Thank You/Leigh Thelmadatter
Everyone thinks they know exactly what mariachi is. I did, too. Until I wrote about it on Wikipedia... and learned things I’d never known before.
For instance, when mariachi first began — in Jalisco, Mexico, near Guadalajara — it was called Son Jaliscience. Since then, this musical style has traversed many regions and cultures, evolving all along the way. Now, in the United States, it's being reinvented once again.
I’m an English teacher in Mexico City. A few years ago, I found an easy way to improve my Spanish skills. When I toured a nearby landmark, I'd read about it in Spanish. Then, I'd write a Wikipedia article about it in English. It worked!
Suddenly, I had a revelation. What I was doing to improve my Spanish, my students could do to improve their English. So I talked to my boss — and a whole new curriculum was born.
Right now, my students and I are working with a regional arts organization. This organization represents hundreds of accomplished artists who are celebrated throughout Mexico, but virtually unknown on English Wikipedia.
But now my students can change that. Writing these articles is a tremendous opportunity to improve their English... and represent their culture to the world.
— Leigh Thelmadatter
Leigh Thelmadatter was born and raised in New Jersey. After studying linguistics in college, she returned to school to earn her master's degree in English as a Second Language. Since 2003, she's taught English at a college in Mexico. She and her husband — who is also a Wikipedia editor — travel frequently throughout Central Mexico. Together they've taken more than 10,000 photographs of Mexican villages, landmarks, festivals and more.
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