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UTC scholars visit Great Britain

The home in which Peter Rabbit still lives has been but one stop in a UTC English summer course on children's and young adult British literature, taught by Dr. Fran Bender, Professor of English. One of the twelve students accompanying Bender on the England-Scotland course said that even though she didn't actually see the famous Beatrix Potter character, she certainly felt the presence of the author and the many creatures that populate the famous writer's series of books and stories.

UTC English professor Fran Bender and her class of children's
literature scholars standing at the doorway of Beatrix Potter's
Hilltop Farm home. Hilltop Farm is the site of Beatrix Potter's
children's stories including The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Before Beatrix Potter died in the early 1940s, the author left instructions that her rural English home be opened to the public and that it not be a traditional museum. Potter said she wanted her home to appear as though she'd just stepped out into the garden, and that her visitors could expect her to join them at any moment. UTC student Franny Glass said that's just the feeling she had as she walked though the old farm house and grounds.

Bender recently taught "From Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter," a survey of children's British literature from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries. The course includes readings from Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, Mollie Hunter, J. K. Rowling, and other English and Scottish authors. The course itinerary included visits to London, Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, The Lake District, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and York.

UTC English professor Fran Bender and student Amanda
Loftis walk through the great dining hall of Oxford University's
Christ Church  College. Dr. Bender is teaching an on-site
summer course on children's and young adult literature of
England an Scotland. The dining hall was the inspiration for
scenes in the Harry Potter motion pictures.

UTC student Jason Dickson intends to teach high school English, and Dickson says that in the three weeks of the course he gained experiences and knowledge that will last a lifetime of teaching. Jason and his classmates visited the birthplace and the burial site of William Shakespeare in Stratford-on-Avon. They've walked through the massive Christ Church College dinning hall at Oxford University, the inspiration for the Harry Potter Hogworts dinning hall. They've stood on the battlements of Stirling Castle overlooking the plains where Scottish hero William Wallace, "Braveheart," fought the English, and they've visited the tiny village of Great Missenden to tour the museum devoted to the author of Willie Wonka, Matilda and other classic children's stories.

Dickson, Glass, and their classmates early in the trip visited London's Victoria and Albert Museum for a personalized lecture from the museum curator responsible for the children's collection, and near the end of the tour, the students were guests of the world famous "Seven Stories" museum near York, England.

The students say the course is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The course is offered through the UTC English Department and the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA).

Bender and her students returned the first week of July from their month's adventure in England and Scotland.

July 14, 2006

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