No classroom could possibly contain what Michelle Britt ’00, ’03M, has crafted: an English literature course that is constantly on the move. With each class, Britt, a lecturer of English literature, tries to give her students a real-life literary adventure.
From the streets of 1789 post-revolutionary France in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables to the deep thicket of the Congo in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the importance of setting in literature is stressed by any good English professor. Britt has taken this vital aspect of literary analysis to the extreme in her undergraduate “English in Motion” course. Her class helps students understand setting in literature by enhancing critical thinking and the students’ ability to connect to the world outside of the page. She and her students meet at a different location for each class, which has convened on public buses, atop parking decks, on basketball courts, near fountains, verandas and atriums, and in gardens. According to Britt, the class fosters a sense of community among students. She has seen countless students of all backgrounds and varied majors bond through the love of
the outdoors, travel and adventure. She asserts that this class format has brought out the literature lover in even the most nonchalant students. The basis for the class comes from the book Literature to Go by Michael Meyer. Three years ago, Britt was awarded a grant from the UNCW Center for Teaching Excellence to conduct the class, and since then, “English in Motion” has been on the go. “We meet outside in rain, sun, snow, and only go inside if there is thunder or lightning,” she said. “The requirements for the class are the textbook, a hammock or chair, a journal and a good attitude.” – Caitlin Taylor ’18M To follow the wandering adventures of Britt’s “English in Motion” class, visit their Instagram page @travelingwithclass.
UNCW MA GA ZI NE