Ireland is not the typical spring break destination for most students or teachers, but it was high on my list of places where I wanted to spend time- at any time.
What is there to see or do that could interest a teacher/life-long learner for a week? There’s much more than time would permit. Many go for the bus tours that cover a wide swath and give the tapas bar experience, but I prefer to plan a few destinations and discover the gems that lie in between. And perhaps that is the way many of us approach education- to attempt to shove too much into too little time in a vain attempt to say we have had the experience.
The gem of my journey was a walking tour that I knew very little about in advance. I knew that I wanted to go on it and I knew the perspective of the tour guide; it was a rebel tour lead by the friendly folks of Sinn Fein. The tour brought historical perspective and identified several other points that I wanted to investigate on my own. But the lasting impression of the tour was the passionate and knowledgable guide who walked us through a narrative that included the prominent events, places, and lives of the 1916 Uprising. It also reminded me of those universal design elements that ought to be part of instruction at any level. The guide exhibited multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement at every stop. The facts were connected to lives and outcomes inside of a greater and more important narrative. And we became part of the ongoing story.
It’s taken me a week or more to come to this conclusion, but I knew that it was important for more than my personal enjoyment of the content and the location. My visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells was also inspiring, but that will be illuminated in another post.