Amsterdam's Most Colourful Alley

“I’m not political. I just do this for the people,” says street artist Hero de Jeneiro pointing to his multicolored creations along Wijdesteeg, an alley in Amsterdam just off Dam Square. Jeneiro and friend Ottograph began pimping up the alley in May and it’s been a growing hit with locals and tourists ever since.

Hero, who’s a DJ and artist “You pay, I play—or spray,” he jokes, is painting the Wijdesteeg from his own pocket and has spent 700 euros to date. The goal, he says, is to make Amsterdam beautiful, but also to reawaken the city’s progressive roots.

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Adverbs: Use them or not?

I recently wrote a blog entry (on adverbs), which highlights something I often confront during my career—mainly, teaching English versus writing it. As an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, I’ve noticed students often avoid using adverbs, though I’m not entirely sure why. 

For those who hate grammar, adverbs are those words that look like adjectives + ly (words like: slowly, deliberately, immediately, etc.) They emphasize and add girth to actions (she wrote hurriedly) and modify adjectives (he was devastatingly handsome), which makes speakers sound so much more fluent.

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Learning by Doing

The Chinese have a proverb that definitely applies to teaching. It goes like this: "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand." As a teacher—though I could easily interchange this term with facilitator or guide—I believe real learning happens in action.

This thought isn't totally new. Education reformer Dr. Roger Schank believes the educational system is fundamentally flawed and suggests (and I paraphrase) that just as life requires us to do more than to know, it makes more sense teaching students how to learn by doing than mere theory alone. In other words, if we think back to when we first learned how to ride a bike, the only way to really "know" was to get on the thing, fall off a dozen times and eventually succeed in staying on.

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