English Literature Learning Journey, London
38 students from Year 3 and 4 led by Mrs. Asha Vora, Ms. Cecelia Vaz and Ms. Sangeetha Gangadharan embarked on an English Literature Learning Journey to the UK from 29th May to 8thJune 2012. The main objective of this journey was to expose students to the English culture by participating in specially tailored workshops and programmes. This would enhance their understanding of the English literary canon.
The itinerary included the Lake District, Haworth, York, Stratford -Upon- Avon, Burton-on-water, Bath, Oxford and London. We visited the homes of literary greats like William Wordsworth and Emily Brontë and understood why the imposing landscape played such an integral part in their creative work. In Stratford-Upon-Avon we entered the birthplace of the greatest English playwright, William Shakespeare and saw a live performance of his work in his courtyard. We also went on guided tours to know more about Jane Austen in Bath and Charles Dickens in London. Another inspiring tour was in Oxford where we entered the premises of New College where incidentally, Harry Potter was also filmed. Students participated in four workshops on this trip. These include a drawing workshop at Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home, a theatre workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe, a creative writing workshop at the British Museum and a media workshop at the BBC Television Centre, London. Special talks were held on the Brontë sisters in Haworth and Shakespeare’s Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon so that our students could better appreciate the authors and the influences on their work. We also went on a backstage tour of the Drury Lane Theatre to understand the different aspects of theatre.
The last few days were spent in London amidst the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. As the city prepared for the Jubilee and the Olympics, we had the opportunity of experiencing this momentous occasion first-hand. We visited the Globe, National Portrait Museum, Tate Modern, Trafalgar square and went on a panoramic tour that covered all the landmarks defining the London skyline. The evenings in London were spent watching three plays which were very different from one another. The celebrated West End musical Phantom of the Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Regent’s Park and the West End comedy 39 steps helped enrich our knowledge of stagecraft. It is difficult to pinpoint the highlights of such an eventful trip but the visit to Keswick School where our students interacted with student leaders helped broaden their understanding of education systems. Another memorable event would be the traditional tea at the Beatrix Potter Cottage that provided for a sumptuous cultural experience.
Students often find it challenging to make the imaginative leap necessary to appreciate texts that are set in a world different from their own. This trip has helped bridge that gap as they truly immersed themselves in the culture that shapes the English literary canon.