Friday, August 5, 2011

Identity Theory, Wikipedia Wanderings, and Foot Pedal Cramps

Since coming back from Nationals, and with no more travel on the horizon, I have pretty much settled into the following schedule:

     Morning: Work on dissertation (usually writing, but occasionally reading)
     Afternoon: Summer RA work (redesigning the third year Arabic curriculum)
     Evening: Transcription

If I have dance class or am meeting friends, one of these gets skipped (usually the RA work or transcription).  This is more hours than I care to work in a day, but so far it is working out, primarily because I know that I only have to do it for a month and everything is going well within these categories.

My dissertation is going well because a new theory book came out in the nick of time, and so I have the theoretical framework (the identity approach to SLA*) that was causing me so much difficulty tamed (or at least I think I do, we'll see what my advisor says when I send this chapter in).  Even better, in addition to using this theory to approach my research and provide useful insights into the context, I can also demonstrate how my research can problematize and improve this theory.

The RA work is also going pretty well, and is a good thing to do in the afternoon because I am too tired to think deeply about identity theory, but still alert enough to make good teaching activities.  Also, I know that any time I put in now will save me planning time during the semester (when I will also have fellowship commitments, teaching, job applications, etc).  Finally, searching for quality authentic materials is fairly interesting, even if I occasionally open Wikipedia Arabiyya to get articles on Egyptian newspapers for students to compare and somehow spend fifteen minutes reading about different types of leopards.

I can push through the transcription (an activity I truly dislike as readers of this blog know) because I usually dance or workout beforehand and this gives me a new burst of energy.  I also have a glass of wine which makes the tedium slightly more bearable.  But most importantly, I know that if I do this through August, I will be done transcribing, which will require a party of truly epic proportions (my husband is already bribing me with fancy honey mead).  Then I can have my evenings back for watching mosalsalaat, reading, and playing with my cats.  So hopefully this will work, especially as I am starting to wake up with leg cramps from my foot pedal*.

So here's hoping for a long, but promising August!

*Obviously this theory has been around for a while, but it is gathered together in a very clear fashion in this book.  If you are thinking what kind of SLA theory is this, I can only assure you that it is the best kind :-)

*You would think that Highland Dancing, which involves jumping high on the ball of the foot for 2-3 minutes at a time while doing all sorts of other fancy moves would give you strong enough leg muscles to prevent this, especially when it makes your calves so large you can't wear boots that go above the ankle or non boot-leg pants.  But no, apparently operating a foot pedal involves different muscles.  I just hope it counts as cross-training.

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