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Lessons on impermanence

I am reconstructing two years of blogs that were lost overnight, and using this as an opportunity to learn some lessons about impermanence.

First, the story: Apparently I neglected to renew the hosting of my blog. I also naively assumed that everything out in cyberspace stayed in cyberspace forever, and could be easily retrieved.  Wrong.

This lesson came on the heels of another huge loss: the death of my mother, Anna Marie Walter Faulstich: a remarkable woman who was mother to eight children, grandmother to fifteen, and great-grandmother to three.IMG_0442

Now losing a webpage is not the same as losing a loved one. But losing my mother helped me to take the loss of these two years of work in stride, and to really absorb a life lesson that is so much more profound than it seems when expressed in a few words on a page.

Things – words, ideas, and people we love – really can be lost forever.
So too can glaciers, languages, species, polar ice caps, cities, and nations – things that are being lost from our planet even as I write these words.

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We have no guarantee that what we take for granted will be here tomorrow, next week, or next year.

If we’re lucky, the things we love can be around for a long time – as my mother was for 94 long, healthy years.

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But we can be sure they won’t be here, if we don’t care for them.

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I can (and will) reconstruct much of my blog, but we can’t rebuild the polar icecaps.  We can’t resurrect species that have gone extinct.  We can’t retrieve lost languages. We can’t bring back the dead. And we can’t know the impact of these losses until we have lost them.

If we really took in these lessons on impermanence, how would it change the ways we live?

Language, Learning and Love

Welcome! Use the pull-down menu in the upper right corner (“Research, Teaching and Writing) to find information about my work on these inter-related themes: Language Brokering, Cultural Modeling (pedagogical design connecting in and out of school practices), pedagogies of heart and mind (an approach to learning we take at B-Club, an after-school program in Los Angeles that connects elementary school youth and UCLA undergraduates),  immigrant youth and families, and gender/literacy and power.  You will find links to public blogposts, academic papers, Youtube videos, course syllabi and more. I invite you to leave comments: your reactions to my work, sharing of your own work, and dialogue with other readers.

On this main page you’ll find my blog, which offers ongoing reflections on these and other issues.  I have been thinking about these matters of heart and mind in41T4j75d6sL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ different ways since 1983: first as a classroom teacher, then as a researcher of language and literacy in immigrant communities and a designer of pedagogies, and always as a learner myself.  Topics include:

  • Reports from a new study I’m conducting on the impact of Covid-19 on family life and learning.
  • Reflections from my ongoing research on language and literacy practices in immigrant communities, both in and out of school. See a new volume I co-edited, along with Inmaculada García Sánchez, on connecting home and school practices:
  • Reflections on ethnographic research and other methodological issues.  See also my 2020 book: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Ethnography-Activity-Transformative-Research/dp/113836102X
  • Reports from my ongoing research and praxis in at B-Club. See also my 2016 book: Immigrant Children in Transcultural Spaces: Language, Learning and Love)
  • Issues facing immigrant communities more broadly
  • Other random lessons from the grand School of Life