Celtic Resources to Enrich St. Patrick’s Day

cross by garage

While many folks will be spending St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S in the traditional way, listening to the Pogues and wearing funny green hats, we here at Wide Open Research prefer to take a more scholarly approach and get lost in the many wonderful Celtic resources out there.

So, first I will likely get up and listen to the Pogues perform, “If I Should Fall From Grace From God.” Then I will eat yogurt, which is not really Celtic at all, but what I usually eat for breakfast.

Then, it’s right to work.

First, I will check out the UC Berkeley, Celtic Studies Webpage, one of the most venerable programs in the U.S. This site contains a link to an interesting story about the best cities in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, which uses an interesting formula, as well as a brief interview with professor Daniel Melia.

Then I will linger a bit on the website and imagine that I have an abundance of time and money and can spend time in California, taking both their courses Celtic 105A, Old and Middle Irish, as well as 173, Celtic Christianity. Having neither the time, nor the money, I will simply google onward!

Why, not take a youtube break and listen to James Joyce reading from Ulysses posted by Dor Shilton.  As I am certainly no Joycean scholar; I can only appreciate this as a fan. The sound quality is quite poor, but for me it only adds to the aching beauty and melancholy, as we must concentrate to listen through the mists of time.  The cadence and tonal quality of his voice is musical, almost meditative, and best appreciated not in an effort to comprehend, but as a balm, to soothe the soul and as a reminder that language can be beauty incarnate.

graypath

While not specifically devoted to Celtic Studies, the University of Edinburgh, Celtic and Scottish Studies has a link to internet resources that should serve as a nice resource to bookmark.

Wow, I’m getting a bit tired now, so much learning, so little time! I think I shall end my wild St. Patrick’s Day celebration with a bit of Yeats, my entry point for Celtic beauty, way back in 11th grade English. I think it shall be of course, a lovely reading of When You Are Old, through the wonderful Poetry Foundation website.

“And I loved the sorrows of your changing face…”

Sigh.

So, how does a Wide Open Research reader integrate these themes? One of my favorite lessons from student teaching was an assignment when the students read a poem and then drew an image or scene from the poem. Their insights and acuity were wise and inspiring. I would simply say, the best way to  honor the spirit of the Celts is to honor creativity itself, especially through songs, stories, poetry, folklore, and a deep appreciation for the power of language to resonate across time, between cultures, and into the fiber of our souls.

For more great poetry, check out the work of Robert Fanning. 

 

 

Ramayana Translation Project-Patience and Perseverance

How long will it take you to accomplish your dream?

For Robert Goldman, distinguished professor in South and Southeast Asian Studies UC Berkeley and Dr. Sally Sutherland Goldman, senior lecturer in South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, the answer is “about 40 years.”

That is how long the Goldman’s toiled at the painstaking research required to complete the Ramayana Translation Project. The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic, written nearly 3000 years ago, in which Prince Rama attempts to capture his wife. Of course, a one sentence summary can not do justice to a 50,000 line epic, that professor Goldman states, “Think the Illiad and the Odyssey and the Bible in one package, and you might get the sense of it.”

One of the main messages we can give our students is that accomplishments require tremendous effort-sustained, patient, effort. And that, as we learned from the great work of Walter Mischel and others through the Marshmallow Test- this habit of delaying our gratification for a greater reward is a skill that can be learned.

As the Wide Open Research community knows, I am striving to help educators share the great work of brilliant researchers like the Goldman’s, but also to help students learn how researchers chose the path they chose. Many students do not have access to individuals in their circle of family and friends who pursue advanced degrees. This lack of a robust network of highly educated individuals limits their access to those careers.

It helps to know that professor Goldman achieved his success not only through his intellect, but through hard work and  by following his passion through choices he made along the way.

snow-and-treewaiting

I am very grateful, for Dr. Robert Goldman for taking the time to answer a few questions about his “career” path.

Dr. Goldman shares how he started off in one direction, but like so many of us, changed paths to truly follow something that inspired him,As a premed student in college I had a desire to learn as much about things of which I was utterly ignorant as I could. Since I was at a university (Columbia) that offered a wide range of subjects, I took a course on Asian (the called “Oriental”) civilizations. I became fascinated with the culture and history of India and changed my major to Sanskrit Studies.”

What are some skills that he learned that he believes teachers could help their students with?

Goldman states, “ The skills that this discipline taught me and should be taught as widely as possible are those connected with philology,  that is to say, in essence, with learning how to read carefully and critically.”

It should be noted that professor Goldman did not really have a sense of pursuing his love of languages until sophomore year in college at Columbia.

I asked him if he would have done anything differently that might have benefited  him and he noted,” Probably I would have taken the Latin course that was offered. But that might have set me on a different track than the one I took.

So, how do we as educators, help our students develop their intellect, and help them develop to their potential?

Teachers need to excite students  and inspire them with a love of learning. But to do so they themselves need to have it,“ according to Dr. Robert Goldman.

Here is hoping that we all have the energy to re-kindle that inspiration that brought us to the education profession in the first place- to put aside the data analysis, lesson plan curriculum cross-walks, the incessant standardized test preparation and love learning again.

For then, we will be able to help our students love learning as well.

Thanks to Dr. Goldman for his time to share his thoughts with our small blog and to the work of Robert and Sally Goldman for inspiring us through their 40 year journey in completing the Ramayana Translation Project.

In a perfect world, their accomplishment would be celebrated throughout the cities and villages, and their work would be given to every graduating senior in America with the admonition, “Learn, Read, Persist.”

But for now, we will simply say thanks. (And read the Ramayana Translation Project!)

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why does the Ramayana story still resonate today?
  2. How do we develop patience and perseverance as skills with our students?
  3. What about the work of Dr. Robert and Dr. Sally Goldman is inspirational to you?
  4. How do you develop the skills of philology as Dr. Goldman notes, “learning how to read carefully and critically?”
  5. What are you passionately learning “to excite students and inspire them with a love of learning?” as Dr. Goldman encourages?
  6. What else does this inspire you to “dream, learn, do?”

For a link to more info about the Ramayana Translation Project, please click here.summerblooms