Using Technology in Designing a Children's Literature Course for Postgraduate Students
Eduardo Encabo and Juan Varela Tembra
Eduardo Encabo and Juan Varela Tembra are based at University of Murcia. Faculty of Education. Campus universitario Espinardo s/n 30100 Espinardo Murcia, Spain. E.mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
In this work we will describe a postgraduate course/seminar which is being taught at the University of Murcia (Spain). This course has technology as a support because students must use the internet to pass the course. In this case, the internet helps doctorate students to get information and to interact with lecturers.
Here we will try to show the design of our doctorate seminar and to explain what its origin was and its development. In addition, the course links with a European network related to Children's Literature and Intercultural Education. It is very important for teacher trainers, teachers and researchers to know the resources and how to work with them in the classroom.
In this section we want to give the readers the keys to understanding this idea. This seminar has been designed to take into account different projects related to Children's Literature and Intercultural Education.
First of all, we have to talk about the EPCB (European Picture Book Collection). This is an on-line project, funded by the European Commission, whose director was Dr Penni Cotton (University of Roehampton, UK). The EPBC was created with the co-operation of educationalists from the fifteen member states of the European Union (EU). The European experts were able to draw up criteria for selecting books for the EPBC and suggest ways in which they might be used in primary schools. Details from this and subsequent meetings of children's literature experts are outlined in Cotton (1999).
Through this approach, adults (especially primary teachers) are now beginning to find ways of helping children to learn more about Europe and, at the same time, gain greater literary and linguistic understanding. The focus of their activities has been to look at the similarities between languages and cultures whilst accepting and celebrating the differences.
Without doubt the webpage www.ncrcl.ac.uk/epbc in which the results of this project appear will be one of our resources in developing the doctorate seminar. On the other hand, the second main resource is BARFIE (Books And Reading For Intercultural Education). This is a European thematic network in intercultural education aimed at teachers, librarians, parents, children and school authorities which use books and other media for children. BARFIE was developed between 2002 and 2004 with funding from the European Union as a Comenius Network, involving at its core fourteen European countries, with that teaching institutions, schools, libraries, and school authorities, while reaching out to involve schoolchildren, teachers, researchers, publishers and the public in general, not only in those countries but all over Europe.
The BARFIE website: www.barfie.net will be a good resource in the development of our seminar. Specifically the BPBC (Barfie Picture Book Collection): www.ncrcl.ac.uk/epbc (at the bottom of the page), this is an EPBC parallel outline taking as a reference the BARFIE Catalogue (the books selected by the experts from the participating institutions). Both, the EPBC and the BPBC will serve our design. In this way doctorate students can learn more about Children's Literature, about Europe and about Intercultural Education.
Teaching of Language and Intercultural Education using Children's and Young Adult Literature is the name of our course. By this name we can appreciate how three important concepts are included. The seminar belongs to the program of the doctorate: "Teaching of communication, Languages and cultures", offered by the University of Murcia (Spain). When we were discussing the structure of this course, we thought about introducing students to new ways of thinking and working. It is clear that nowadays ICTs have a big impact on our society. Because of this, people must use ICTs in a suitable way.
Through this seminar we want to combine different concepts, such as Intercultural Education, Children's Literature and ICTs. It is clear that we have to use the results obtained from different projects or networks. This is the reason that BARFIE and EPBC are included in this design. The fact of having related-WebPages is a great advantage and simplifies the work. Also, we have the tool named SUMA with which we can establish a virtual relationship between students and lecturers. In the following section we will show the structure of our seminar. Of course, within this we can see the relationship between ICTs and learning. In our case this regards the professional who will teach how to teach language and Literature in the classroom.
At the beginning of the course we have an interview with the students in which we give them the necessary information. We explain to them how the seminar will be developed. The students have all the information (documents, contact with lecturers, and have their own space to upload archives) in SUMA (an internet tool designed by the University of Murcia). Next we will show the structure and the tasks related to the seminar:
Tasks to complete the seminar:
You must complete the following tasks A, B and C:
A. The Assignment
Personal critical Essay about the texts below (from fifteen to twenty pages):
1. Article: P.Cerrillo (2003). "Lo literario y lo infantil: concepto y caracterización de la literatura infantil". En P. Cerrillo y S. Yubero (Coords). La formación de mediadores para la promoción de la lectura. Cuenca: Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, págs 18-25.*
2. Book: López Valero, A. y Encabo, E. (2002). Introducción a la Didáctica de la Lengua y la Literatura: un enfoque sociocrítico. Barcelona: Octaedro.**
3. Book: López Valero, A. y Encabo, E. (2004) (Coords.). Didáctica de la Literatura: la dramatización, el cuento y la animación a la lectura. Barcelona: Octaedro.**
*You can find this in SUMA (shared space).
**Available in bookshops and libraries
Visit this website: www.ncrcl.ac.uk/epbc
On the right side you can find the link to the EPBC Collection. You must visit the collection
After this, back to the main page, scroll down to the bottom and click on BARFIE Picture Book Collection. You must visit this collection.
In both cases clicking on each book, will get information about it. You will find information and activities about each one of the thirty two books (Twenty belong to EPBC and twelve belong to BPBC)
1) You must visit all the books included in both presented projects and you have to make a report, with your personal commentary about them.
2) As you have seen, all the texts (thirty two) have a section called "Rationale for Choice". You have to examine this and create a table which includes the reasons for choosing the books. Taking as a reference this table, make a profile of children's and young adult book destined to be used in intercultural education (values, characters, titles, and so on). Number of pages: free.
C) Write a final report about teaching Children's and young adult Literature and Intercultural Education (you have to include the concluding remarks of your work in the first two sections)
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION:…. You must upload your files with the documents in your SUMA space (Contents, to administrate my contents -upload the archive -)
As we have seen, we can use ICTs in learning processes. The kind of students does not matter; ICTs can be useful for everyone. Nowadays, we have new topics such as Intercultural Education in schools and because of this we have to think about new ways of treating them. In this text we have studied how to design a doctorate seminar using ICTs. The results are good because students can manage time on their own and are in contact with tutors when they want, by mail as well as at the office. Also, they are in contact with recent research and studies. In this way, we benefit from ICTs. The improvements are reflected in students` autonomy, speed of the relationship, and of course, the quantity and quality of information they can access. In short we can say that in this case ICTs are helping us to improve the teaching/learning processes.
COTTON, P. (1999). "The European Picture Book Collection". Children's Literature in Education, 30 (2), 45-56.
DE CASTELL, S. (2000). "Literacies, technologies and the future of the library in the "information age"". Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32 (3), 359-376.
HUNT, Peter, (1994). An introduction to children's literature. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
LÓPEZ-VALERO, A., COYLE, Y. and ENCABO, E. (2005) "Re-thinking Language and Literature teaching: stories throughout the curriculum" Learning Languages, 10 (2) (Spring, 2005): pp. 14-15.
LYNCH, J. (1986). Multicultural education: principles and practice. London: Routledge.
ROBERTSON, J. (1998). "Paradise lost: Children, multimedia and the myth of interactivity". Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 14 (1), 31-39.
Please check the Methodology and Language for Primary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Skills of Teacher Training course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the What's New in Language Teaching course at Pilgrims website.