From crossword puzzles to Scrabble, playing with language stimulates the brain. The Encore program at San Juan College offers spring opportunities to play with language whether one you already know or a new one.

"Learning Chinese may be easier than you think," says Encore instructor Lil Huang. In Conversational Chinese, Huang teaches students the alphabet and characters. "Through the language, students will learn the basics of Chinese culture, including manners, social customs, and food." This class began March 25; call 566-3803 to enroll right away.

To learn a language closer to home, consider Conservational Spanish, which begins April 1. Instructor Elsa Ewana is a native Spanish speaker with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puebla in Mexico. Class covers the alphabet, introductions, key question words, numbers, colors, and conversational and listening skills.

"Elsa makes learning a language fun for adults," reports student Cassandra Roland. "I enjoyed the learning games we played and working in groups. I looked forward to coming to class each week."

To play with language in your own native tongue, Encore offers Writers' Workshop, beginning April 6. Instructor Traci Halesvass uses writing prompts, assignments and critique in each four-hour class. The class encourages writers to bring their fiction work-in-progress, notes or ideas.

Students speak highly of the workshop format. "Critique is the most valuable thing I can think of for a writer," says student Roberta Summers.


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The class has run several times previously but new students are welcome to join the upcoming class.

All Encore classes are designed for adults 50 and older but are open to all students 18 and older. In addition to language classes, the Spring II schedule includes upcoming classes Zen and the Magic of Photography, Bagua Qigong, Following the Cultures of Africa: the Maasai, the Chaga and More, and Archaeology Near Cedar Hill, New Mexico. For details on Spring II Encore classes, visit www.sanjuancollege.edu/Encore or call San Juan College's Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214.