on learning argue that significant learning requires that there
be some kind of lasting change that is important in terms of the
learner's life. Knowing facts then is only one aspect of learning.
According to Dee Fink, significant
learning involves a variety of other dimensions, such as application,
integration, caring, and learning how to learn.
Approaches to Young Adult and Children's Literature (ENSP/GETR 345)
has a number of learning objectives: Some focus on tangible knowledge
and skills while others are more abstract and long-term. All learning
activities in the course rely and/or build upon one or more of these
objectives. After looking them over, I encourage you to reflect
on how these learning objectives coincide or differ from your personal
goals for the course.
Human Dimension: How can this course affect your view of yourself
and the world around you?
It challenges you to:
your relationship to your childhood;
the value of reading in your own life and how it differs from
why you prefer certain readings and how books help (or hinder)
you create, affirm or challenge your understanding of and vision
for your own life;
how others' perspectives differs from yours, and why, and how
others' experiences can teach you about the place of your view.
What skills should you acquire in this course?
Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking means "identifying and challenging assumptions
and exploring alternative ways of thinking and acting."
(Brookfield, 1987, 71)
In this particular course, you will have the opportunity to develop
and practice critical thinking. You are asked to:
and challenge assumptions that underlie children's literature
and critical texts about children and childhood;
and challenge your own assumptions and explore new ways of thinking;
engage the ideas of fellow students, helping them to evaluate
their own thoughts and to develop them further.
Writing is both the process of doing critical thinking and the
product of communicating the results of critical thinking. (Bean,1996,
I strongly believe that writing is central to the process of critical
thinking. The writing journal, reading responses, papers and (peer)
critiques provide opportunities to practice your critical thinking
skills as detailed above. They also will help you develop the competencies
necessary to communicate the results of your thinking effectively,
such as these:
strong thesis statements;
strong and clear arguments in support of the thesis;
challenges and counterarguments;
Most workplaces require you to work with others. In creating your
team project you will have a chance to develop some important skills
necessary for planning and executing a successful project including:
individual strength and talents;
project execution plan;
a proposal and a presentation.
Knowledge: What knowledge should you obtain in this course?
You should be able to:
basic socio-historical conditions that shape our understanding
of childhood and children's literature;
basic genres of children's literature and their characteristics;
different approaches to literature and their limitations;
the motivation behind critical writing and academic debates;
that "the meaning" of a text is a product of personal
interpretation influenced by context.
How does this course help me make connections to other courses,
academic interests and aspects of my life?
It encourages you to:
on the current attitudes to children and childhood;
on the role of reading in our society;
how children's studies draws from other disciplines (e.g. psychology,
sociology, history, women's studies);
what you would want to give your child to read and why?
how to learn: How can this course help me be a better learner?
It gives you an opportunity to:
and cultivate what really interests you;
on your individual strengths and how to best work with them;
how a continuous writing practice can be fun and extremely productive;
the value of other people's skills and learn how to set up a team
that draws on everybody's strength.