Saturday, August 1, 2015

K+ Spotlight

I've just finished a really incredible week of teaching with The Brilliant Club and King's Widening Participation on the K+ Summer Spotlight Programme. A level students from across London come together for a week of learning about university - including tours of and study skills in the library, training and practice on presentations, and student life fun. 
As part of the week, Brilliant Club tutors teach a condensed version of their courses - one tutorial a day for the full week, after which the students have 12 days or so to write up their final assignment. 
My students were absolutely fantastic. We had amazingly intense, respectful, and insightful conversations on democracy, women's rights, and conflict in the Middle East as portrayed by various kinds of media. To teach the rest of the summer school what they'd been up to, my students enacted how the controversy surrounding the Qatar World Cup was portrayed very differently by Fox News and Al-Jazeera. Their American accent attempts were hilarious, as were their chosen names of Hank Smith and Buck Jones, Jr. 

We also, being so very enthusiastic and photogenic, won the Campus Challenge for our group photography on a self-led uni tour. 

A very grand time was had by all, I do believe. Now, to see if they follow through with their essays and put in writing all the incredible thoughtfulness they've been giving me all week in discussions!

Monday, July 27, 2015

K+ Spotlight Programme

I'm teaching this week through The Brilliant Club, the charity that places PhD students in non-selective state schools around the UK to deliver university-style tutorials to students in order to raise aspirations and give them a taste of uni. But this week will be a bit different - I'm running the entire course, not as once-weekly sessions in a normal school routine, but as daily classes on a weeklong summer programme run through King's Widening Participation outreach. I'll have sixteen students spread over two tutorial groups. We start this morning with a campus challenge, sillily running about in a photography scavenger hunt. And then it's to work this afternoon, when my students will get an intro to my teaching style, the influence of journalism on society, and the Middle East. Fingers crossed that all shall go well and I haven't entirely forgotten my curriculum over all my summer travels!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There's no place like home

I’m home! Not only am I in London, I’m actually going to be there for a walloping ten days.
Just pulled in from a lovely weekend in Scotland at The Burn, a retreat centre operated by Goodenough College, the postgraduate residential community where many central London Scholars live. The Marshalls go each year for some time all together before people whose scholarship tenure is ending fly away. We frolic about castles, romp a ceilidh (traditional Scottish group dancing), and play croquet – a *lot* of croquet. (Seriously. They would not stop playing croquet. They played by the light of their cell phones until 1am or so.
Greg and I went straight from our week in Lisbon to Scotland, with a lovely night interval at Heathrow Airport en route. I was very happy to be somewhere quiet for a few days – and it was incredibly rejuvenating to be back in Scotland. I am now very much ready to be home, though, and back to writing. I got a ton of really helpful ideas and brainstorms during my week of summer school on participatory methods, so the next few days shall be delightfully spent very quietly (the kid and his parents are traveling, so it really will be quiet) writing away. Next week, I’m teaching a summer programme at King’s, a revised version of my Brilliant Club course on “Does the Telly Lie? Media and the Middle East”. Hopefully a grand time will be had by all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lisbon Tourism

I'm in Portugal for the first time, attending a summer school (intense short course for researchers) on participatory methods. Conveniently enough, Greg has a close colleague in the city, so he came along for the week and is working with João while I'm in class.
We came in a few days early and saw some pretty things, though...including an awesome aquarium and Sintra, a community about an hour from the capital with a glorious castle, multiple palaces, and some fabulous gardens. There may also have been a wee detour to the beach.

My class includes students and teachers from Germany, Hungary, Brazil, Austria, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I'm the only native English speaker in the room. It's really quite, quite cool. And I'm even learning something. ;)

Au revoir, Paris!

**This post got stuck in my outbox...publication intended last Monday 6 July!

What a weekend! Went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, cruised along the Seine on a restaurant boat, day tripped to Versailles, took Effy to Disney for the first time, and wandered the Louvre. All in all, a most excellent weekend - especially since it came with the added bonus of seeing both Bailey and Chris, undergrad roommates, together for the first time in years!

Happily back in London now, though, and ready to stay at home for four whole days before Greg and I take off for Lisbon. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Au revoir, London!

And Bonjour, Paris!

Gregory and I are off on an early morning expedition to London Luton for a 6am flight to Paris for the weekend. We'll be meeting up with our cousin, two of my roommates from undergrad, and one of their older sisters. Sightseeing, Disney, and Versailles to commence shortly!! In the meantime...hello, beautiful London morning. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

DESiGN Round 2

I went to Norfolk again!

You're probably all thinking I spend more time in Norwich than London...only partially true! But I was there for several days again this weekend, happily working again at Holt Hall. 

Last year, the Marshall Scholars ran an environmental arts, science, and policy residential programme at Norfolk County Council's Outdoor Education Centre as part of our service project. The weekend went so well that the centre manager asked us to run it once again - this time explicitly focusing on vulnerable young people in the area. The programme was funded by Children's Services instead of the Scholars via our activity fund (as it was last year), giving us more flexibility for additional events - and hopefully working toward a model of running the weekend several times a year, as there certainly seems to be the demand! We were overbooked for the weekend. 

Teenagers came to the glorious house and grounds and...
-cooked me curry dinner over a campfire they'd build themselves;
-competed in random groups during an environmental photography scavenger hunt; and
-developed action plans for running energy-saving campaigns in their schools. 

The students were absolutely brilliant, and we had a really fantastic weekend. Here's to many more! In the meantime, I'm now in London for a whopping three days in a row. :)