Outdoor Journeys on the Royal Mile, by Sarah Button

_MG_6313Photos by Dora Pelczer.

“To the constant heart, the affairs of mortals are but a shade.” These words are written in gold on a building on the Royal Mile, but I’m betting you’ve never noticed them. Now all that’s about to change…

Wednesday’s event took on a new approach to the way we learn and observe information by doing as little actual teaching as possible. A speedy powerpoint complete with animated transitions introduced us to our assignment for the day: to ask questions about your everyday journeys. We were then released onto a short stretch of the Royal Mile and told to find questions based on what we saw.

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What are Outdoor Journeys? 

Personally I had no idea that Outdoor Journeys is a concept rather than an activity; it’s so much more than just venturing outside. It’s all about a change of scene from the classroom while still achieving effective learning. The idea is to be inquisitive about your surroundings — asking yourself why a street is the way it is. We’ve all walked down the road each day and wondered why there are shops on one side and only restaurants on another, or why one building always seems to be vacant. Now we’re finding the answers.

My group chose to investigate the Latin inscriptions on one of the buildings on the Royal Mile. With my rudimentary knowledge of the language, my task was to translate the lettering. At the end of the session each group presented the answer to their chosen question, and we left with lots more knowledge of both the Royal Mile and of a different way of learning.

When I was translating the Latin words I was struck by one of the phrases — “constanti pectori res mortalium umbra” — if you want to know what it means, read the first line of this entry.

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