[VIRTUAL COURSE] Let's Learn American Mah Jongg!VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Asia Society at Home
Want to learn to play American Mah Jongg? In five daily classes, learn the fundamentals of American Mah Jongg in an online course with teachers Donna Gibbon and Alicia Eissler. Classes will focus on the history of the game, learning the tiles, understanding the card, making hands, and learning the American rules, strategies, and sequence of play.
Mah Jongg originated in the Qing Dynasty and means "chattering sparrow" because of the sound of the tiles in the shuffling process. Brought to the U.S. in the early 1900s, Mah Jongg has become very popular. Mah Jongg players enjoy regional variants of the game, and American Mah Jongg was standardized by the National Mah Jongg League in 1986. This year, the organization has issued or sold more than 350,000 cards.
There are also many benefits to playing Mah Jongg. Research has shown that Mah Jongg can help improve memory skills and sharpen the mind, as well as teach patience and help people make faster decisions and better observations. A recent study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine indicates that regular games of Mah Jongg can help reduce rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults, based on results in China.
Also known as "the Game of Intelligences," Mah Jongg is a fun social activity for people of all ages. Mah Jongg requires skill, yet an element of luck is involved. Come join the fun!
Please commit to all five days of class so you have consistency and continuity to cement your learning and develop a love for the game. Your registration fee includes a 2020 National Mah Jongg League card, which will be mailed to you the week prior to the start of the class. The instructors will provide additional materials via email once the class begins. You do not need to own or purchase a Mah Jongg set.
This is an interactive, engaging class. Be prepared to use your video and audio every day, using a computer, laptop, or tablet.
Monday, January 25 – Friday, January 29, 2021
4:30–6 p.m. Daily
About the Instructor
Donna Gibbon is a California girl who grew up in Wyoming. She attended the University of Colorado and received her B.S. in English and Social Studies in Education. Later she earned her M.ED as a Reading Specialist at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Donna retired after 34 years as a public-school teacher. Currently, Donna is the Program Manager for GED and ESL at Cypress Assistance Ministries.
According to her grandmother, “Mah Jongg is hereditary.” When Donna moved to Houston, she taught many ladies in her subdivision how to play the game. Forty-five years later, she still plays weekly with several of those ladies. She has also taught people to play at assisted care facilities and at Congregation Jewish Community North. Donna has held her own with the ladies who play at Monday Mah Jongg in Manhattan and in many Mah Jongg tournaments. For the past several years she has taught Mah Jongg for the Lone Star College ALL Program at the University Park and Tomball campuses.
Alicia Eissler is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the High School for Performing and Visual Arts and the University of Houston. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education and Orchestral Conducting.
Miss Eissler began teaching orchestra at Lamar Fleming Fine Arts Academy in Houston in 1982. In 1986, she moved to Strack Intermediate School in Klein ISD, where she was head orchestra director. In addition, she taught fifth grade strings classes at Benfer, Haude and Kuehnle Elementary Schools until her retirement in 2017. She also served as chair of the Fine Arts Department at Strack and from time to time, taught and facilitated computer classes for faculty and staff for the district.
Since retiring, Miss Eissler has spent much of her time traveling throughout the United States in her tiny trailer with her two large terriers and taking classes through the Adult Lifetime Learning Program at Lone Star College, where she learned Mah Jongg from Donna Gibbon. As the Mah Jongg program grew, Miss Eissler took over the Mah Jongg class at the Tomball campus until Covid-19 halted in-person instruction. This fall, Miss Eissler joined Mrs. Gibbon and they successfully taught Mah Jongg online for Lone Star College and they are looking forward to continuing to do so in the future.
Education and outreach programs at Asia Society Texas Center are made possible through generous funding from the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation. Additional support provided by the Friends of Education & Outreach at Asia Society Texas Center.
About Asia Society at Home
We are dedicated to continuing our mission of building cross-cultural understanding and uplifting human connectivity. Using digital tools, we bring you content for all ages and conversations that matter, in order to spark curiosity about Asia and to foster empathy.
About Asia Society Texas Center
With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and West. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.
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For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/texas/events/virtual-course-lets-learn-american-mah-jongg For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/texas/events/virtual-course-lets-learn-american-mah-jongg