Friday, November 27, 2009

Bikes and cars great for life balance

By Mike Rothengatter, third-year
Criminology/Sports Science

More than 10 years ago I began riding mountain bikes with my neighbor for fun. At the time, I never knew it would have such a large impact on my life. I continued riding and began racing in the Spoke program. I was asked to join a local racing team when I was 16 and the rest is history.

I went on to become a junior national champion and provincial u23 champion, and compete all over Canada and the US. Sure, it can be tough to balance my training program, working, and courses at school, usually sacrificing sleep to get it all done like everyone else at school. Trying to organize my time is often difficult. I am writing this on my rest day this week.

Some days are pretty crazy, because I am here at the college at 8am and finish by 11:30am, get on my bike at noon and train until 2:30, come home, have a quick shower and eat before working from 3:30 until 10:30pm and doing homework until midnight. Luckily, I don’t have to do this every day.

My side project right now is my 1998 240sx, whether it be working on or modifying the car, or driving with friends. In the time I have spent racing and training, I have learned the need for balance in life – it is too easy to get caught up and overwhelmed. Luckily, I have the outlet of biking, allowing for a mental break and also a way to have fun much like when I first started.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goodbye Dharamsala

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

The teaching experience at the Petoen Model School has been wonderful! I can't believe my teaching practicum is officially complete (November 20). In these past five weeks, I gained many different experiences from the Tibetan culture and in the school community where most teachers and students live on campus. The children not only learn and play in this community, but they treat each other like brothers and sisters. The teachers are not only educators but also play the parenting roles. The teachers' dorms are always open and they share a large part of their non-teaching time with the children.

At Petoen School, students are taught only Tibetan from kindergarten to class 3. Students begin learning English in class 4, Chinese (Mandarin) in class 6 and Hindi in class 7. Starting at class 6 level, all subjects are taught in English but most subjects required Tibetan translation. The students loved singing so we did a lot of singing with them during lunch time.

The differences
The curriculum is based on the Indian education system and students are expected to write board exams that start in class 10. One large difference I noticed between the students in India and the students in the Lower Mainland is that in India, students are required to memorize information rather than understand the concepts. Although the local education director encourages teachers to teach for understanding, I have noticed that many local teachers teach according to their textbooks. Many of the Canadian teachers used group work which empowers students to think and discuss ideas. This type of learning has been quite difficult for the Tibetan students. Initially, many of them struggled with the activities. This type of learning was definitely different for them but we pushed the students' boundaries and some of them began to contribute their ideas to class discussions.

Tibetan children are deeply engrained in their culture and the Buddhist religion. They are taught to pray and memorize scriptures every day. They learn to sing and dance to traditional folk music. One interesting thing they learn at a young age is Buddhist debate. I watched young children as well as adult students in Sarah College (a Tibetan college for higher education) and found the process very fascinating. This type of philosophical debate is based on Buddhism but it trains the mind to think logically.

Time to say goodbye

The Petoen Model School consists of Montessori preschool and classes 1 through 6. It has a total of 177 students with most of them being boarders. The school year is nearing its end and students and teachers go for a two-month holiday starting from December 20. The students will be picked up by their parents and head back to their homes in other parts of Tibetan settlements spread throughout India.

After six weeks working with the students, my practicum has come to an end. On the last day of school the SFU student teachers were surprised by traditional Tibetan singing and dancing performed by the students. They wore traditional Tibetan costumes and were fabulous! During these few weeks, I have learned so much about the Tibetan culture from the students and developed relationships with them. Many of them wrote thank you notes to me and began to cry after giving me their notes. I was very touched by the messages and the kind wishes they wrote me. They asked for my home address and said that they will write me in the future. It was definitely a difficult departure.

Now we have officially finished our semester we will be leaving Dharamsala on Monday, November 23 and will begin our tour of northwest India. We will be begin with the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. I hope to write an update from other parts of India in the near future.

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Actors needed for film

Criminology instructor Heidi Currie is looking for female actors! The next casting date is on Friday, November 27 at the New Westminster Campus from 4:30-5:30pm. Meet in room 3304B.

Heidi and director Lisa G. are making final casting decisions for re-enactment scenes needed for a documentary, Bedlam. Actors will depict women who lived in the Women’s Chronic Unit at Riverview Hospital in the early 1940s.

“This is a high-quality production, intended for submission to film fests, library collections and for classroom use,” says Heidi. Filming will take place in late January on a Saturday or Sunday for 6-8 hours.

During the shoot, catering will be provided and as a thank you from the producer, all the actors participating will have their names entered for an assortment of gift cards including Chapters and SuperStore. Each participant will also receive a DVD copy of the film and will be listed in the credits. For more information, email

Friday, November 20, 2009

Forget bra burning: Student Research Day project on feminism meant a lot more

By Ashley Whillans, former University Transfer Student
UBC Psychology Major

I am a feminist.

Now, that doesn’t mean I burn bras or refuse to shave my legs. No, to me feminism isn’t about bra burning. It is about equality and equal opportunities for both women and men. It is a world where women can work where they want to, live where they want to and say what they want to. It is a world where women don’t get raped. I entered research day thinking I would be able to share my knowledge about feminism and ended up gaining more than I could ever hope to give back.

The research
Last year I participated in College Wide Student Research Day at Douglas College. My project was called: “Welcome Home: Suzanne Kyra and the Journey into Feminist Consciousness.” It was part of a larger project called “The Herstory Project,” which my entire Women and Gender Studies class completed under the guidance of instructor Patricia Matson. I chose Suzanne Kyra as my subject not only because I was interested in her journey from local psychologist to internationally-acclaimed writer, but more importantly because I was interested in her journey from adolescence to womanhood.

I learned about Suzanne’s life, feminism and most importantly, I participated in the concept of ‘motherline’ - I had a woman tell me a woman’s story and then got to share that woman’s story with other women (and men), creating dialogue about women’s issues and women’s lives.

The benefits
Participating in Student Research Day made me realize the effect my work could have on others. I was able to discuss feminism with people who had never heard of the theory and in the process, I was able to share and discuss the story of being a woman, Suzanne’s story and my own story. It was an amazing opportunity to share the knowledge I had learned on a subject that I really cared about. It made me feel capable, knowledgeable and curious — seeing what other students were doing made me want to learn more about everything! Research Day revived my love of learning and reminded me why I love education. It brought together all the best elements of the post-secondary experience: discussion, knowledge and self-discovery.

As a student I got to talk to other students: teach them, learn from them and consequently learn a little more about the world and about myself. For these reasons alone, Research Day was an invaluable experience. I got to learn about faculties I have never explored, think about topics I had never thought about and talk to students I would have otherwise never met. Having this experience in college and in a discussion-based, student-focused academic environment helped to give me the confidence to explore research elsewhere.

I now attend UBC where I am a student journalist (lots of investigating involved) and am hoping to pursue an Honours Psychology degree — exploring the role of creativity in health, well-being and education. The Research Day gave me a taste of something sweet — researching, and hopefully I will continue to move forward, applying what I learned at Douglas to future endeavours.

The next Student Research Day takes place on March 30 at the New Westminster Campus and March 31 at the David Lam Campus. Students from all faculties are invited to participate. For more information, contact Tom Whalley, the College Research and Scholarly Activity Coordinator, at 604-527-5818.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ping pong at New West Campus tops

Congratulations to Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student Michelle Lelik, winner of the Canucks ticket draw! Thanks to everyone who entered – your stories will appear on doug over the next few months. Read on for Michelle’s story about her favourite place to hang out on campus.

By Michelle Lelik
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching

I would like to say that the average person either hangs out in the Concourse, the Library, or the Cafeteria, but I am far from an ordinary person. I find myself spending a lot of my free time in the aerobics room (located in between the gymnasium and the weight room) when I am not in class, but not necessarily doing aerobics. Participating in the aerobic classes would be cool I guess, but this room has an extraordinary secret about it. This unique room contains ping pong tables, which are free to use whenever the room is open.

Now, being a poor/starving student, anything free is really fun to do especially when it is with your friends. It also introduced me to new people on campus that now know me as the “Ping Pong Girl.” In order to rent out the paddles and ball, you have to go to the weight room and give the people your Douglas ID. When I walk into the room, I don’t even need to talk anymore because they know I am there just for the paddles and ping pong ball. One time I walked in there with a friend who was going to work out, and they automatically gave me the equipment even though I didn’t need it that time.

I guess from now on, I will forever be remembered as the girl who played ping pong pretty much every day. But that doesn’t matter, because when people ask me what I do at school, I am proud to say that I play ping pong during my spare time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Studying Life

by Ashely-Anne Churchill, second-year Associate Degree
Environmental Science

Different people,
In different ways,
Walk these stairs,
Stepping up,
To take on this day.
For today
Is a day to feel alive.
Surrounded completely,
By all walks of life.

To learn the ways,
And all the reasons why.
To ponder time,
As it passes us by.
How to make it
Through this world,
As we live this reality
We study every day.
It just couldn’t be
Any other way.

06-09-08

Friday, November 13, 2009

Learning about Tibetan culture

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

Tashi delek (‘Hello’ in Tibetan),

The SFU students had a few days off and went to Nadi village above the McLeod Ganj area (higher than upper Dharamsala. We attended The Dalai Lama's teaching. We sat with a large group of monks and nuns. His Holiness's teaching was taught in Tibetan language and we had no clue what he was saying until some monks shared their radios and headsets with English translation. His teaching was very good and I took some notes (though the translation was not very clear).

A few of us went hiking last Saturday with Chok, our Tibetan language teacher. The hike was called the Triund Ridge and we left at 4:30am. We had to take a taxi up to meet Chok near a Hindu temple (Galu temple). Our taxi had trouble climbing the rocky, steep hill so we had to get out so the driver could get the car up. We started walking in pitch dark and an hour later we saw the beautiful crimson sky at the start of the sunrise.

The temperature was chilly as we were close to 7,000 feet in elevation. As the sun came up, we passed a large herd of sheep with many baby cute! It took us only 2.5 hours to get to the ridge and we were at awe when we saw the mountains. Ten years ago, the mountain tops had glacial ice but unfortunately, we saw clear evidence of global warming as the glacier had diminished to only a small patch.

When we arrived at the ridge, we saw tents, tea shops, people having breakfast and even a guest house. Of course we had to have tea and it was the best masala tea that I've had in India so far! We even practiced some yoga moves to stretch our muscles. The environment reminded me of Joffery Lakes near Pemberton.

We spent five hours up there had a great time talking and learning from Chok. He had been a monk for 10 years but was disrobed after he went to France and experienced his first temptation. He shared some Buddhist philosophy and told us about Tibetan debating skills (really cool that all Buddhist monks learn how to debate to enhance logical thinking skills).

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Therapeutic Rec students get hands-on with Paralympic sports gear

Therapeutic Recreation students get hands-on with Paralympic sport equipment at the Pinetree Community Centre gym. The session was part of their course on physical disabilities. Read more...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Student recalls the late Dave Still, one of the ‘grandfathers of interpreting’

Sign Language Interpretation instructor Dave Still (above) passed away suddenly in August. Second-year student Kevin Layne recalls “the Dave button” and what it was like to learn from “one of the grandfathers of interpreting.”

By Kevin Layne, 2nd year Sign Language Interpretation

Dave Still was an outstanding instructor. One attribute that will be remembered about Dave is that he had the ability to be at your level. Whenever we had a problem, Dave was there with support. Huge workload or not, Dave still found the time to sit with us and talk about concerns we had or share stories. He made a huge impact in our lives even though most of us only knew him for a short amount of time, which says a lot about who he was. He has touched our lives personally and as a group.

Dave would listen to our opinions with an open mind, and would accept feedback even though we are students. In class when we practiced with the Still Learning DVDs, we would ask to view his version of the interpretation. We called this button on the DVD the “Dave button” (mainly because it says “Dave”), but it became a running joke. Dave would hesitate because he would analyze his work, even though completed and burned to DVD, which showed us that it’s not important what level an interpreter is at, analysing your work to improve is always necessary and at times nerve-wracking.

Dave taught us that we have to consider the issues and “trust the process.” Without the process, interpreting can go astray, and students would constantly worry.

There was a side of Dave we were lucky to see – the humorous side. In our classes, there were many laughs from Dave poking fun at us, or students teasing Dave. It was as though we would feed off the energy Dave had, not the other way around. He had a way of getting us back into a rhythm even in the last class of the week.

We are lucky to have had a chance to learn from one of the grandfathers of interpreting and a role model for male interpreters. It seems the ones that impact our lives the most are here for a short time, perhaps to show us the path to inspiration. Thank you for the time you have given us, David Still. Your life and teachings will always be remembered in the hearts and hands of many.

A memorial for Dave Still is taking place on Saturday, November 14 from 1-3pm at the Royal Westminster Regiment Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, 530 Queens Avenue, New Westminster. People are encouraged to come and share their stories – interpretation will be available. Kevin Layne's post first appeared in the September issue of the WAVLI Ripple For an instructor perspective on Dave's legacy, see inside douglas.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Paralympian and 2010 mascots visit Douglas

The Douglas College Business Association is hosting a talk by Paralympic alpine skier Andrea Holmes on Monday, November 9 from 6:30-9pm in rooms 1630-1640 at the New West Campus. The Vancouver 2010 Mascots will also be making an appearance. Tickets are $7 and must be purchased in advance through the DCBA.

Andrea is also a champion long-jumper and high-jumper.

Visit the Douglas home page for more details.

Above photo of Andrea Holmes from Feel the Rush.

Men's soccer team in T.O.

by Tom Malencia, Defender, #3
Douglas Men's Soccer Team

The boys and I rolled into YVR nice and early, some of us reading and catching up on studying, while others spoke of philosophy and the Canadian Legislature. Just joking, we ate Vera's Burger and I managed to get a wheelchair. A couple weird things happened on the way there. For one, our flight was delayed by a few hours, and on the plane one of our players, the magnificent Donald Kambere, fainted by the bathroom. What a hilarious guy.

Once we landed, we met our hosts and got settled and then headed off to a restaurant called Mr. Greeks. It was pretty good, but a few of us had to cover the other guys' tips. Not cool, boys.

Oh, also, I sang Seal's "Kissed by a Rose" on the plane. I'm thinking about hanging up the boots, and going into singing. Or just being a professional bum.

Tomorrow's the big game. I haven't really thought about it too much.

Tom Malencia is a member of the Douglas College Royals Men’s Soccer Team. Tom and his teammates are now in Toronto for the nationals November 4-7. Follow their progress on Twitter. His posts are also appearing on the Vancouver Sun School Sports Zone blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

School days in India

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

Tashi delek (‘Hello’ in Tibetan),

I started teaching my class 5 (grade 5) English today and had a wonderful experience with them. I also had to work on my SFU midterm assignment after school in the library and one boy from class 6 came and served me tea.

The students want to learn songs from Canada so I taught them our national anthem. I plan to teach them "Wheels on the Bus" tomorrow. Many of the songs that I sung to my children are coming back to me – I sure miss my kids.

The children at the school are very respectful and kind to me. Many of them are trying to teach me Tibetan and they test me every day at lunch time. The school has a large kitchen and prepares all the meals for the boarding students. Their lunch consists of mostly rice, dahl (lentil soup) and some veggies – they have almost the same foods everyday.

It is very evident that they lack attention from their parents. Often, I will have four to five children hanging on to my two arms. Many of the children do have parents but they are far away in other parts of India trying to make a living. Most of them make Tibetan sweaters to sell. The children only see them once a year for two months, January and February. I cannot imagine seeing my children for only two months each year.

There will be another professional development retreat in the coming weekend at Sarah College for Tibetan Higher Learning. After the retreat all SFU students will be in full force teaching for the following three weeks.

I am currently busy with preparing my unit and my lesson plans for English class 5 and Science class 6. I am quite excited about my lessons. For English, I will teach them about global warming and some environmental issues relevant to India and in Dharamsala. For Science, I will be teaching units related to ecology. My school associate Lobsang Loste is so nice that he lent me his laptop so I can work on my lessons at my temporary home. We will also be sharing our Halloween traditions with the Tibetan teachers at the retreat. All of the SFU student teachers will be dressed in costumes and will be carving a squash!

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Candidate speaks on immigration, education

The federal byelection in the New Westminster-Coquitlam riding is coming up on November 9. The Other Press catches up with Liberal candidate Ken Beck Lee who shares his personal experiences as an immigrant in Ken Beck Lee passionate about education, environment and internationalism. Read more...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Basketball home opener and pre-game party

Check out the Royals Home Opener this Friday, November 6 at the New West Campus.

The women play at 6pm and the men play at 8pm. If you're at David Lam Campus, there's a cheap 'n easy shuttle.

The pre-game party starts at the Douglas Students' Union Lounge at 5pm, with $1 pizza, free snacks and a DJ. If you're at the David Lam Campus that day, pay $8 for the shuttle to New West(leaves David Lam at 5pm - meet in front of the Atrium) and back to the Lam (10:30pm). Students taking the shuttle also get a t-shirt and a slice of pizza. Bring your student ID for free admission to the game.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Win Canucks tickets!

Win two tickets to see the Canucks face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, November 20. How? Simple. Write a story for Doug. Here are the details.

· Pick one of five topics:
1 My favourite teacher at Douglas
2 My favourite place to hang out on campus
3 Why I chose Douglas
4 How I balance school and life
5 An unexpected in-class moment
· Write a short story – 250-500 words
· Send it to along with your name and program by Friday, November 13

Need inspiration?
Get the hang of the style doug is looking for in Pre-game music makes a difference and Trapped no more. Still stuck? See our writers' guidelines.

One entry per student - please submit your story with your name. All writers will be entered into a draw for the tickets. The winner will be required to show proof that they are a student in good standing at Douglas College. All entries may be published on doug.

Win theatre tickets!

The Douglas College Theatre and Stagecraft departments present two plays this month. Win tickets by visiting the Douglas Facebook fan page. Contest is open to anyone - students, staff and the public. Enter by by 4pm on Tuesday, Nov 3. Read more...