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My “scone” story at University of Oregon


Published Date : Dec 27, 2017


My “scone” story at University of Oregon
By Thanaporn Sripakdee
2017 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program
At University of Oregon, Eugene

The love for scone started one chilly morning when I walked to a cozy coffee place at Lillis Green Building on campus and I did not know what to order but A scone. Scone was the easiest word among other pastries at the display that I could clearly pronounce. I was very aware because many times when I ordered food, people did not understand my Thinglish (English+Thai). Being Careful enough in choosing, I successfully owned a scone and after a bite I knew that I didn’t force myself to fall for this scone, I just fall. My Thai curry and rice breakfast routine has been replaced and pretty well adapted to; “Can I have a 16oz Cappuccino and a scone, please?”

After two weeks of starting off my day with the flecks of mixed berries and sweet glaze on scones, I discovered that this diamond-shaped delicious dough acrostically forms a series of my first semester at the University of Oregon (UO);

S is for where I work. Self-Study Language Program at YLC (Yamada Language Center) sweetens my teaching experiences. With dedicated and talented colleagues, I am very inspired with different techniques and advices of teaching my native language. For example, Jeff Magoto, my super knowledgeable supervisor created ANVILL-LTI (a web-based application for language teachers) which has been helping my learners and me become more interactive and autonomous in learning Thai. With ANVILL, it allows my learners to connect and reflect their Thai experiences wherever they are by recording their voices, videos or writings. For instance, Jonathan, one of my advanced students practiced dubbing Star Wars movie trailer in Thai and recorded it through ANVILL from his house. Another example is A beginner 60-year-old learner, Jerry, shared his experiences about going to Thai restaurants and watching Thai movie in Thai. This way of reflections makes learning language and culture more valuable and accessible anywhere. More important, I am able to read and give feedback which keeps the learners and me connected both outside and inside classrooms. Moreover, my vice-supervisor, Harinder, brings in a great professional learning community. She observes classes and give feedbacks to tutors which I find it very important as we are able to share the useful teaching ideas and techniques. She reminds me that teaching is experiment, and teachers can always be students that never stops learning to create new strategies. C is for what I experience. Cross-cultural experiences are the major part being a FLTA. The experiences started right after I met with other FLTAs from all over the world at the University of Arizona. First cross-cultural experience were languages. Every FLTAs were assigned to teach their language in the theme of weather. Within 2 hours, I learnt to speak 6 different languages from 6 different cultural aspects about weather. This experience helps me realize that each culture interacts and talks about weather differently, yet, we all learn to understand each other. Furthermore, living and studying at UO, Eugene evolves interacting with more than 20 nationalities. The great example for this is joining ICSP (International Community Service Program) by UO. ICSP gives scholarship to 14 students from 14 different countries and FLTAs are included too. Here, I learn and understand many cultures, values, beliefs, trends and norms such as Elderly nursing home resident in America. I could never agree to send my parents to a nursing home as in our culture we believe that taking our parents when they get old is the greatest gratitude. However, after an explanation from my instructor, Abe, I realized that leave his/her parents at the nursing home does not mean that they don’t love each other. Every of them have their individualism and they do not want to bother their children. Also, they can still see each other from times to time. At the end of every ICSP classes, I carry out the lesson; never judge any people or culture base on my own.

O is for how we work. Throw your “O” is a gesture that the photographer will ask you to do when you come to UO. Throwing your “O” is not only an iconic gesture but also how everybody works here. My instructor, Trish, from my language teaching class, throws her “O” in every lesson I have with her. This means that she cares about our learnings and how we learn. She comes up with new activities to allow us to express our ideas as much as we can. She demonstrates and show us many teaching techniques to get us ready to throw our “O”s in our teaching duties. For example, she invites speaker to the class in the topic of Graphic novels. The lesson was very valuable that I can link to my Thai class by creating my small version of graphic novel or comic. Another person that I have a chance to work with is Gary, our multimedia expert. He throws his “O” by helping me with my IT for classroom, my painting art project and showing me his cuban music. Being in UO shows me how people throw their passion in their work along with beautiful relationships.

N is for why I feel small. Nature, especially, big trees on campus makes me feel small and humble. One of my favorite walkway is the Douglas firs line path towards McKenzie hall where YLC office is. The path is 1 mile long accompanied by Douglas firs on both sides. With many other big trees on campus such as Red Oaks, Incense Cedar, Down Redwood and California Laurel create friendly walking routine for everyone. Not only trees but also UO is the home of Steve Prefontaine, an American long-distance runner. Therefore, there are many trails and parks along big Willamette River built in honor of him that spread influence of running in the pursuit of health. The nature of Eugene forms my love for walking and running. It reminds me that there are bigger things to take care of and to be humble to not destroy its beauty.

E is for the city. Eugene literally means “wellborn” in Greek and the city definitely owns that meaning. Eugene is the home of UO, Self-Study Learning Center, Cross-culture, “O” passion and nature. I feel so thankful to be able to Explore all of these aspects through a SCONE. FLTA program is shaping me to have the better references of American and international culture through my Thai cultural background and language. Thank you to Fulbright Team, Thailand who has helped me to be where I am and learning what I always dream for.