Chawton Excursion

Recently both our Certificate of English for International Study and our International Foundation Year Programmes went to Chawton. To visit both Jane Austin’s home (now a museum) and Chawton House Library  which was her brother’s home. It’s just one of many excursions that we build into our programmes.

While classroom learning  and independent study are the core of a solid education, there are sometimes things to be gained from getting out of the classroom and visiting relevant locations to get a feel for how things are in real life. Whether that’s visiting a historic location   or an art gallery to see paintings first hand, changing the context and mode of learning can be a huge benefit and can both reinforce as well as enrich knowledge.

Here are some of the (unedited) comments from students who went on the trip.

Chawton House Library:

My most favourite room of the library was a room having bookshelves. It was a historical and beautiful room. I liked the hidden shelf in the room.

Old people were also using wig sign to avoid witches.

Garden which has a gate was beautiful.

Secret shelf.

The oak room is my favourite part of this short journey. Its special smells make me feel relax and comfortable. The corridor which I also like; it was fun to imagine how Jane Austen and other ladies who live in this house before walk on it.

chl-hall

Photo: ELTSU

There were a lot of flowers and they were so beautiful (garden).

Sofa was really comfortable and big stove was so nice. I wanted to relax there more.

Secret space in the library made me exciting. I thought it’s like films!

Garden was so lovely.

chl-garden

Unfortunately not a day for photography outdoors Photo: ELTSU

There were lots of picture of people who were related to Jane Austin and I could enjoy them.

So polite explanation.

chl-talk

Photo ELTSU

I could know about history and growth.

The library was so lovely and brilliant!

I enjoyed the explanation as well.

As well as the care and detail in which the house, library and garden has been kept special attention was also given to the secret bookshelf and the sense of ‘walking into history’. Many houses at the time would have had secret shelves, cupboards or even rooms to hide valuable or dangerous things.

 

Jane Austin’s House:

I though Jane Austen’s house was cute. I like a brick fireplace and a cute white bed.

I like the kitchen, the fireplaces are new and interesting for me.

ja-house-kitchen

Photo: ELTSU

The kiln to burn bread.

The exhibition is great. However, there is just four things that can touch and see and if they can point me which book that Jane Austen may read it will be great.

Kitchen.

We could experience Jane Austen’s era. For example, we could wear costume of the age and make lavender bag.

ja-house-lavender

Photo: ELTSU

Book room.

There were many books which is written by many languages. I found Japanese books so I felt happy.

Before seeing Jane Austen’s house, we could watch a short film of her life. It was good.

Not just seeing the house, we could enjoy wearing clothes and making lavender bag.

House was very beautiful. We could know about Jane Austen more.

We could enjoy making flavour bag.

I could get lovely souvenir.

It was fun that I could try wearing traditional clothes and making a lavender cologne sachet (plus playing the piano).

ja-house-piano

Photo: ELTSU

 

Dressing in period costume,

ja-house-costume

Photo: ELTSU

(also available here and here )seeing the house and especially the kitchen all help us imagine life at the time, and is popular for many museums .  As for the sense of living history there are any number of places that make this real for visitors and it is the essence of why we visit places like this.

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English for Peace

We’ve now started recruiting for our newest collaboration. “English for Peace” is a multilevel language course focusing on peace making and peace studies as the topic and English language development as the medium of transmission. You don’t need to be an expert in peace studies but you might be, and we can incorporate students with English proficiencies from CFER B1+ up. We’re really excited to be offering this in collaboration with the Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace. The course is taught and run by staff from both centres. We met just the other day to work out the details for the extension excursion (subject to numbers) 3 days in Northern Ireland to meet people on both sides, and those in-between and learn about their experiences of peace first hand. But, that is just the things most present in one’s mind to be excited about. That said here’s a brief outline of what we’re looking at.

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Belfast (this photo is city hall by Iker Merodio via Creative Commons

We’re starting in Belfast, then visiting the peace centre at Corrymeela and on top of that trying to catch a bit of nature, culture and history.

Giants Causeway 1888

An 1888 photo of the Giant’s Causeway. Via Creative commons

With the (seemingly ever) growing prominence of English as a Lingua Franca more and more English is becoming the working language of diplomacy and international peace-making efforts. There is a certain advantage Nelson Mandela said If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. This of course can be one of the reasons to use a 3rd language to resolve disputes between communities or individuals; and English as the most spoken second language globally is likely to be the vehicle for this. In a number of circumstances throughout history conflict has be resolved by addressing it in a common lingua franca but not necessarily the mother tongue of the affected communities.

In the course we’ll be covering a wide variety of skills, including ICT, Research, Presenting and (academic) Writing, Debating, Negotiating and more. Language skills wise we do put an emphasis on speaking over writing but we do encourage and support the writing side as well. We’ll be supporting participants as they confront and address peace in their lives both professional and personal, as well as in the world around them both locally and internationally. Additionally, we aim to foster scholarship and promote the participants becoming more self-directed and reflective learners through use of journals and blogging. Lastly we’ll look at a wide variety of contexts for peace not just limited to the personal interests and professional foci of the participants.

English for Peace could serve as an introduction and/or companion to the Master’s in Peace.

In developing English for Peace we’ve been combining the expertise and experience of two parts of the university ELTSU and CRRP and naturally discovered some interesting synergies in the process. Working so closely together has also provided a prompt for both groups to independently and as groups reflect on our own practices and procedures; further benefiting our students and partners even where they are not involved in English for Peace.

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Where we are…

There is a saying in real-estate circles “location location location”  and when you come down to it where one is can be very important. Recently Winchester has been judged the best place to live in the UK, see here, here and here. While Winchester is in no way immune to problems, as this blog mentioned and in other news, these are minor. There are a wide range of events and festivals based in the city, the Hat Fair is perhaps the best known internationally. It’s also a popular destination in any season whether for a specific event or just to walk around.

Winchester Kings Gate

Photo: J Beddington Many medieval city gates would have had Churches near or even on them. Winchester’s King’s Gate houses St Swithun’s Upon King’s Gate. This was to enable travellers to pray and give thanks for safe journeys.

Of course the University is a key part of the city and celebrating our 175th year. Here and here are some of the media coverage. Furthermore this article talks about being based here as a student.