#DLMOOC: Significacio

Think of a time during your youth when you had a significant learning experience (in or out of school). What was it and why was it so significant?
Tweet your response with the hashtags #WhatisDL #dlmooc

So goeth the instructions for this week’s tweet. I need to tell the story here and then tweet it out from here.

I am an instructor at Western Kentucky University. I teach composition and literature and technical writing. I have a handful of international students every semester. This particular one held one from Armenia and another from China. One day after class they met in my office. They weren’t in the same class, but it just so happened that they converged that day on me. “Z” and Sun were among my favorite people in class. Full of hope. We sat around telling stories to each other, laughing at my lame jokes, talking about idiomatic and idiosyncratic stuff. I stepped out one moment for a cup of coffee and as I returned I heard the triumphal strains of the Russian State Anthem. Ā Ā  As I drew closer to the door my Armenian and Chinese students were clasped arm in arm and singing their guts out in Russian. I walked in. They kept singing.

I was gobsmacked. How did this happen? It turns out that “Z” knows at least four languages and that while he hated Mother Russia with all his heart, he did love the Russian Anthem. “Sun” on the other hand had grown up in a Chinese city that was a very common Russian tourist destination. As he said, “If you are around enough drunken Russians, you will eventually learn this song. They insist.” In my office from the far and near east I learned the true meaning of diversity. In its deepest sense diversity is not something you acquire; rather, it is something you invite. And sometimes it comes unbidden, but I learned that day to always welcome it to the party.


  1. // Reply

    Where’s the podcast of you singing the Russian song? Come on, man! Turn on the mic! (DJ Tellio)
    I love that they kept on singing even as you entered, as if you were only ancillary to the experience. (no offense) What I wondered, were they being ironic in singing the Russian Song of State? Was it a musical sign of resistance? (aka, Pussy Riot)

  2. // Reply

    Not effing hardly. There was shared joyful play there. No irony in these lads. They sang together because they could and the fact that they could was evidence of the power of diversity. A powerful affordance diversity is and a door through which a plenitude of other doors can be seen and opened.

  3. // Reply

    I appreciate the notion of “inviting” diversity. The school where I work is not particularly diverse, so I find myself trying to find ways to “introduce” diversity, but it seems to remain a guest who is trapped in my classroom. How can we foster the invitation to happen even when the teacher is nowhere around? šŸ™‚

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