Monday, November 24, 2014

There and Back Again

I had the pleasure of spending last week in London and Oxford, England. It was formal and informal pro-d for me, and my first time off the continent since 1988. This was covered in part by the PGDTA PD Fund (the committee approved an amount commensurate with a BC-based conference) and the rest from aeroplan points and what I'll have to think of as an advance on my BCTF signing bonus :)

I attended a "Tolkien symposium" in Oxford, focusing on medieval language, literature, modern philology, and Tolkien's connection to all three. I chased down a few of the haunts of the Inkings (the literary circle that developed around C.S. Lewis), found the grave of William Blake among others, and visited every museum and historical site I could get to with the remaining time. Highlights included the Ashmolean, Bodleian Library, the Wallace Collection, Tower of London, and Portobello Road Market.

As a personal and professional learning experience, I am only beginning to realize how this will influence my approach to "what's important" in Social Studies. For the next time my locally developed course Middle Earth 12 runs, I think I have reckoned what needs to be at the centre of it. More practically, I have some good new stories to tell about aspects of history and culture e.g. English Civil War, WWI, colonization & empire, the London Blitz, the Holocaust, and how modern cities preserve the past without being blind to progress.

I took over 1000 pics, and tweeted out some of them with captions. I have archived these at for you to see.