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Hello Everyone! Check out our new blog for teachers here at Language ETC:


Language ETC has hosted its first Services Fair, and we’re happy to report it was a big success! On Thursday, October 14, daytime students spent the end of class learning about the 13 organizations that participated in the fair.   

Our students don’t always have access to information about the services they need, nor do they always know where to turn for such information. Thanks to the Services Fair, students will be able to take advantage of services that they otherwise might not have. Here are a few examples:

  • A student who is facing deportation will be represented by an immigration attorney from the Patel firm on a pro bono basis.
  • A student who is homeless learned about temporary, non-shelter housing and legal representation for the homeless.
  • Several students learned that all workers, regardless of immigration status, have the right to: 1) receive minimum wage ($7.25/hour); 2) receive a paycheck every 2 weeks; and 3) work in a safe environment free from physical and/or sexual abuse.
  • Many students learned that they can go to the Catholic Charities dental clinic to receive low-cost dental care.
  • Many students learned that, regardless of their immigration status, they have the right to heat as well as other rights.

A big THANK YOU to all of the following organizations for participating!



Catholic Charities Dental Clinic

Capital Area Asset Builders

Casa de Maryland

Columbia Heights Shaw Family Support Collaborative

D.C. Language Access Coalition

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Housing Counseling Services, Inc.


Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

The Patel Firm

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Elias wrote a great essay about Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. It’s an exceptional piece of analytic writing. Enjoy!

Stardust is the story of two worlds, magical and non-magical, that are aware of each other. Despite this, they still don’t coexist together. They keep separate from each other for several reasons, maybe the magical world is too dangerous for the normal, maybe they work in different ways or simply they just don’t know much about the other.

The book tells the story about a young boy name Tristran, on the quest for love. But Tristran is not like the other boys. Tristran was born differently than anyone in both worlds. His father crossed the boundaries of what’s normal, during one of the faerie markets, in which the worlds get together, only for one day every nine years. In this market Tristran was conceived, and even though Tristran was born in the Faerie world, his mother sends him to his father in the normal world.

Tristran grew up in a very normal way, he was just a simple shop boy. But when Tristran finds himself promising his love, Victoria, that he will go on a quest for a fallen star as proof of his love, he’s going to discover that in the magical world, things aren’t always what they look like. His star is not just a star, but a young lady, who Tristan, upon discovering this, still wants to take to his love. On the way back home, Tristran and the star find themselves going through adventures together.

            As in many fairytales, in the magical world there are witches, princes and princesses and different magical creatures. But in “Stardust” Neil Gaiman presents something different, reading through the book one will notice that the story is twisted, uncommon and darker that other typical fairytales.

            In the first place we have the Stomhold Kingdom and the way that their Lord is chosen:

“Privately the eighty-first lord had hoped that by the time his end came upon him, six of the seven young lords at Stormhold would be dead, and but one still alive. That one would be the eighty-second Lord of Stormhold and Master of the High Crags; it was, after all, how he had attained his own title several hundred years before” (Pag 58)


While in other stories one has to draw a sword out of a rock or maybe just be the firstborn, Neil Gaiman presents such an odd way of choosing a leader.From my point of view, this makes some sense; a leader needs to have some determination, drive and maybe some coldness for making good decisions.

In “Stardust” there are many magical creatures, among them is a beautiful white unicorn, an animal traditionally seen as a powerful source of magic and treated as a sacred creature, but here the evil witch doesn’t treat it as such:

“She walked around the coach and opened the door. The head of the dead unicorn, her dagger still in its cold eye-socket, flopped down as she did so.” (Pag 175)



“The witch-queen reached down and pulled her knife from out of the beast’s eye-socket. She sliced across its throat. Blood began to ooze, too slowly, from the gash she had made. She walked back to the carriage and returned with her cleaver. Then she began to hack at the unicorn’s neck, until she had separated it from the body, and the severed head tumbled into the rock hollow, now filling with dark red puddle of brackish blood” (Pag 175-176)


             The mere fact that she killed the unicorn makes the book different, and  its’ death is described as much more graphic, bloody and dark. That’s what Neil Gaiman tries to do. He wants to give us a good fairy tale story, but for a different audience, a much more grown-up audience.

 Furthermore, the way that “Stardust” ends is definitely not the “kids’” ending. They didn’t lived “Happily ever after”; it’s more like “Till death do us part”:

“Tristran and Yvaine were happy together. Not forever-after, for Time, the thief eventually takes all things into his dusty storehouse, but they were happy, as all things go, for a long while”

            In my opinion, it’s a very sad ending for Yvaine and it’s described in a very subtle way, even though she did live a very happy life with Tristran and they were happy, at the end, he had to die as a normal human being that he was, and she’s left alone as an immortal being. In some parts this resembles reality, because sometimes we lose things we love, and not everything in life is happiness or sadness, there cannot be one without the other. And maybe sometimes we need a little sadness in our lives to appreciate the happiness that we have in it.

           Ultimately, “Stardust” is a great fairy tale story, but not the typical kids’ fairy tale. Neil Gaiman suggests that these types of stories can be enjoyed by older people too, and he makes his point by adding a twist; killing and blood and a unique ending.

Idalecio Neves writes eloquently about the relationship between culture (music, art, etc.) and politics.

Culture and Politics have coexisted since the beginning of human life.

Human beings have lived in permanent relation with the environment. This interrelation has allowed men to use what exists in the earth to develop tools and ideas for generations. By creating new relations with the environment surrounding them, people of different parts of the globe found means to express themselves for centuries. These expressions are what can be seen as culture.

While culture has been used to gather different people, differences still exist because of the interests of some leaders. For many situations, countries fight against others and the consequences have been bad for all of them. It is culture that can provide a powerful means to balance the negative effects of the decisions made by politicians.

                 2010 Summer Institute
                  Saturday, July 31, 2010
            Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library
            901 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Both sessions are from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
D-1   Finding the Funds
Rachel Lindy, Development Coordinator, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts and Harmony Through Education
Today’s fundraising market is anything but easy. In a world of tweets and updates the possibilities are endless, but it can often be overwhelming and stressful. This workshop will guide administrators, board members and fundraisers through online and paper-based fundraising tools in order to create the most successful plan of action for you. We’ll touch on both grant work and individual giving.
D-2   ESL Teaching Survival Guide
Chantal Ross & Gusman Edouard, ESL Instructors, School for International Training
This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of teaching in the ESL class room. Participants will examine research-based, best practices of language teaching and the theory behind them through experiential learning and will put theory into practice.
Please Return the Attached Pre-Registration to ALRC
                      Pre-Registration Deadline: July 29
Fax: (202) 727-0193      E-mail:     Register Over the Phone: (202) 727-1616

Language ETC is a member of DC LEARNs, an adult literacy, education, advocacy, and resource network in DC.

DC LEARNs runs the Literacy*AmeriCorps program through which we receive a member, (Anne this year, someone new for next year). Applications are now open to serve as a member through DC LEARNs, and if you or someone you know is interested, please visit the link below:

Serve as a 2010-2011 Literacy*Americorps Member

Also on the DC LEARNs website is an ESL teacher’s testimony about giving students a voice through English language instruction. Her points and conclusions seem to parallel the motivations of many teachers here at Language ETC. To read her testimony, please visit the link below:

Our Classes Give Our Students a Voice

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If you can’t tell, these women, one teacher and two students, are looking at their cell phones!

At Language ETC, we are all about technology. The computer lab is a big part of the classroom experience here.

You can practice using technology by going online. You can create your own blog using one of these sites:

You can create your own email by setting up an account on one of these sites:

And of course you can support Language ETC on Facebook! The link to our page is:

You can help us by giving feedback. Feedback means letting us know what you think, what you like. What kinds of computer skills do you want? What kinds of skills do you have, but would like to improve? Are there any websites you’d like to study in class, such as or the Let us know!