“Ways with Words” by Shirley Brice Heath (1983)

Two communities that were obvious in Heath’s ethnography studies: Roadville and Trackton. Both of these communities seem to share similar circumstances, but the core principle living was not similarly portrayed. In these two communities, an interesting aspect that is mainly exposed by Heath is the ways language evolved from the early generation to the next one. Since my reading is until Trackton, I found that the social circumstances influence the process of how children acquire certain language abilities. It means that the process of reaching literacy competent was largely influenced by the society. As Heath states, “The ways of living, eating, sleeping, worshiping, using space, and filling time which surrounded these language learners would have to be accounted for as part of the milieu in which the processes of language learning took place” (3). When I come to reading the first session until the third session of Part I of her book, I found logical connection. The ability to use language properly is dominantly triggered by the society in which a child lives, especially the parents. For instance, we could see from what is happening with the community in Trackton. Their language spoken system tends to be the same, although particular individual may find new interesting influences from town-blacks.

From Heath’s ethnography studies, the variety of domestic problems and the dynamics of financial matters also shape how literary comes to emerge in such society. Then, if the question is, “What is literacy?” in this context, then, the answer is that literacy is the ways in which the possessing of language ability could possibly adjust the improvement of such community to a better state. These poor black people might live in their limited social circumstances, but to certain degrees they share the same principle, which is coping and working to live. As the times pass by, these two communities emerge into new forms, in which they give significant influence each other, as I may suppose.

Children Language Acquisition and Literacy

The detail description of Heath’s ethnography studies has enriched my horizon in terms of knowing that what we see and hear can be used as tools in creating new knowledge empirically. From the beginning of this book to the end, a vivid reader can see that Heath has written more than what she has composed in her book. What I mean by saying this is that she might have been writing complex draft, arranging relevant materials, and composing all events chronologically. At the end, I can see the link between the title of the book Ways with Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms with all details in the book. I see this through the connection between children language acquisition and their coming to literacy.

I can see the connection between social circumstances and literacy toward children language acquisition in these statements about children of the two communities. “Children in Roadville grow up surrounded by print: their room decorations, homemade alphabet quilts, books, toys, and church experiences give them an abundance of reading materials”; meanwhile, “Trackton children have no books, and they find their reading in tasks which evolve for them in the house, the plaza, and at the neighborhood store” (Heath 233). We already know that literacy cannot be built in a vacuüm. It is wide open. It is triggered by external factors of an individual. When children come to this world, they will learn to grasp everything around them, especially from parents. However, as children develop their own thinking after looking at different things in their life, they begin to ask questions. The answers of their questions can only be answered through the state of inquiry they have. This is a form of literacy in critical thinking.

To my mind, Heath has described all series of the complexity of needs in life that can influence how someone can come into literacy. Many types of society in the world face the same process as well. The needs to survive and to achieve many things in life have made us creative in fulfilling those needs. We speak, we exist. We write, we alive.

The above writings were written for my Literacy class at SIUe. I took the class in Fall 2012.

Information about the book:

Heath, Shirley Brice. Ways With Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Print.

“Revolt in Paradise” by K’Tut Tantri: A Novel by a Hollywood Actress

Revolt in Paradise

Siapa orangnya di dunia ini yang tidak mengenal nama daerah ‘Bali’? Dunia mungkin dan pasti mengakui Bali sebagai Paradise Island. Bali termasuk ke dalam wilayah sebelah Timur Indonesia, yang kaya dengan unsur seninya berupa musik, tari, lukis dan segala bentuk kebudayaan yang ada di dalamnya. Keunikan Bali seperti ini yang kemudian membuat K’tut Tantri, penulis buku ini, untuk tinggal di Indonesia selama lima belas tahun untuk benar-benar menyelami rupa kehidupan yang ada di Bali.

Buku ‘Revolt in Paradise’ secara keseluruhan bercerita tentang kisah seorang wanita muda berkebangsaan Amerika yang berada di dalam proses pencarian kebahagiaan bagi dirinya. Kebahagiaan yang ia temukan ternyata berada di Bali, setidaknya itulah yang ia rasakan selama proses pencariannya itu. Selama kurun waktu tersebut, mulai dari tahun 1932, ia mengalami warna-warni kehidupan yang ada di Bali, hingga ke daerah Surabaya dan Yogyakarta.

Selain hal di atas, jika dilihat dari segi isi, cerita K’tut Tantri memiliki roh tersendiri dibanding dengan novel-novel serupa. Ini terlihat dari alur certa, gaya bercerita, dan proses penyambungan antara ‘opening’ dan ‘closing’. Pada dasarnya, ada tiga bagian utama yang disuguhkan. Dari ketiga bagian inilah yang membuat cerita di buku ini sayang untuk dilewatkan oleh pembaca sastra. Walaupun dari segi bahasa terkesan biasa, namun, bobot ceritanya sangat padat, dan kaya untuk dijadikan sebagai bahan ‘kajian sastra dunia’ untuk studi sastra komparatif.

K’tut Tantri menyadari bahwa ia masih mencari makan hidupnya. Ini tampak ketika ia menuju Amerika, tepatnya di New York. Dengan temannya seorang China, ia akhirnya menyadari bahwa kebahagiaan memang bukan pada harta. Ia pun meyakini bahwa semakin banyak kita berkorban, maka semakin baik, kehidupan nanti yang akan kita lalui. Dengan kata lain, ini bisa dikatakan sebagai ‘amal kehidupan’. Pada akhir cerita, ia masih mencari makna akan hadirnya kebahagiaan. Namun, ia pernah merasakannya bersama The Rajah, Anak Agung Nura, Wayan, Nyoman, dan keluarganya yang ada di Bali, meskipun selama ia di Bali, ia melewati masa-masa pahit mengahadapi kolonialisme Belanda dan penjajahan Jepang.

Benar-benar sebuah cerita tentang betapa beratnya perjuangan para generasi terdahulu dalam mencari kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia. Semoga generasi selanjutnya bisa mempertahankan dan meningkatkannya.



Dipublikasikan kembali dari A Space of Learning and Thought dengan tujuan berbagi tapi tidak untuk diplagiat. Terima kasih.

Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia

Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia

Hefner, Robert W., ed. Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009.

Based on the information provided, this book “grew out of a research project that began in December 2004 and ended in January 2007, funded by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in Seattle, Washington” (Hefner)


  • Introduction: The Politics and Cultures of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia by Robert W. Hefner
  • Islāmic Schools, Social Movements, and Democracy in Indonesia by Robert W. Hefner
  • Reforming Islāmic Education in Malaysia: Doctrine or Dialogue by Richard G. Kraince
  • Islāmic Education in Southern Thailand: Negotiating Islam, Identity, and Modernity by Joseph Chinyong Liow
  • Muslim Metamorphosis: Islāmic Education and Politics in Contemporary Cambodia by Bjorn Atle Blengsli
  • Islāmic Education in the Philippines: Political Separatism by Thomas M. McKenna & Esmael A. Abdulla

Review of the book:

This book presents the research findings of scholars who studied about how Islam constructs the development and advancement of schools in Asia. Countries that they had studied are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Philippines. This book seems to bring balanced view of Islam in Asia, especially after the tragedy of the 9/11 bombing in WTC, New York. Many subjective comments had been aroused after the tragedy, particularly in the countries of the West, where the people are generally never in touch with Islam. I would recommend that many people in the United States should read this book because the research finds that there are things that had been put into skeptical and bias point of view in the United States. At least, this book will help Muslims from Asian countries feel “at home” whenever they visit the United States.

On page 4, Hefner wrote:

 “In discussion of Muslim world since 9/11, there has been a tendency on the part of Western commentators to view events primarily through the optic of their own security reasons. In a world of urgent threats and scarce analytic resources, this bias is understandable enough, and the chapters in this volume do not shy away from policy issues. Nonetheless, the contributors felt that if we allowed Western security concerns to set the entire research agenda we would lose an opportunity to understand the cultural concerns that Muslims themselves bring to their schools. We would also lose the sight of the fact that Southeast Asian Muslims have been debating the proper forms of religious education and politics, not since 9/11, but since the late nineteenth century”

In this statement, it seems clear that the authors of this book would like to give a new perspective on viewing how Islam ‘should be seen’ in the West. A good understanding of why Islam is put into the school system because Islam has lots of good things to be applied in the system of education in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. What people hear in the news are sometimes bias and not supportive. If there are people who accidentally have the feeling of “dislikeness” to Islam, especially because of their ignorant, they could give harsh comment, and even “sharp words” to attack Islam and Muslims. However, still, since there are many people who are willing to know exactly what Islam is; therefore, the process of knowing this religion into its real teachings will always be a good way to make countries in the West become the “better ones”.

In addition to that, historically, Islam was actually the one that had great thinkers. Due to the misconduct of the Christian Europe, many of the works of Islāmic thinkers were ‘taken out’ by thinkers of the Europe. The truth is, those great science and knowledge belong to Islāmic figures in the past.

“Herein lies one of the great ironies of the Old World’s civilizational history. During what was Western Europe’s Middle Ages, libraries and madrasas in the Middle East had preserved Greek works in philosophy and natural sciences lost to Christian Europe. In the twelfth and thirteen centuries, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Scholars in Spain and other Muslim lands translated many of these works into Latin. The transfer of the translated classics book to Western Europe sparked a revival of interest in the natural sciences and humanistic philosophy so strong that these subjects were given pride of place in the newly established universities of the West. Although earlier preserved and studied by generations of Arab- and Indian- Muslim scholars, the same Greek works were gradually marginalized from most madrasa curricula. Indeed, by the end of the Muslim Middle Ages their place in Middle Eastern education as a whole was greatly diminished. Jurisprudence had become the queen of the advanced religious sciences and the centerpiece of madrasa education. More significant yet, many of the Jurists (fuqaha) who interpreted God’s law had come to view the study of philosophy and the foreign sciences as “useless…and disrespectful of religion and law”. The result was that the philosophy and natural science once so integral to Muslims intellectual life disappeared from many institutions of higher learning, not to be revived until the great educational transformations of the modern era” (Hefner 9).

To those people who want to know and understand how Islam and Muslims are in Southeast Asia, this book, as I could understand, could give you a significant perspective in viewing the religion and the people. At last, the chaos in the society due to “miscommunicated values” could be very much avoided.

Happy times for reading!

Teenlit – Bellamore: A Beautiful Love to Remember

This writing had been posted in A Space of Learning and Thought (my other blog).

The Novel - Bellamore

Nashar, Karla M. Bellamore: A Beautiful Love to Remember. Jakarta; PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama. 2007.


This novel is written by a great scholar whose name is Karla M. Nashar. After reading this book, I found that women were so fantastic but again, they could make their life like a stupid creature. This story about a woman who keeps her virginity while in the same time, she has to fight for all the things that her environment calls love as ‘making love’.

Is that what all man want from woman?

Does having sex mean that the men will love the women forever after he gets what he desires from the women?

In a large-scale, is it what we see from our society, or, the author has shown that love does not mean sex, but truly finding someone, in your apposite gender, who is able to make us real as a human and perfectly a great life partner?

The name of the central character is Lanavera, with her best friends are Tiar and Sissy. Two different characters but they are strongly supporting the rich side of the story. There is a man whose name is Fabian, an Italian man. He is adored by not only female but also men, or, as I call it, by some same kind lovers. Fabian slowly shows his unique attention to Lanavera but she does not accept it as thing she calls ‘love’. All what Fabian wants is only having ‘bed love’. Because of her principle, Lana always ignores what Fabian wants. Another man whose name is Iwan, a kind guy, likes Lana. He knows Lana through Tiar.

Fabian insists Lana that Iwan just like any other man. What he wants is only ‘bed love’. Will Lana trust Fabian?

Slowly but sure, Lana is getting in love with Fabian. Fabian has dominated Lana’s mind.

For you guys out there, I bet that you will eager to find a girl that looks like Lana. She has a great principle before marrying.

Actually, the story is not exactly about virginity, but about how you keep what you have decided to follow in your mind and through your life. In this case, it is about virginity.

Will Lana choose Iwan for his kind attitude or Iwan is the same as ‘lelaki buaya darat…rupa manis sekali, tapi hati bagai serigala..’?

So, enjoy the story!

For you girls, keep like Lana. If you once have been seduced or loved in bed by not your husband, then you are a rubbish in a man like me eyes. Girls must have a strong principle to live their beautiful life!




“Writing from Sources” by Brenda Spatt – To the Student

The post below was taken from the Introduction session To the Student written in this book. Enjoy!

Writing from Sources by Brenda Spatt

Information about this book

Spatt, Brenda. Writing from Sources. 7th ed. New York; Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. ISBN – 10: 0-312-43797-8


The good aspects of this book:

  • A stronger focus on academic writing throughout the book, with examples of documentation presented throughout and more frequent practice in working with academic sources
  • Nine new exercises to provide practice on topics such as selecting quotable material, identifying plagiarism, and documenting sources
  • Expanded sections in Chapter 1 on analyzing sources to determine the author’s thesis, method, intention, use of evidence, and possible logical fallacies
  • A new section on incorporating visual materials, ranging from charts to pictures to film clips, into the research essay
  • A new chapter sequence that makes Writing from Sources easier for you and your students to use
  • A new, easier-to-follow layout that includes more headings, lists, and marginal annotations
  • A new section on writing introductions and conclusions
  • A new model research essay–“Looking at Horror Films”–using MLA documentation and including an opinion survey (Spatt vii)


This book provides explanation about the following steps in academic writing:

  1. Choosing a topic
  2. Finding sources and acquiring information
  3. Determining your main idea
  4. Presenting your sources
  5. Organizing your material
  6. Writing your assignment
  7. Giving credit to your sources (Spatt xi-xii)


Table of Contents of this book

Part I. Making Sources Your Own

  • Reading for Understanding

Part II. Presenting Your Sources to Others

  • Summarizing Sources
  • Quoting Sources
  • Paraphrasing Sources

Part III. Writing from Sources

  • The Single-Source Essay
  • The Multiple-Source Essay

Part IV. Writing the Research Essay

  • Finding Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Writing the Research Essay
  • Acknowledging Sources
  • Three Research Essays
  • Some Basic Forms for Documentation: MLA, APA, and Endnotes

Appendix A. Writing Essay Examinations

Appendix B. Readings for a Research Essay


The book can be purchased here: WRITING FROM SOURCES