Peace Corps’ Third Goal is a Charm

Peace Corps Honduras 1985-1987

This article originally appeared in the Peace Corps Hotline on 5/15/2010. It has been updated to reflect my past decade of work/life.

The Peace Corps has remained on my mind now for 30 years, fresh as the memory of the first homemade, thick, warm, corn tortilla that I ate with crude salt or the first taste of green mango with hot sauce, lime, and (more) salt!  Looking back, I realize that I have been involved in various Third Goal activities both formally and informally since my volunteer service in Honduras from 1985-1987.  I guess you really never stop being a Peace Corps Volunteer! For those of you unfamiliar with the Peace Corps’ Third Goal, here are all three goals of service with this US government agency: (Peace Corps, N.D.)

To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

My actual first Third Goal activity was while I was still serving in Honduras.  I submitted a quilt to the 25th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. The quilt was designed as a flag, with each stripe an arm, reaching out to help someone.  The arms got progressively shorter as the ‘collaboration’ was made with the receiver, and the last arm ‘shook’ the hand of the recipient. The design signified governmental agencies’ past efforts of distribution of goods and services, in contrast with the Peace Corps’ effort of working with host nationals to bring about change.

When I returned home from service, I asked that my family hold a reunion.  It was a great way for me to share my experience and give them all the gifts that I had brought back.  I didn’t’ realize it at the time, but I influenced one of my nieces to join the Peace Corps. Her name is Rachel (Rogers) Miller, and she served in Lesotho from 1999-2000. You really never know who you might persuade to serve, even at informal gatherings. In my case, I returned in 1987, and my niece volunteered 12 years later.

While pursuing my masters in teaching, I used a poem that I’d written about my Honduran neighbor, as part of a dance/spoken word performance I choreographed for the theater department.  If my Honduran neighbor only knew the profound impact she had on me with her small-framed presence, smoking her hand-rolled cigar, sitting quietly in her backyard among the banana tree fronds! It was such an honor, not only to participate as a choreographer but also to share my Peace Corps’ experience visually and orally with the university students.

After I became a teacher, I would share my Peace Corps’ photo album which included trinkets and a copy of Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” with my elementary students in Los Angeles. I’ve used it many times in the classroom. In addition, I shared my story with the whole school by organizing other returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to collaborate on a display for career week. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recruits former RPCVs for their bilingual skills, so at my school in East Los Angeles, there were three of us. The display case had photos and souvenirs from each of our countries of service. The students really enjoyed learning about their teachers’ work in the Peace Corps.

I’ve blogged about my PC experience on this WordPress site. I also attend Peace Corps informational events at my alma mater to answer questions and encourage others to join. Most importantly, I stay in touch with my fellow Honduran RPCVs not only to reminisce about the past but also because they became such good friends. PCVs become like a fraternity of friends because of the shared experiences and closeness that serving in a foreign country brings, especially during the hardships of second language learning and working in an underdeveloped country with norms very different than your own.

In closing, I don’t go around talking about the Peace Corps all the time.  Instead, I’ve embedded it into my life, work, and artistic endeavors.  As Shane Townsend (RPCV Bolivia 2003-05) said in a previous Hotline article, “The pursuit of the Third Goal is much like the Peace Corps’ experience itself; you’ll get far more out of it than you can imagine.” Part of that has been realizing that the third goal has been a charm for me. The Peace Corps is firmly a part of who I am even now.

References

Peace Corps. Retrieved from https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/

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Call for Comprehensive Commonsense Gun Reform

American Flag

Let me begin by stating that I don’t have the answer for gun violence in America, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand the situation nor advocating on behalf of those who have lost their lives to it.  This blog serves as a summary of the current gaps in legislation, school safety, consumer protection, and research.  The purpose is to consider all factors causing the problem and then develop problem statements.  Only by understanding the current situation fully, can we move forward with our objectives and (non)training solutions.

These ideas will, hopefully, help us to form a solid argument for gun control. Through revision from your feedback, and as I learn more details, I seek a plan of action based on commonsense gun laws. In my opinion, the current situation is riddled with inadequacies in regards to public safety due to lax and inconsistent laws.  Today, in honor of the #MarchForOurLives,  I advocate change for good and applaud those involved in making informed decisions about gun laws that aren’t based on political or financial gains.

School Safety- Here are some of the ideas being promoted that require proof of efficacy:

(A) Restrict entry to a single-point and require visitors to sign-in to limit access to nonstudents and nonpersonnel.

(B) Provide a sufficient number of resource officers and counselors in accordance with school size to address student and staff needs.

(C) Provide active shooter training and drills to prepare students and staff for such situations.

(D) Use metal detectors at the entryway to deter crime.

Gun Restrictions- There is a critical need to reform gun laws. Here’s a list of proposed measures to reduce gun violence: 

(A) Raise the age restriction to 21 to purchase a rifle or shotgun in accordance with the existing federal laws regarding handgun purchases from a licensed dealer.  Additionally, handguns and rifles purchased from unlicensed dealers (e.g., neighbor, gun show seller, or online store) should have the same age restrictions.

(B) Require comprehensive background checks on nonlicensed buyers and enforce a centralized database to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, suspected terrorists on the no-fly list, the mentally ill, and other federally prohibited persons. A panel of gun violence experts cited these as effective means to curb gun violence (The New York Times)

(C) Reinstate the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. This is supported by the American Public Health Association (APHA).  Gun violence experts also cited these as effective measures (The New York Times).

(D) Ban the sale of bump stocks that modify regular guns to perform as rapid-fire assault weapons.  This should already be strictly enforced by the government as it bucks existing federal laws for machine guns (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23); 27 C.F.R. § 479.11). See also 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b).

(E) Ban online sales of ‘ghost guns’ sold as maker kits that bear no serial identification.

Consumer Protection-The consumer is left unprotected in almost all aspects of gun sales. Congress should ensure unsafe guns are recalled through an oversight agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Our Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition. Currently, unsafe guns are only recalled by the manufacturers. Governmental oversight of unsafe guns was blocked by Rep. Dingell in 1972 and 1975 and has not been brought up for legislation since though many have tried (Bloomberg).

Gun manufacturers should be required to test guns to ensure they work properly. For example, according to the Bloomberg report, nine different Taurus guns may fire when bumped or dropped even with the safety on.

Gun sellers, as defined by the ATF,  should obtain a federal firearms license. Moreover, the ATF needs to provide sufficient oversight, as the US DOJ Report #1-2004-005 found negligence in their inspections of licensure.

Congress should allow the use of smart gun technology such as devices that scan the owner’s fingerprint before it can fire.  See President Obama’s memorandum based on the Department of Justice review (Federal Register), which reported its potential for reduction of accidental deaths by guns and use of stolen guns in criminal activities. Gun lobbyists kept Smith & Wesson from developing smart gun technologies through slander and a boycott of their products after President Clinton pushed the Gun Safety Agreement in 2000 with them. The APHA supports innovative technology to reduce gun violence and accidental shootings.

Research– Gun laws should be based on research and safe practices for society. Congress should lift current restrictions on federal funding for research into gun violence. For example, the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System needs support from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and D.C.

What other recommendations do you have?

Note: I’ve written 170 blogs on this WordPress site. This is the only political one.

Thank you to my followers!

Avatar sitting on a crescent moon
My avatar sitting on the moon in SecondLife.

With the new year, it’s time to reflect, plan, and show gratitude. Last year, my blog and Twitter accounts attracted more followers. Both now have 1K+ followers. It’s been a slow and steady increase, as I’ve engaged with educators worldwide since 2010 on Twitter, WordPress, and other social media tools. It’s not about quantity for me but quality. I want to thank you for your comments and positive responses!

New Academic Blog:  I invite you to read my guest blogs on the new AACE Review. AACE stands for the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. I’ve been involved with this organization since 2014. They host several teacher/IT conferences such as the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). My first blog was on grit and learning. This month, I’ve written one defining computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and sharing media selection criteria for CALL from researchers. For next month, I’m preparing interview questions for a CEO about a new speech recognition API.

Tech Tip:  As for new tips, I’m using Grammarly for the first time and loving the free version. I have the Chrome extension. The application checks your grammar and spelling in all writing situations including emails, blogs, and learning management systems. Grammarly sent me a report on my usage that was very insightful. This is a great way to check your past work, too. I work as an instructional designer at my College. No one generally checks my writing unless I ask, so I’m going through all of my online content. I’m doing the same for my personal blog and website! And yes, it would be a great tool for students to use.

Happy New Year!

Sandra Rogers

How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

See blog post from PBS below.

It could take a year or more to rebuild certain areas of Puerto Rico, officials say. Here’s how you can help.

Source: How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

Thanks to all my followers!

Heart Tagxedo for blog post imageI wanted to celebrate the milestone of reaching 1000 followers on my blog! Thanks to all of you who subscribe to Teacherrogers’ blog on WordPress.  My first blog post was in 2010, but I didn’t really become active until 2011.  This will be post #139.  I also blogged for TESOL International Association during 2011-2012 on their website.  Additionally, I blogged for a workforce education nonprofit I spearheaded in 2007-2009.  Some of those blogs have been republished here.

As a subscriber or regular reader, you know that I strive to provide you with relevant information on instructional design, learning theories, integration of technology and social media into the learning environment, as well as specific information in my areas of interest (second language acquisition, gaming, and e-learning).  My blog posts also serve as an archive of my learning.  This provides me with a place to review and reflect.  I hope my blogs have provided you with the information you needed or, at the very least, an idea or link to follow up.

Thanks again for following me on this journey of social blogging!  Please join me in this celebration by leaving me a comment.

Gratefully,

Sandra Annette Rogers

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Cartoon headshot of blogger, Sandra Rogers

Dear Readers,

Thank you for all of your comments and re-sharing of my blog. I’m so humbled to have such a growing readership. I hope I have created some useful content for each of you. Let me know if you have a topic of interest that I might can blog about. I also renewed my Podbean podcast and hope to interview educators, instructional designers, game designers, and innovators on learning. Let me know if you’re interested!

Since my beginnings on this blog in 2011, I tried to make it practical. In 2015, I decided to transform my blog into a scholarly one as I near the end of my doctoral program of study. I’m slowly going back to previous posts to update them to include citations and more precise advice based on research.

In 2016, I will continue to blog at least once a week to share my learning with you. Blogging is my way of reviewing information to help me remember. It also helps me to synthesize information to share with the educators I work with now. Whenever I find myself explaining something verbally, I check to see if I have a blog on it to share as a follow-up. If I don’t, I write one. My blogs have become job aids!

This is the year that I start, and hopefully complete, my dissertation on gaming for second language acquisition. I will share more on this topic once I complete the proposal.

Happy New Year!

Sandra Annette Rogers

aka Teacherrogers

Thanks to my 700+ subscribers on WordPress!

Dear Readers,

I’m not sure when it happened, but my blog subscription increased from 100+ to 700+ readers! Thank you very much for your readership. My blog is my landing strip to all of my projects, so I take great care in keeping it up-to-date. It also reflects my learning curve, as I post my homework assignments from my doctoral studies in instructional design. It’s very encouraging to know that all my effort in sharing is actually being received.  To celebrate, I thought I’d share a festive machinima I filmed at a cast party in Second Life. I’m the cat avatar. Enjoy!