Museum inspires students, connects abstract to real
In difficult classes, one of the foremost challenges faced by students is attaching abstract concepts to actual life experience. The AP English Literature class faced this problem head on during their field trip to the Huntington Library, March 30. They experienced some of the rich history behind the subjects they learned about in class, seeing exotic works such as original copies of Shakespeare’s plays. The Huntington Library contains many valuable books covering a wide variety of topics, from art and history to science and medicine.
First on the student’s itinerary during their day off was sightseeing in the many gardens displayed throughout the library. Almost every biome imaginable is represented in the diverse collection of flora found there. Wandering through the peaceful Japanese and Chinese gardens presented observers with sights such as a beautiful pond full of koi and authentic Chinese artifacts and buildings, as well as the landmark wooden bridge displayed prominently in most pictures of the library. A skilled flutist played music to add an authentic feeling to the experience. With another garden full of statues in honor of Shakespeare and his many plays, the Huntington Library truly gives adds an immersive feeling to a learning experience.
English teacher Andrea Donaghe appreciated the chance to take a trip exploring her subject of choice, and believes that seeing these works in person will complement the things she taught her students in the classroom setting. She hopes that the change in setting will drive home her previous lessons in a more permanent way.
“The fact that the Huntington Library has the pieces of literature that we’ve been studying over this school year made it even a cooler experience,” Donaghe said, “to have them actually go see Shakespeare’s written works, Jack London’s written works. Those are two of the major authors that we have focused on for the AP Test.”
Donaghe looks back fondly on the circumstances leading to the opportunity to embark on this educational journey. She feels blessed to have such an interesting trip occur, and thanks the responsible party.
“It came about something really awesome and as a blessing to me and the class.” Donaghe said. “Rees Roggenstein’s mother approached me in late December to ask if I wanted to go to this museum. She was willing to sponsor the trip and provide us with this amazing experience at the Huntington Library, and she also provided insight into the particular pieces of literature provided at the library. When she was willing to do that, I jumped on it and organized it over Christmas break, and we were able to go in March.”
As well as being educational, Donaghe hopes that the English class field trip provided enjoyment for all people involved. She believes from her student’s reactions that their overall sentiment was a happy one.
“There were beautiful gardens, it got us outside, and it was a great day.” Donaghe said. “They took a lot of photos, and I saw some posted on the Feather Online, and that was really encouraging. I hope they benefitted from it, and if anything I hope that they can look back on it as a positive experience.”
One student confirms her teacher’s suspicion, reflecting on her happiness to learn more through the tour of the library. Senior Olivia Tandajaja relates her favorite moment from exploring the library’s many resources.
“My favorite thing was when I went to visit the medical corner at the museum.” Tandajaja said. “Because I have an interest in the medical field, I loved observing the drawings found in the book of how physicians performed surgeries and childbirths back then. I thought that it was fascinating, and helped me learn the importance of literature. I think that it is a great tool for us to not only recognize how far we have come but more importantly to appreciate the medical advances our generation gets to experience today as a result.”
The field trip to the Huntington Library provided a unique perspective towards older literature that is taught in the classroom. The benefits of the change in learning environment provided by the library are predominantly in the attitude of the students toward their studies. With newfound context, each lesson will hopefully prove to hold more interest for everyone involved.
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