Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness - Mark Twain

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sample London Application

1.     Proposed Courses:
Humanities 024- Shakespeare’s English Kings: History, Literature and Drama
English 253 – Survey of Late English Literature
English 230- Thinking and Writing Critically About Literature

2.  Alternate Courses:
English 154  - Shakespeare and His World
English 252 – Early English Literature
English 180 – Literature of the Drama

3.     One of the programs that I helped to create at LMC is the American Experience Learning Community, which pairs English 100 and Political Science 10.  My husband, Dave Hobbs, an adjunct political science professor, and I first piloted this program in 2003 to help students to see the connections between these two disciplines and to create a community which supports student success. I have enjoyed linking our course content as students think and write about important issues in our democracy.  For the past two years I have focused on “California issues and politics” as a theme for the English 100 class, and in one unit students studied and wrote about the intersection of food and politics. Students learn about the Slow Food movement, the edible school yard project and local farmer’s markets that connect farmers and consumers.  They also read Epitaph for a Peach, by David Mas Masumoto, and learn about farming from a third generation Japanese farmer.  

In addition to classroom activities, we have organized out of classroom experiences that connect our course content to our local community.  We have invited local representatives such as Mark DeSaulnier and journalists from local publications to present to students and the larger college community. Last year we invited Robert Allen who spoke about the Port Chicago Explosion, a significant event in East County’s history.  For the past 6 years we have organized a Slow Food film festival at LMC (in partnership with Slow Food Delta Diablo), offered one evening in October, which showcases independent films that explore the connections between food and politics.  We have also taken students on field trips to the Oakland Museum, and the Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.

All of this work has prepared me well for the Study Abroad program, which involves developing courses and linking content, as well as organizing outside learning experiences to enhance classroom instruction. I have enjoyed the curriculum development work in the learning community, and am excited to create lessons for students to help enrich their learning experience in London.

5.     I am qualified to teach:  English (Composition and Literature), English as a Second Language, and Humanities courses at LMC under Interdisciplinary Studies.


1.     I have a great deal of experience with recruitment because of my involvement in the learning community.  In 2003, when we first began to offer the American Experience learning community, we actively recruited students to enroll in this new program. I visited classes at LMC and talked with instructors, attended high school orientations, and college nights to inform students about this unique experience. We continued to recruit each year, making announcements in the school newspaper, putting up posters, writing descriptions in brochures and for websites and making class presentations.  Because of our success, we were invited to participate in the Transfer Academy at LMC and have been a part of this first year experience initiative since Fall 2011.  

As part of my recruitment for the Study Abroad Program at LMC, I would first target students in the Transfer Academy and then expand to other special programs as well.  LMC has a very active Honors program and I have already made contact with the Jen Saito, the Program Director, to set up a study abroad workshop in the spring to get LMC students planning for study abroad experiences in the future. Other special programs include Puente, Umoja, MESA and ACE. In these programs, many students are in their first year of college, a perfect time for them to start thinking about and planning for a study abroad experience.  I will create a multi-media presentation to use for recruitment in  classes,  meetings and orientations.   I will also elicit the support of my English department colleagues and ask to make presentations in their courses.  I have taught previously at the Brentwood Center, and will schedule class visits and informational meetings there as well.

I will recruit heavily at DVC, SRC and CCC.   I will work closely with the Study Abroad office and spend two to five hours per week making presentations and recruiting students.  I can adjust my teaching schedule to accommodate these important visits and presentations. I will distribute information generated by the District Study Abroad office and will attend all meetings for recruiting and orientation.  

2.     One of the reasons I enjoy teaching and working in a learning community is that I get to know my students on a personal level.   I have counseled and advised students in the learning community since 2003.   I would welcome having a cohort of Study Abroad students to help through this process, by providing educational information, personal advising, reminders and other support services.  I look forward to establishing and building those relationships with students and other faculty before we spend the semester together in London.

Other Details

1.      I have not participated in a Study Abroad program in the past.

2.     Most of my travel experiences have been with others in groups of various sizes.  I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1980s, and spent 2 ½ years in Kenya, teaching English at a boys’ boarding school in Kwale, near Mombasa.  In addition to traveling extensively throughout Kenya on my holidays, I traveled through Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.  On the way home I spent three months traveling through, India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong and China.   In the past decade, my travel experiences have been closer to home, and in most cases involved learning about the people and/or historical sites of the places we visited.   As a family we have traveled to British Columbia, and through the Southwest, including rafting through the Grand Canyon and visiting Pueblo sites.  We have also taken trips to Princeton, Philadelphia, New York, and most recently to Washington D.C. 

3.     Speaking English will not be an issue, except for different phrases and expressions used in England.  Nonetheless I studied Spanish for 6 years, through 4 years of high school and in my first two years of college; I could read, write, and speak conversationally.  In Kenya I learned conversational Swahili and achieved a 3+ on the Foreign Service Exam. 

4.     I have seen how travel has enriched my life and each semester I talk with my students about my Peace Corps experience and encourage them to take advantage of travel opportunities.  This program appeals to me because it provides a unique teaching and learning opportunity.  When I was in the Peace Corps, I lived among the people in my village, and got to experience, not just the beautiful sites of Kenya, but the Kenyan people and culture on a daily basis. I value the experience of being a resident rather than a tourist, and I will encourage students to immerse themselves in the London culture and see how much they can learn by stepping outside of our American cultural bubble.

As an English major I can think of no better place to go on a literary adventure.  Visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, combing the British Library, which honors the rich tradition of England’s literature, and catching a play at London’s West End would be wonderful experiences to share with students.   I have been attracted to the Study Abroad Program for several years, and now that my youngest son is in graduate school, it is the perfect time for me to participate in this program.

5.     I bring to the program, 33 years of teaching experience.  I still love teaching and learning.  I am dependable and organized, and will meet deadlines and follow through with commitments. I am positive, and flexible which helps when working with others in a different environment.   I like to collaborate with others and I look forward to working with other faculty, staff and students in the program.

6.     I have the full support of my family and will make the necessary personal and financial arrangements if selected.

7.     I joined the Study Abroad Committee two years ago because I want to support this important program.  I welcome the opportunity to participate as a Study Abroad faculty member and bring my experiences back to the LMC community and our district.

Course Descriptions:

Humanities 024 – English Kings: History, Literature and Drama

The course description reads:  “Shakespeare created an exciting series of plays about the English kings who sought to gain the crown of France while holding on to their own crowns (and heads) at home.  These are powerful, tragic, heroic and often funny plays that chronicle England’s evolution from a medieval kingdom to a modern nation. “

Focusing on Shakespeare’s plays about English kings provides an exciting window into England’s history, politics and power struggles. Students will learn the history behind each play, as well as how the story was interpreted by Shakespeare to make more dramatic characters and plot.  In addition to reading the plays and attending productions, students will informally act out scenes as a means to understanding the plays and characters in more detail. 

While studying Shakespeare’s life we will visit key Shakespeare sights such as  Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.  There is a self-guided tour on “Shakespeare: Life, Love and Legacy” and students can see an original 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s work.  We will view Shakespeare’s final resting place and see a play performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company – an unforgettable experience!

While students get a brief introduction to English history and study the kings in depth we can visit Windsor Castle, which has housed the Royal Family for 900 years, and Westminster Abbey, where kings and queens have been crowned and buried since 1066.  I would also arrange field trips to The National Portrait Gallery to see Shakespeare’s portrait and other paintings chronicling 500 years of English history as well as the British Library.  In London we can also see plays at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

To learn more about the British crown we can take a Tower of London tour, which includes the Medieval Palace and the Crown Jewels. 

Students will be able to immerse themselves in Shakespeare, English history and drama, which will make this course come alive. 

English 253 – Survey of Late English Literature

This course focuses on British Literature from the 19th and 20th centuries.  Students will read poems, fiction, drama and non-fiction from the Romantic, Victorian, modern and post-colonial periods.  They will be able to see how the literature was a reflection of British society in each of these periods.

Students will learn about the rich tradition of British literature by reading and discussing classic works. We will also focus on the authors themselves; students will be responsible for making a multi-media presentation on one of the British authors or poets, utilizing the resources available in London. 

When studying the Romantic period, students will read poetry from William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and novels from Jane Austen.  Many of these writers are celebrated around London.  For example, on the second floor of the National Portrait Gallery, students will visit the exhibit on the Romantics and see paintings of Keats, Coleridge, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron.  In mid-September we would be sure to visit the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, just a train ride away from London.

During the Victorian age, England was the wealthiest nation on earth with a global colonial empire.  Students will learn about the way colonialism shaped the world then and continues to affect the world today.  Students will learn about Queen Victoria, who inherited this world empire at age 18.   The Victorian era was the great age of the English novel and the course will focus on the novels of Charles Dickens and also key women writers, such as the Bronte sisters, and George Elliot, (Mary Ann Evans).   Key poets include Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti.  There is a wonderful exhibit on the first floor of the National Portrait Gallery which chronicles the story of the Victorian Age through paintings of Queen Victoria, and influential writers such as the Bronte sisters , Charles Dickens and Alfred Lord Tennyson, as well as Charles Darwin, who also had a major impact on this time period.  We can also compare the themes of poverty and exclusion that Dickens explored in his novels to economic situations in London today.

There are many locales where students can get a sense of life in the Victorian Age. 
We will take a walking tour that includes the Dickens House, the home of Charles Dickens from 1837 to 1839. Now a museum, the house contains his study, manuscripts, original furniture and other items. They will visit Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Tavern on Fleet Street in London to sit in Dickens’ favorite seat and  possibly enjoy a steak-and-kidney pie. Also, they can find the “Oliver Twist” steps, which offer one of the best views of the London Bridge. 

English 230- Thinking and Writing Critically About Literature

During the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, England celebrated its great contributions to children’s literature.  From Beatriz Potter to Harry Potter, England’s rich tradition of children’s literature has captivated children and adults for over 150 years.  In this course, students read and discuss literature from a variety of cultural perspectives, with the focus on children's literature.  Students study literary genres such as short fiction, poetry, drama and the novel, write critical essays and engage in literary research.

In addition to reading and writing, students will research and visit key settings in many of these classic works. For example:

Students will read the classic tales of the Paddington Bear and visit the sculpture of  the little bear, sitting on a suitcase in Paddington Station in London.  

After reading about the adventures of Peter Pan, and viewing the film, Finding Neverland, students will visit the Peter Pan statue on Kensington Gardens.  This is a tribute to the author J.M. Barrie and the days he spent with the Davies boys and their dog, Nana who were the inspiration for Barrie’s  characters.  Kensington Park and Hyde Park were both locations used in the semi-autobiographical film.

The Wind and the Willows is a classic work by Kenneth Grahame.  Students will take a river cruise down the Thames, and at the end of the trip visit an Elizabethan Manor said to be the  model for Toad Hall.   

Students can research Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by visiting the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery in Buckinghamshire. 

At Nearby Oxford, in addition to the university, students can visit wonderful sights. At Christ Church College, where Lewis Carroll attended, students will walk thorough Christ Church Meadow which was a setting used in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.   In the Church itself, they can see where scenes from Harry Potter movies were filmed.  J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, who were friends, both attended Oxford and belonged to a famous writing society, which met at a pub called The Eagle and the Child –an establishment still open today. 

Harry Potter’s story was set in a fictional Britain, but students can visit many real film locations such as King Cross Station, where Harry catches the train to Hogwarts or The London Zoo’s reptile house where he talks to a boa constrictor.  There are also Harry Potter tours for students who want to visit many real film locations.

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