ENMCHT-Theory of Children's Literature

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Karin Lesnik-Oberstein

Email: k.b.lesnik-oberstein@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module is taken by all students (in the case of part-timers alternately in their first or second year of attendance) to develop an ability to think through ideas which motivate and define 'children's literature criticism', and to analyse the assumptions on which these, and ultimately all, critical approaches rest.

Aims:
This module is taken by all students (in the case of part-timers alternately in their first or second year of attendance) to develop an ability to think through ideas which motivate and define 'children's literature criticism', and to analyse the assumptions on which these, and ultimately all, critical approaches rest. The module is therefore designed to introduce students to theoretical perspectives on children's literature: what defines 'children's literature'? what can be said about readers, texts, authors and criticism? However, texts used may, but also may not, be explicitly 'theoretical': the module resists a 'cook-book' teaching of 'theory' as a series of 'approaches', instead aiming to develop and follow the students' own thinking and self-reflection. This is also an aspect of the form of the teaching, which varies from week-to-week and year-to-year, and may include presentations, students running the class, group debate, or student-by-student discussion and text-analysis. In terms of the module essay, students are encouraged to question the very 'form' or idea of an 'essay', and are free to hand in any kind of written work (a list of questions, a letter) which demonstrates their thinking, in order to leave the students the space to explore in any way their own assumptions and thinking, and not to impose a prior assumption about what 'must' be done in terms of criticism and writing.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students must produce a 3000-3500 word piece of written work, which may, however be written in any 'form' that the student can explain and defend as relevant to thinking critically and analytically. This is in order to leave the student the space to explore in any way their own assumptions and thinking, and not to impose a prior assumption about what 'must' be done in terms of criticism and writing. The essay must demonstrate an ability to argue closely, with an awareness of which critical language(s) are chosen and why, and the consequences for the student's own writing of these choices.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to the above, students will:
1)be able to formulate questions and recognise relevant problems and complexities.
2)be able to examine and question their own assumptions, arguments and choices of critical languages.
3)be able to analyse arguments made by others in terms of their assumptions and claims, including those of their tutor.
4)be able to read any text - fictional, critical, or non-fictional - closely and be able to analyse its precise use of language.
5)be able to think out loud and engage in peer-group discussion and debate.
6)be able to question notions of authority and think in an independent manner relevant to their own development.

Outline content:
As stated above (under 'aims') this module resists a 'cook-book' teaching of 'theory' as a series of 'approaches', instead aiming to develop and follow the students' own thinking and self-reflection. Texts are therefore chosen with and by the students, so that the module changes every year. The 'content' may therefore be best defined as the examination of the process of critical and analytical thinking through the reading and discussing together of any text - including, for instance, ('children's') fiction, criticism, philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology - chosen by the group as relevant to the problems, questions, or issues they are grappling with at a given time.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of twenty two once-weekly classes of one hour's duration. As the module is student-led, this is also an aspect of the form of the teaching, which varies from week-to-week and year-to-year, and may include lectures (by the tutor, several tutors, or the students), seminars with presentations, students running the class, group debate, or student-by-student discussion and text-analysis. The texts are chosen by the students, and they are expected to read and think about their chosen text before each class as preparation. They may also again chose to vary this preparation through deciding, for instance, to make notes, write letters, or do presentations: it is up to the students. If the students wish the tutor to direct the class or discussion, then the group may be divided up into groups for discussion, or students might be asked to do analyses in turn of sections of text, or might be asked to comment on each other's arguments or formulations, or to have an open group-discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11 11
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study: 89 88
       
Total hours by term 10 10
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Not applicable.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One 3000-3500 word piece of written work (submitted normally on the first Friday of Summer Term, but this is subject to staff-student committee confirmation every year).

Formative assessment methods:
Formative assessment consists of feedback on seminar participation and extensive feedback on all written work.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
If the student submits an unsatisfactory coursework essay or assignment, the student will be allowed to re-submit the piece once more after tutorial consultation
If the student is required to be re-examined on the coursework essays, they may be permitted one calendar month's extension for the subsequent submission of the dissertation.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 10 April 2019

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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