people were quite pleased I was there for Christmas Mass because the authorities would not do anything with a foreigner there and I am not Chinese. And they did say someone from the Government office came and had a look. After Church they were taking photos and I didn’t want my picture taking but the piano man said it was safe. The piano man spent 19 years in prison because he was a Catholic and when he was dying I told two priests he was dying and nobody gave him last rites. His funeral was during a usual Sunday morning Mass at the little Church as they were not allowed to do extra Masses. There were very few people there.
After that night China opened up and those days were gone. A few years later I was back in China for Christmas. I was on the bus going past the Cathedral and there were these crowd control barriers on the side of the road and they stretched for over a kilometer from the Cathedral. To get to the Cathedral to go to Christmas Mass you had to walk inside the barrier. The police were still there but they were not checking anyone and there were people everywhere. The police were there for crowd control and to keep us safe. I went to the little church again and this time it was ablaze in lights and colour. The police were there but they were just maintaining the peace. Anyone could come and go as they pleased. It was an amazing change from what it was like to now. I could hardly believe the difference.
One of the most amazing Church services I went to was an unregistered Mass on Saturday evening. All that meant was the Church had not told the Government they were holding a church service. It was not advertised so there were not many people in this huge Cathedral where the only lights were at the alter. We were all sitting in the dark in this amazing over 100 year old building, and in there was the closest I got to God. I used to go every Saturday evening then the Mass was registered so the lights went on. And there was no more amazing feeling that I got sitting in the darkened cathedral where you could not even see the ceiling as it was so dark and so high. Sometimes modernization has its disadvantages.
In the Cathedral last time I was there back in 2014 there were 6 big TV screens 3 on each side so you can see what was happening at the alter. The English Mass started at 3pm and you had to get there at around 2:30 to get a seat. Then they brought out stools and there was still standing room only. And there were 6 Communion stations in different parts of the Cathedral, and Communion was organized chaos but we all somehow managed to get Communion.
Another honourable mention was at a Trade Fair my bag was X-rayed and I had a Crucifixion Cross in my bag and they stopped and searched my bag until they found my Cross. When they realized it wasn’t a weapon they gave it back. But they did not realize it was the greatest weapon they had ever seen.
Also when I was gallivanting around Asia I used to go to Church online in Secondlife at the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island. That was amazing and even there I was part of a church community and I felt like I belonged. Also I would usually go to the prayer meeting that were held every night. When I went back to the West the time zones did not match up so I stopped going.
Back in my home country at my Catholic Church I was one of the volunteers that helped during the Mass. On any Saturday evening when I was at Church I could be a greeter, the person who hands out the leaflets at the door to the church, a reader where we read the scriptures to the people in the church, a Communion Minister where we administer either the wine or the bread to the congregation.
I go to this religion because I was brought up a Catholic, I went to a Catholic Primary School and I followed the Catholic Program through the church. But as I got older I went to different churches to see what they were like.
And on Sunday evenings I went to a Church service for ‘street kids’ and the lower socio economic bracket. And it was simply amazing, mind you anything that was not bolted down went missing and once the church was broken into and the microwave and a few other things were taken. We were sensible and left nothing in the church where as in a nearby church on another occasion all the musical instruments were stolen. Anyway at this church they started off with a meal then there was singing and dancing and preaching and it was something completely different to organized religion that I was used to. And there I had my first chance to do some preaching and I loved it. I do know my Bible and as I am a teacher I’m used to being in front of people so I just fell into place. In that church I could do things I could never do at my Catholic Church.
Going back further I was a part of the Jesus Revolution handing out pamphlets and talking to people on the street. That was my usual Friday night back in the day, but that all died out and now it is a distance memory.

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The Old Saying “If You Give A Man A Fish And You Feed Him For A Day But If You Teach Him To Fish You Feed Him For A Lifetime” Is Very True But Sometimes Hard to Implement

The Old Saying “If You Give A Man A Fish And You Feed Him For A Day But If You Teach Him To Fish You Feed Him For A Lifetime” Is Very True But Sometimes Hard to Implement

When I was teaching English in Hanoi Vietnam I tried to help a homeless man better himself. He got fired from his job of parking motorcycles, mainly because he was useless and I was very soon going to find out how useless he really was. I met him across the street from where I lived. I used to walk past him on the way to the bus stop and as he spoke English he started talking. I mean he spoke English but he didn’t understand anything I said. A sort of a one sided conversation. As I was his only friend and he was probably my only friend I used to take him to lunch in the cheapest place I could find. He had a few psychological problems, mainly to do with self esteem, as he would bore the pants of anyone who tried to talk to him by reviewing his life history. So he had very few friends.

I used to run around this little garden and do exercises in the morning and he ended up living on a park bench in this garden, so I saw a lot of him. He left his boarding house as he couldn’t pay the rent and in the summer this garden was a good place to live. Anyway I saw a lot of him, he had no money and he was too proud to ask for any so I took him to lunch. He couldn’t get a job as he was pretty useless so I tried to work out what he could do. He wouldn’t become a beggar, he was too proud for that or not hungry enough. He would rather starve than become a thief as he was pretty honest. So what could we do. In the end we settled on polishing shoes. Now that was something he could do, I hoped. Anyway I set him up with the polish and the brushes and off he went.

Now I was very worried as my visa was running out and I would have to leave, so I had to get him up to speed pretty quick. Not an easy task. He had no motivation and for him to live he needed to polish five shoes a day, but that was nearly an impossibility. I told him what to say to the foreigner and he still couldn’t get it right. I took him round the streets and showed him shoes that needed polishing and nothing happened. Another saying crossed my mind, “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

A Call To Anybody Living In Hanoi Near Hoan Kiem Lake Can You Go To The Hoan Kiem Library In Hanoi Just See If My Homeless Friend Is Still Alive, His Name Is Van. Thank you.

To find out more about homeless in Hanoi go here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L20URNG/

And for more about living and teaching in Hanoi Vietnam click here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1537458337/

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My Introduction To ‘Teaching Goes Massive’

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I just a call to do a demo class for grade one students at a local primary school. Now when you are doing a demo class you don’t really know what you are in for. I had already been teaching kids in China for a number of years now, so I always expect the unexpected. But I never expected what I was getting myself into this time. Most schools have what they call a multi-media classroom that sits around 300 students. So when I got there, there were around 300 students sitting in their class groups and they were squeezing more in. The multi media classroom is like a mini lecture hall with the teacher at ground level and all the students are looking down at the teacher. All I had was a cordless microphone, a whiteboard and an overhead projector, and a whole bunch of flashcards I brought myself. The whiteboard was near useless as the pens were not very bright and the kids couldn’t read.

Anyway I turned it into an entertainment event. I would say “How are you?” and then point the microphone to the kids and they would yell back “How are you?” or “I’m fine and you” depending on how much English they knew. Then I would call out the class groups, like Class 1 and they would answer. I would do this hopping between classes. As I held out the microphone to each class, they tried to yell the loudest. Then I walked up and down the stairs to get a bit closer to the students. And they were making the most of the microphone. I would keep the questions really simple like ‘How old are you?” “What class are you in?” On the stairs I could ask “What is your name?” As long as all the classes had a chance to speak, they loved it.

Then I started showing the flashcards. They were simple animal flashcards ideal for grade 1. I would put the flashcards up on the overhead projector, sliding them into the light so the whole flashcard slowly slid into view. And the students had to guess what animal it was. It was actually dead silent in the classroom as I slowly slid the picture down into view. Then the yelling started. As they all tried to out yell each other. Then I would put the flashcard up on the whiteboard, with little magnets I used to carry with me. I made up sentences with the flashcards., like “What color is the elephant. Class 1?” Class 1 would answer and if they couldn’t I would call another class. As long as every class was involved they loved it A lot of fun had by all, and to date I would say that is my most successful class. It was my introduction into ‘Teaching Goes Massive’

Teaching kids in Asia is a ton of fun, but you need to put in a bit of effort. Kids love you if they can do things in your class, as there is a lot of pressure to succeed. If you can turn your class into a fun class and the kids learn a sentence or two, then everybody is happy.

For more information about teaching in China click here. http://animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Teach-In-China.html

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

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Prepare Your Children For The Future NOW

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The future of education, as well as nearly everything we do is changing, and to be a part of the change your children need to be internet savvy. And one of the best ways to be internet savvy, is to let your children get onto the internet as young as they can. Then when they go onto school, university and beyond they will be prepared for the future. The alternative is quite simple, they will be overtaken by the children who have been brought up on the internet.
Let the internet be the teacher. Show your children how to search the internet to find what they are looking for. Youtube.com, khanacademy.com and whatever the internet can provide, will be the teacher. Then if you want more, find it on search. And if you can’t find it, put it on the internet yourself, and you can become the teacher to any child who wants to learn.
That is the future of education, where anybody and everybody can be the teacher, and the internet is the classroom.
The world is changing so fast it is nearly impossible to keep up. The internet is changing life as we know it. Your children are growing up in a Brave New World. And we the parents and your children’s teacher are just not keeping up. Everything your children will learn at school, is available at the click of a mouse, or just a touch on a screen. But are they learning how to click a mouse or touch a screen. Are we really teaching them, what they need to know to survive the future.
To survive the future your children need to know how to read and read fast. At the moment we are still teaching them to read. If they are learning phonics, so much the better. But can they understand what they are reading. Reading comprehension is the key to the internet. Nearly everything your children will do on the internet, will have something to do with reading, understanding what they are reading and typing something.
You have all this information at your fingertips. And the internet is information, but your children have to read and understand to make use of it. Also to survive the future, your children have to be able to find the information they are looking for on the internet. And that means SEARCH. They must know how to search the internet to get the information they are looking for.
These are the skills for the future. Are your children learning them? If your children can master these skills, they can find and understand everything they want to know. Everything else at school is just a click away. But your children can learn these two skills by themselves on the internet. There are learn to read programs on the internet. And you can search to find out how to search the internet.
The Internet is changing everything we know.

To find out more click here

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MOOCs And What To Do With Them – From a MOOCer

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MOOCs are what the internet is all about. They epitomize the internet as it is – a library at your fingertips. And they are amazing. They say the half life of information is getting very short. By the time you have finished four years at university, half of what you have learned is already obsolete. Now MOOCs come in to keep you up to date. Since the MOOCs are so new they are very up to date. I was on one MOOC about archaeology and the videos were taken on a archaeological dig nearly in real time. If MOOCs evolve to instant information you’ll be getting live cams in real time. Now that is education.

Anyway what is a MOOC what do you do with them?

MOOCs are the future, but with the internet some fads are just passing phases that don’t last very long, One minute they are all the rage, and the next they have been replaced with the next major fad. I hope MOOCs don’t go the way of the dinosaur, then I’ll have nothing to do in my spare time. I’m really selfish.

Doing a MOOC is about you and your time management skills, your ability to juggle –
job,
wife,
kids,
time
and whatever else makes up your life.

And setting short term goals that last about a week, so you do everything you have to complete the MOOC.

It also means reading instructions
and interpreting them correctly,
so you know what you are doing,
and what has to be completed,
and when it has to be handed in,
so as to speak.

Just like being at school except it is all up to you. No one is breathing down your neck.

Just the thought of getting a “Certificate of Accomplishment”
That could be all you do a MOOC for.
And or the satisfaction of learning something new or old.
Or you are into life long learning, and need something to show for it.
Or you are sick of MMOGs and now what to try the next best thing.
Or you need a few extra papers to put on your CV, just to add a bit of color to your CV.

And the “Certificate of Accomplishment” is an impressive looking piece of paper, as long as you have a half way decent color printer. It has the name of the university in big letters, so it looks like you have done some serious study. And to be honest you have.

You have to set aside at least 2 to 4 hours each week just to cover the workload. But if you get trapped in the forums you could spend a lot more time on the paper. Forums are really fun and you meet many new people, but they come under the virtual friend category. Once the class is over that is goodbye to your classmates, same as in real life. Anyway you can have some wonderful discussions when in the class.

To Find Out More

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What Happened to the world-class universities that live in the dying superpowers of the 20th century.

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Singapore did something to combat the rise of China and that is why they are where they are today. They have positioned themselves as a financial center and an educational center, but they are only a pimple on the very edge of Asia. Their rise is partly due to the fall of the 20th century superpowers of the USA, Europe and Japan. If these super powers were not drowning in debt then Singapore would not be as important in the world as it is today. It is very possible that Shanghai and Singapore will be the leading financial centers in the world very soon.
In the past it seems foreign universities flocked to set up in Singapore, but now I think the flocking is to China. They have to flock away from the dying 20th century superpowers to survive. And the only places to go are the far east, the near east, the middle east, the eastern bloc and a few out of the way places that no one wants to go to. Now Russia could be the next education center competing with China, or more likely they will be working together.
When you have to learn Mandarin and Russian to go to university then the balance of power is complete.
If America keeps finding oil and natural gas on their soil and Europe does the same we could wave goodbye to the Middle East as an up and coming education center, where I think education is free.
Free education could have been the start of the demise of education in the west. When the government pays, the price goes up.
In the dying 20th century superpowers, universities lived of government funding and government guaranteed student loans. So the price of education kept increasing, and that has priced them out of the market place. Now if you want an education it is cheaper to leave the dying 20th century superpowers, except Germany, and go to the East. There you can learn the language of the future as well as get a degree. And if you play it right you can get a scholarship from their government, or your government as is the case in NZ.
Then you can stay on and work in one of the 21st century superpowers.
Now the biggest change to hit mankind since the printing press or fire for that matter, is heading to a university near you. And when it gets there, change is the word. Will the universities of the 20th century upgrade or downsize, or go extinct to accommodate the new generation. The generation who have been brought up in front of a screen, in cyber space. The generation who can get what they want at the click of a mouse, or the touch of a screen. Are they going to go to a physical campus or a virtual campus? Are their internet friends who they have never met going to influence them to go to a virtual campus. Or will their classmates from school drag them off to a physical campus. Only time will tell.
http://www.dcl.niu.edu/index.php/labs/virtual-world-lab/124-niu-glidden-campus-in-second-life
MOOCs are an introduction to courses at a physical university, but they are also an introduction to the virtual university world of the future. And they introduce the MOOCers to what they can do in cyber space. How many MOOCers will now attempt an online university instead of going to a physical campus. The change MOOCs are inflicting on the future hasn’t got here yet, not surprising they have only been around for a couple of years. Give them time.
Now with the after affects of the 2007 economic crisis still with us. Where lots of graduates still haven’t got jobs, maybe the mindset of get into university at any cost is no longer relevant. And cost is the factor and so is the major. So where can you get a world class education at a price you can afford. Try going to the East or cyberspace. It is still cheaper to go to the east now, but that might change as the internet generation comes of age. Also as universities have priced themselves out of the market place and the half-life of what you learn at university is getting shorter, why go to university. All you need is a diploma in a specific subject and you could get a job. Better still get the diploma while you are working. Not four years later and anything from $20,000 to over $100,000 in debt. And when companies accept MOOCs on a CV then education is free, anyway so far.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

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All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

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From the Pope “Parents’ vocation to educate children”

 

(Vatican Radio) In his catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis focused on the role of parents in the education of their children, which he called “an essential characteristic” of the family. 

To read more click the link below

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/05/20/general_audience_parents_vocation_to_educate_children/1145382

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

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