Technology Workshop Reflection - Oumar Ba

award_nite_294Attending the 2011 NALRC Summer Institute was not just for me a learning experience: it was also a voyage of discovery. I don’t have a linguistics or languagepedagogy background. In fact, I have never enrolled in a single linguistics course in my curriculum; I’m a student of political science. So coming here, I was in a new territory in which I have learned so much in the course of two weeks. For that, I give credit to our two excellent instructors, Steve and Joe. You two are incredibly efficient  and talented in conveying the message of the Summer Institute. Thank you for yourhard work.


The second point I would like to address is the very diverse and dynamic group that I have had the honor and chance to interact with during these two weeks. I have learned a lot from the elders  amongus. In the academic world in which we navigate, we tend to focus so much on the scholarly  articles  and books that we read, to the point that we often fail to acknowledge the wisdom of our elders, from whom we also can learn so much.


Let me briefly tell you a story that I heard one day from one of my professors, who is Nigerian. A youngman in an African village thought that he was so smart that he was even smarter than the eldest person in his village. And he would prove that to everyone. So he went into the bush and caught a little bird that he brought back to the village, tightly held in the palms of his hands. Then he called everybody in the village to show that he was smartest person in the community. When the whole village gathered, he asked the eldest: “Is this bird that is in my palms dead or alive?”


In fact, the boy’s intention was to crush the bird until it died before opening his hands if the eldest said that the bird was  alive. If he said that the bird was dead, then the boy would just open his palms and let the bird fly, to prove the old man wrong. Little did heknow that the old man was wise enough to answer his question in these terms: “Young man, the answer to your question is in your hands!” So to you, our elders, who were willing to share with us so much wisdom  and knowledge for the past two weeks, we say thank you and God bless you.


Thank you all.