Friday, February 25, 2011

What a week! Besides the usual work, on Thursday, the director of the math department, Macsar, and his family - wife Byemba, son Oogii and his girlfriend Duugi - took me out in the countryside. We had a camel ride - then climbed Turtle Rock - then had a lovely lunch - then rode the horses. It was a wonderful day - new adventures and new friends. Then, on Saturday, I had a felting show most of the steps - my fabulous teacher (she has some knitting for sale in the shop at the Louvre!) will be teaching me to spin, and to quilt my felting. So much work - so much fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Museums and Monuments
There are so many museums in UB. I've been to 3 so far - The Natural History Museum which has lots of stuffed animals in their native habitats, the National History Museum which traces Mongolian history from the Stone Age to now. Well done and includes a display of ethnic dress that depicts the various groups living in Mongolia. And, the International Intellectual Museum, which houses thousands of toys, games, puzzles, mazes, chess sets (worth the visit alone) and magic tricks. Lots of fun, you get to try some of the puzzles - apparently I'm not so intellectual! No photos are allowed in the museums, but, we went to the Chinggis Khan Monument and photos were allowed. This monument is an engineering marvel - 40 meters of steel and then set on a two story building, up on a hill! Impressive, needless to say. The first floor of the building has a shop and a place you can dress up, a big boot and a huge whip. The basement houses the Bronze Age Museum, and the second floor is mostly a dining room. You can walk up inside the monument and come out on the head of the horse for amazing views. We had a sunny day, and fairly warm :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wonderful afternoon visit to Mongolian Public School #2. Below is the principal who is an amazingly energetic woman who is being forced to retire this year. She has won numerous awards and accolades for her work, and is often called upon to consult with other schools, so I hope she will continue to be able to contribute to education. She is, by the way, a graduate (1971) of our school! The school has 2200 children, grades 1 - 12. One very interesting aspect to primary (elementary) school is that a teacher begins with a group of children in first grade and stays with the same group through fifth grade. And, if families move away, they can continue to bring their child(ren) to the school. This school has a good reputation, so families try to keep their children there - so, there are big classes (35 - 40 children) and many classes! I came away with a tremendous respect for the teachers, and a plan to deliver some teacher in-service!

To the right is the first grade, all eager to show off their work.

These are some of the first grade materials. A workbook for their Mongolian, and notebooks for recording their math and writing assignments.

Above is our student teacher in front of the second grade class. Below is the whole class, and left, the class is singing to us.

To the right is the fifth grade class. They all stood when we entered and are just now sitting back down. They begin learning English in fourth grade, so they were happy to try out their "Hello" and "Good bye" They went back to work.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today I was asked to write a brief statement to be used on the University’s website. Of course, it was translated, by Odgerel, and then typed in Mongolian. I saved it, so I could show you the written Mongolian language. So, here is my version, and following – the Mongolian.

My name is Lynne Noble and I have the great fortune to be a Fulbright Scholar in the Teacher’s School, Mongolian State University of Education. I am from South Carolina, United States and am a Professor of Education at Columbia College. I teach Growth and Development, Education Psychology, Methods and Pedagogy courses.
While in Mongolia, I will be teaching, writing, researching, and, of course, learning. I have wonderful colleagues with whom I am working, and we have many collaborative projects to complete while I am here. Please feel free to contact me about my work here in UB. My email is

Намайг Линн Нобле гэдэг. Би Фулбрайт Сангийн шугамаар Монгол Улсын Боловсролын Их Сургууль-Багшийн Сургуульд ажиллахаар ирсэн. АНУ-ын Каролина мужийн Колумбийн коллежид профессор багшаар ажилладаг. Хүүхдийн Хөгжил , Боловсролын Сэтгэлзүй , Боловсрол судлал , Боловсролын арга зүй аргачилал зэрэг хичээлүүдийг заадаг. Монголд байх хугацаандаа Олон улс дахь бага боловсролын тогтолцоо, зохион байгуулалт , агуулга арга зүйн чиглэлээр хичээл заана, зөвлөмж бичнэ, судалгаа хийнэ. Монгол багш оюутнуудаас суралцана.
Холбоо барих e-mail хаяг:

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've had a few requests to tell what I do on a daily basis. It's so hard to say, because every day has been different, but I thought I'd give you a brief run-down of this past week.

On Monday, I taught two 90-minute seminars on Abuse and Neglect in the morning. In the afternoon, Odgerel and I spent some time in conversation with Enkhe (Director of Training for our School) about research needs. Then, Odgerel and I continued to talk about the possibility of conducting some research on physical activity in the classroom - children here sit and listen for most of the day!

On Tuesday, Odgerel and I went over the several hand-outs I've developed for future seminars, and the Assessment booklet I have written for the School. For interpretation to be accurate and effective, much work is done beforehand! Then, I went in search of the Public Library, where the American Center is located. This is my mail drop. I found it, and a letter from Rick. I also found a felt shop! A whole shop full of felted items - clothing, home decoration articles, doo-dads, boots, etc. Needless to say, I was in felt heaven. My purchase was a felted Santa atop a reindeer for our collection. Back to the office for a quick check-in, and home to continue writing on the series of booklets that have been requested. (I don't have a computer at work)

On Wednesday, I taught two more seminars on Abuse and Neglect, and then went home with Amaraa. She had invited her friend who also speaks some English, and we had a Tsagaan Sar meal - bots, mutton, vegetables, etc. A very nice time.

On Thursday, I worked at home until late morning and then went into the office. I met with Otgoo who teaches English as a Second Language in our School. We talked about how we might work together. In the afternoon, Doko came to the office. Doko is an amazing woman who is a felter, but also runs Duuren Sanaa, an NGO that encourages and helps market indigenous craft. (She also has a day job at another NGO) I had been communicating with her before I arrived in UB, and I was delighted to meet her. She graciously gave me her book on felt-quilting and we talked of the many opportunities to see women working. She is also going to take me to Wool Center, which, for those who know me, I can hardly wait to do!

Friday, we had a department meeting at 10:30 that got moved to 1:30....allowed time for Odgerel, Miyumi and I to go across the street to a Japanese restaurant for ramen. Our meeting lasted until 3, at which time I went to the Math department meeting. This was a lively and engaged group of people who have all kinds of interest in what we do in Columbia, and have the desire to work together with me. Very energizing meeting. Then home.

So, it's now Saturday morning - early - and I'm writing this blog. Later this morning, Oyunaa and I will go visit the National Museum of History. Sunday is a day of rest - and reading and writing!

I hope this gives you a flavor. Each day, indeed, each week, is different!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tsagaan Sar - the Lunar New Year. This holiday ushers in the promise of spring - greetings include inquiries about one's winter, and anticipation of spring. It began the evening of February 2 with family dinners and fireworks. The next days are devoted to greeting. Younger people travel to the homes of older relatives and friends for greeting ceremonies and conversations. My colleague Tseveen invited Odgerel and I to his ger on Saturday. What a treat - to be able to participate in this ritual.

In Tseveen's ger: Tseveen, Odgerel - my colleague and interpreter - and me, seated at the table which has the traditional biscuit, the sheep (with tail) and assorted other food and drink.

Teacher Greeting Day: On Sunday morning, all teachers in our school gathered to enact a formal greeting ceremony. Each one is greeted, snuff bottles exchanged, airag and vodka imbibed, and a general atmosphere of happiness and joy that spring is imminent is shared.

To the right: This is the greeting that was held in the Presidents' quarters. It is a beautiful round table, and all the schools were encouraged to come to this greeting site.

Below: Pictures from the teacher greeting in our school, both in the Dean's Office, and then in individual offices. This was a wonderful day. The ceremonial aspects are very respectful of the elders, and very collegial. Many people were in traditional dress, and all were welcoming

This is my colleague, Oyunaa. She is in the Human Sciences department, and the wonderful new friend who met me at the airport. She teaches English.

Serving the infamous airag - fermented mare's milk! Slightly alcoholic, but very important for special days and celebrations.

Left: greeting my colleague, Oyunaa. She is in my department. Note the blue scarf and that her arms are under mine - signifying I am older! Right: my colleague, Amaraa. She is in the Math and Science department.

For anyone who might want a more extensive explanation of the celebration of Tsagaan Sar, the following website is helpful.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

These are students of the American School of Ulaanbaatar (ASU). It was National Dress Day, so many students came costumed in their country or regional dress. Obviously there were as cute as they could be.

These are students from Mongolian School 60. ASU has formed a partnership with this school and has supplied materials and equipment. The Mongolian School came to give a performance as a thank-you. It was amazing. The students danced and sang, and they were incredibly talented and poised. It was fascinating and kept everyone's attention for 70 minutes! Including the little ones!

ASU was founded five years ago by a group of citizens who were interested in having Mongolian children attend a school where English was the language of instruction. They wanted their children prepared to attend American colleges and universities. The school is steadily growing, currently serving 420 students. The majority of students are Mongolian, the next largest group of children are Korean, and there are about six or seven additional nationalities represented. The school spans from kindergarten through 12th grade, has a dedicated and skilled faculty and an outstanding principal, Kristina Nefstead. It is located south of the city and is nestled against the foot of the mountains - as I looked out Kristina's window, there was the mountain, dusted with snow and with Mongolian wild horses grazing!

We have two courageous and committed students, Nicole Hill and Laura Miller, who will be coming to Mongolia in May to complete one of their teaching clinical experiences. Nicole will be in the kindergarten and Laura will teach in the second grade