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Teaching Online: A Rollercoaster Ride to a New Normal

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Wait! What? Why am I teaching English language communication online? And, really, is it becoming the new normal? Yes! After teaching almost 200 hours online (150 academic & 50 InterPlay), I can proclaim a resounding Yessssssssssssssss....
It’s the 2020 Pandemic. I’m an educator. I teach international students advanced oral English communications at the Georgia Tech Language Institute (GTLI). Hop on the rollercoaster! Suddenly in the spring, I went from teaching students face-to-face sharing a physical classroom space together to conducting classes with them from my laptop, the etherspace whooshing around us.
That etherspace managed through Bluejeans (Georgia Tech’s online platform for classes) sometimes connected us beautifully. Other times, students suffered broken connections, weak connections, audio filled with static, no video, no audio, and just complete failure to get online or to return once they were dropped. That was the learning curve! It was fast and furious. 
Students upg…

SISTERS ON FIRE: IGNITING CREATIVITY THROUGH INTERPLAY

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You are enough. What you create is enough. I have a mantra: “Not good. Not bad. Just is (Thank you Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones).” To the extent that you want to “play” we will be fanning the ember of your creativity in our time together today releasing all judgment of outcomes.–Ruth Schowalter, July 18th, 2020
Women from around the world who attend our monthly Global SIS: InterPlay were offered this invitation to ignite their creative spark in a recent playshop. Each July, my collaborator and SIS co-founder, Canan Arikan and I have chosen to highlight CREATIVITY. Fanning the flames of our creative souls seemed even more important this July while all of us are managing our lives in the midst of a global pandemic.
Making marks and doing that without fear is one of my persistent goals for many of my InterPlay playshops. Therefore, I generally ask everyone to “draw” something as they arrive in the Zoom room. An advantage of being in our individual Zoom “boxes” online allows a c…

Honoring Ramadan at the Hidden Monastery Dance Chapel with Canan Arikan

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-I feel love and peace in mind. I feel like I am standing in front of God and dancing happily…
-I felt light and warm with gratitude.I felt grace...
On May 20th, 2020, a few days before Ramadan concluded for 2020, the Zoom chat box was filled with comments from 7 women from Turkey, 2 from Iran, 1 from India, several Americans and others – most of us currently living in the United States. 
It was at this moment that I had two InterPlay worlds – Dance Chapel and Sustaining International Sisters(SIS) – collide to honor Ramadan, a deeply religious time period for Muslims, the religion of my Turkish and Iranian friends. 
I began leading the Wednesday night Dance Chapel in Cynthia Winton-Henry’s Hidden Monasteryat the beginning of April because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. There were so many of us sheltering at home, that Cynthia expanded these interfaith dance chapels from only Monday and Thursday to every day of the week. Our Dance Chapels use elements from InterPlay.
Then there is the world of S…