At the beginning of this subject I was familiar with the base understanding of children’s literature and its place in the curriculum. I understood that it should underpin English education and be a part (though often overlooked) of other key learning areas. However, the concept of literature learning was not a term that I was familiar with.
We begun the subject by defining childrens’ literature; I was reminded of the place of technology in todays schools and literature. Hateley (2013) reminded me that new technologies can be seen as just another tool to engage students with reading just as in the past pop ups or textured pages had been added. I feel this is something worth remembering especially when discussing technology with teachers wary of the use of technology in their classrooms. Later on I was reminded of the importance of evaluating etexts and whether they are providing something that traditional texts are not, are they high quality or are we using technology for the sake of ticking boxes on the curriculum (Yokota & William, 2014).
Moving on readings began to be more relevant to our first assignment this focused on students learning beyond literacy skills. I chose to examine science fiction as a genre in upper primary and high school settings. During these readings I came across my favourite quote for the semester:
“The ultimate purpose of literature is not to teach something, but to illuminate what it means to be human and to make accessible the fundamental experience of life, love, hope, loneliness, despair, fear, belonging…” (Short, 2018)
This quote to me outlines the most powerful part of any good literature, its ability to connect people to emotion and real life significance. In science fiction this takes the form of social commentary and the ethical consequence’s of scientific advancement (Dorsey, 2013). Something that with the push for STEM based learning should not be neglected especially as humanities based STEM has been shown to boost female engagement (Chapman & Vivian, 2016).
Moving on, we began to dive into the meat of literary learning, connecting genre and forms to literature response essentially connecting literature to learning. For me the importance of storytelling and its ability to connect emotion to learning became the highlight of the concepts presented. It reinforced my opinion that texts can create a bridge to deeper understanding and foster a student’s love of life long learning and reading. Kane’s (2018) book about literacy enhancing all content areas provides an enormous amount of information about the benefits of connecting all kinds of literature to our students learning.
As a result of this subject I am left some future goals:
- I need to read more and read widely, both traditional texts and technology based, so that I can be better equipped as a Teacher Librarian to discuss students’ interests and better connect teachers to literature across the curriculum.
- I would like to read more into the importance of non-fiction literature. If I had had the time this semester I would have loved to do some research on where traditional non-fiction texts sit on the ‘literature’ scale. How can these influence students education in a meaningful way beyond factual learning. I touched on this in my last forum post (Petterson, 2019) where I was beginning to think about how literature circles could be conducted with science textbooks.
Chapman, S., Vivian, R. (2016). Engaging the future of STEM. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/Engaging-the-future-of-STEM.pdf
Dorsey, J.L. (2013). “Peel[ing] apart layers of meaning” in SF short fiction. In P.L Thomas (Ed.), Science fiction and speculative fiction (pp73-93). Rotterdam: SensePublishers
Hateley, E. (2013). Reading: from turning the page to touching the screen. In Wu, Y., Mallan, K. & McGillis, R. (Eds.) (Re)imagining the world: children’s literature response to the changing times (pp1-13). Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/book/10.1007%2F978-3-642-36760-1
Kane, S. (2018). Literacy and learning in the contet areas – enhancing knowledge in the disciplines. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=5580120&ppg=20#
Petterson, S. (2019, May 16). Literature circles in a non-fiction setting [forum post]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42130_1&conf_id=_78633_1&forum_id=_148052_1&message_id=_2291875_1&nav=discussion_board_entry
Short, K. (2018). What’s trending in children’s literature and why it matters. Language Arts, 95(5), 287-298. Retrieved from http://www2.ncte.org/
Yokota, J. & William, H.T. (2014). Picture books in the digital world. The Reading Teacher. 67(8), 577-585. Retrieved from https://ila-onlinelibrary-wiley-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/full/10.1002/trtr.1262