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*In the Works

May 2006
June 2006

What's Happening at RCAguilar.com !!!
July, 2006
On the road to recovery!
On the morning of 22 June, 2006, I checked into King's Daughters Hospital in Temple, TX, for the surgical excision of a lipoma. The fatty tumor was located on the inside of the leg in the upper left thigh, from the groin halfway to the knee. After check-in, I was taken to a hospital room where I was partially prepped for the surgery. After a short wait, I was taken to the OR, and don't remember anything after that.
Apparently, all went well - and when I woke up all I could say was that I was hungry! Heartfelt "Thanks!!!" to the surgical staff at KDH, and a special thanks to Dr. Montany for his expertise and care.
Health consciousness is a major issue in most European and Latin American countries.
In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland people are more prone to eat natural foods, rather than prefab goods or "fast foods." And everyone walks miles every day!
Most Latin American countries also follow suit. Curanderismo is a the practice of self-healing through natural means: whole foods, herbs, massage therapy, and hygiene.
Tips for Travel to Europe
Are you planning a trip to Europe? If you're planning a trip to frequently visited European centers such as Paris, Berlin, Prague, Rome - virtually any major city - think about getting your room in an inn or pension on the outskirts of the city. This can save you a bundle of $$$ right off the bat - and gives you the opportunity to sightsee more remote areas.
So much of the time people spend lots more money than is necessary in international travels. Once you've arrived at your destination, take the local train or streetcar to the last stop outside of town. There, look for a room at an inn or a pension. Less expensive and more quaint!
Be sure to take a good pair of walking shoes, so that you can explore the village you're in - and walk all the way to the sights you want to visit. Health-consciousness is a European way of life ...

Self-Education versus Formal Education


If you've ever spent time working on "various computers" - that is, computers belonging to different people as well as computers in various business locations, - you will note that each and every computer has different programs, different settings, different capabilities. That is pretty much the same way we are as individuals. Each of us has different programs, different settings, and very different capabilities.

Formal education attempts to "normalize knowledge" for the individuals involved as learners, but provides little or no consideration for the variables involved as "differences." People learn at different paces, different levels, by different means. It is more up to the individual to learn whatever the subject matter is by his/her own capabilities.

As a teacher of foreign languages, I provided vocabulary lists that were frequently extensive. It wasn't up to me to decided which words/terms the students were to learn - other than basic vocabulary used by ALL speakers of the target languages. Because students have different interests, differing directions and aspirations, different vocabularies, I allowed them to learn a specific number of terms, but those appropriate for themselves as an individual.

If a person doesn't eat broccoli, s/he doesn't need to learn that word in another language. If you don't work on carburetors, why do you need to learn that term in another language? Almost every profession has its own "-ese" - meaning its own specific set of terms (legalese, medicalese, avionicsese, etc.). It would be ridiculous for every student to be required to learn every professional term for every profession in his/her native language - and by the same token it is ridiculous to expect that they learn "irrelevant vocabulary" in a foreign language.

As a teacher it is most helpful to be able to facilitate learning by providing resources that learners can use to help them in their studies. Nowadays there are extensive resources for just about any topic, especially through the internet, so that it is not really justifiable to require any specific text or textual material for any given course. Established curricula cover extensive areas for any given topic, but again, very frequently information can be overlapped and repeated to such a degree that learning becomes stunted.

Most of the failures that I have seen in student behavior and formal evaluations have been the result of ineffective teaching. A teacher who establishes criteria based on ego and megalomania does much to quash incentive and progress in formal learners. When the student is the focal point for classroom activities - rather than the information or the teacher's desires - there is more likely to be achievement and success. How many teachers have I seen who threw their hands up in the air and stated: "I just can't do anything with this student!"

More often than not, it isn't the student's fault. This is comparable to a computer that cannot open "particular documents" simply because something in the formatting doesn't match a particular program's settings. Teachers who focus on doing things one way and only one way have set up their classroom for student failure. The effect of this behavior generally has life-long repercussions, and sets the student up for continued failure. What kind of teaching is this? Any teacher should be willing to learn how to present information in a variety of ways. If we can't be excited about figuring out how to get a point across, we shouldn't be in the classroom.

I encourage any self-learner out there to dig and find resources that will help you achieve your goals. Such resources can provide helpful information for areas not covered in the formal classroom. By the same token, if you're in a formal classroom where ineffective teaching is transpiring, use that as an example of "how NOT to teach." Above all else, keep in mind that the world is your textbook, and life's lessons will never stop teaching you something. So make it a point to keep on learning!

June 2006
August 2006