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Autumn Term 2017

This page will be populated as sessions are confirmed. In the meantime, you might want to consider the Further Reading, and start thinking about how you will tackle the question "How can I help a child develop as an ethical being?".

Week 1: Introductory week

This week we will be thinking what exactly the overarching question of the course means to each of you: "How can I help a child develop as an ethical being?"

We’ll think through this question with the help of two short texts, listed below.

Preparation task

Select an image, sound, text or object that, for you, captures your immediate response to the central question of the module. We’ll share these in the session, so please bring something that you’re willing for other people to see.

Required Reading:

  • Bowen, E. 1986 [1946]. 'Out of a Book', in The Mulberry Tree, London, Virago, pp.48-53. Which can be found by here.
  • Greene, G. 1951. 'The Lost Childhood', in The Lost Childhood and Other Essays, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, pp.13-17. Which can be found here.

When reading these, try to think:

  • Do you identify with what the author is saying?
  • Have you had any similar experiences? If so, can you think of examples?
  • They don't necessarily have to be experiences with books, has any other medium made you feel similarly?
  • If not, why do you think you haven't had such an experience?
  • Do you believe the author that they've really had these experiences?
  • These pieces are written in the mid-1900s by an Irish and English author (respectively) - do you think this influences anything in their standpoints?


Week 2: Philosophical approaches to ethical development and literature (Guest: Eileen John, Philosophy)

This week we will be looking at how the discipline of philosophy has traditionally approached questions such as: What does it mean to be a good person? How do we develop our moral sensibilities and ethical reasoning? What is childhood? What role do literary (and other) narratives play in these?

This week may have the most reading. However, these are all short extracts and are tackling some of the core, theoretical elements of the module so it is imperative to familiarise yourself with this material. Please do put the time aside to read it all.

Remember, the question that you are asking is "How can I help a child develop as an ethical being?" Even if you're struggling to get to grips with any of the ideas, jot down anything in the paper that you think will help you answer that question.

Required Reading:

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, section II.1-4, in A new Aristotle Reader, ed. J. L. Ackrill, Oxford, Clarendon. Found here.
  • Gooderham, David. 1993. ‘Still Catching Them Young? The Moral Dimension in Young Children’s Books’, Celebrating Children’s Literature in Education, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.115-122. Found here.
  • Lafollette, Hugh. 2014. 'Theorizing about Ethics', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester, Wiley Blackwell, pp.3-10. Found here.
  • Mills, C. 2014. 'Introduction', in Ethics and Children's Literature, ed. Claudia Mills, Farnham, Ashgate, pp.1-14. Found here.
  • Buckingham, W. 2009. Finding our Sea Legs: Ethics, Experience, and the Ocean of Stories, Kingston, Kingston University Press, pp.1-15. Found here.

Week 3: The Play’s The Thing: How Shakespeare’s theatre-makers catch the conscience of their ‘young’ audience (Guest: Esther Ruth Elliott)

This session will address some of the ways in which Shakespeare is interpreted by theatre makers and Educational Practitioners who wish to engage with a younger audience. Exploring both theatrical choice-making and educational practices, this seminar will reflect on some of the desired outcomes from using Shakespeare-in-practice and how that might positively develop aspects of individuality and social responsibility.

Esther Ruth Elliott has been a professional actor for nearly twenty years. Her theatre work includes: RSC, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, Glasgow Citizens, Out of Joint, Young Vic, Orange Tree (Richmond), Theatre Clwyd and West Yorkshire Playhouse. She has been an Education Practitioner for Shakespeare’s Globe and the RSC as well as continuing her own teaching-practice with acting students, trained actors and theatre-companies.

Following on from her recent ‘Discovering Shakespeare’ workshop for blind and visually-impaired actors at Extant Theatre Company, she begins work on her new project ‘Lear’, which she will direct for visually-impaired actors and audience. For Extant, she is also a director and mentor on their ‘The Write Stage’ programme.

Esther completed a Masters in Global Shakespeare in 2015 and her research interests have led her to speak at the European Shakespeare Research Congress in Gdansk earlier this year and develop further cross-academic exchanges with her current Shakespeare-in-Gaza project.

Required reading:

Gibson, Rex. 2016. Teaching Shakespeare: a handbook for teachers. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Available in the Library. Read Chapters 1 and 2.

Schonmann, Shifra. 2006. Theatre as a medium for children and young people: images and observations. Dordrecht, Springer. Available in the Library. Choose from Chapters 1 – 4.

Recommended reading:

Winston, Joe. 2015. Transforming the teaching of Shakespeare with the Royal Shakespeare Company. London, Bloomsbury.

Banks, Fiona. 2013. Creative Shakespeare: the Globe education guide to practical Shakespeare. London, Bloomsbury. Available in the Library as an e-book.

Week 4: Psychological approaches to ethical development and parenting (Guest: Ameerah Khadaroo, Psychology)

This week we will explore psychological theories concerning the moral development of children with Ameerah Khadaroo from the Department of Psychology and discuss them in relation to a well-known, and still popular, work of children's fiction. We will analyse whether the models and process we have already looked at need adapting to these approaches and how they might impact upon your answering the module's overarching question.

Required Reading:

  • Wilson, J. 2006. Bad Girls, London, Corgi Yearling. Copies are available in the library, can be purchased on Amazon, or are likely to be available in local libraries in their children's section.
  • Flemming, J. S. 2008. 'Piaget, Gilligan, and Others on Moral Reasoning', in Psychological Perspectives on Human Development, Southwest Psychometrics and Psychology Resources [online]. Can be found here.
  • Nicholls, S. 2015. 'Why children's authors shouldn't always 'kill the parents'', The Guardian Online, 01/09/2015. Found here.

Have a think:

  • If you have any relevant experiences with children, or know someone who does who you can speak to, think about the questions presented at the end of the Flemming paper. Particualrly question 4.
  • What is parenting? Is there anything a good parent has to do? What is the goal of parenting? What should the goal be?
  • Apply question 5 to Bad Girls. What parenting styles are illustrated in the book? What are the repercussions of these?
  • How do each of the character's ethical character and how they approach ethical decisions change throughout the book? Who, if anyone, has the most impact on these?

Extra reading to take you further...

  • Sainsbury, L. 2013. Ethics in British Children’s Literature, London, Bloomsbury. Pp.31-40 offer an ethical analysis of Bad Girls, extract can be found here.

Week 5: The role of the theatre in ethical development (Guest: Kate Sayer, Head of Creative Learning at Warwick Arts Centre)

How do theatre programmers choose which plays and productions to put on? We’ll consider how people like Kate balance the number of tickets a particular production is likely to sell with the desire to tell stories that are important.

Required reading:

  • Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days. Available in the Library, via Amazon, and likely to be available in your local library.
  • We strongly recommend that you see the production of Around the World showing at the Warwick Arts Centre from 24 October – 26 October (tickets are £20 - £24 for students depending on the seat you choose).
  • Familiarise yourself with the Arts Centre’s family productions that are available over half term. How do they sit alongside Around the World?

Week 6: Building collaborative creative spaces (Guest: Juliet Raynsford, Centre for Education Studies)

This session will explore collaborative design practices when working with children and young people with complex additional learning needs. This practical session will explore a range of techniques that can be used to develop inclusive creative learning environment.

Required reading:

Hall, E., (2013). Making and gifting belonging: creative arts and people with learning disabilities. Environment and Planning A, 45(2), pp.244-262.

Lacey, P., Layton, L., Miller, C., Goldbart, J. and Lawson, H., (2007). What is literacy for students with severe learning difficulties? Exploring conventional and inclusive literacy. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 7(3), pp.149-160.

Ragnarsdóttir, Á.H. and Thorkelsdóttir, R.B., (2011). Creative learning through drama. Drama Research: international journal of drama in education, 3(1), pp.1-18.


Week 7: Age-Appropriate: Content and Ethics in Young Adult Literature (Guest: Susie Day, author and writer of children’s and YA fiction)

This week we’ll consider young adult fiction: what and who defines its parameters, and which controversies recur. We’ll analyse the role of ‘gatekeepers’ of fiction for children and young people, and what impact both exposure and censorship have on the ethical development of young people.

Required Reading:

  • Brooks, K, 2013. The Bunker Diary, London, Penguin. Available in the Library, on Amazon, and likely to be available in local libraries in the children’s section. Please note that you may find this novel uncomfortable to read. If you don’t want to finish it, please make a note of where you stop reading so that we can discuss this in the session.
  • Carey, T, 2013. ‘The sick-lit books aimed at children’, Daily Mail Online, 03/01/2013. Can be found here.
  • Manwill, R, 2012. ‘Warning: on YA, Ratings, and “Censorship”’, BookRiot, 05/25/12. Found here.

Have a think about these questions:

  • How do books help us become ethical beings?
  • What ethical responsibilities does an author have to young adult readers?
  • Are the rules different for books than other forms of culture and media?

Week 8: Tackling the darker side: abuse and neglect (Guest: Peter Sidebotham, Warwick Medical School)

This week we will discuss how abuse and neglect affect moral development in children and look at how Anne Fine's The Tulip Touch tackles such a sensitive topic and how other authors theorise approaching such issues.

Required Reading:

  • Fine, A. 1997. The Tulip Touch, London, Puffin. Availble in the Library, on Amazon, and likely available in local libraries in their children's section.
  • Howard, Ellen. 1988. ‘Facing the Dark Side in Children’s Books’, The Lion and the Unicorn, 12:1, pp.7-11. This can be found here.
  • Revisit 'Harvester Road' by John Boyne in Here I Stand from week 5.

Extra reading to take you further...

  • Sainsbury, L. 2013. Ethics in British Children’s Literature, London, Bloomsbury, pp.58-70 offer an ethical interpretation of The Tulip Touch, found here.
  • Fine, A. 2013. Blood Family, Corgi - the story of a foster-child trying to cope with the 'evil' of his abusive father and his fear that he will end up just like him

Week 9: Translating for Children and Young Adults - Ethics and the Foreign (Chantal Wright, English and Comparative Literary Studies)

This week we will explore what the publishing market looks like in relation to the representation of minorities in Britain, the translation of works of fiction from other cultures, whether the situation is similar in other mediums, and what, if any, impact a lack of exposure to characters who represent one's own ethnicity, religion, and so on, might have on a child's ethical development.

Required reading:

  • Almond, David. 2015. ‘A World Beyond Alice’ (BBC Radio Four). Found here. [30 minutes]
  • Hahn, Daniel. 2015. ‘A World for Children’ (part of the BBC Four Thought series). Found here. [15 minutes]
  • Hahn, Daniel, and Everroad, Briony. 2014. ‘Around the Globe: An Introduction to International YA Writing’. Words Without Borders. Found here.
  • Take a look at some of the translation samples that accompany Hahn and Everroad’s article.

Recommended reading:

  • Lathey, Gillian. The Translation of Children’s Literature: A Reader. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Print.
  • Lathey, Gillian. Translating Children’s Literature. New York: Routledge, 2016. Print.
  • Oittinen, Riitta. Translating for Children. New York and London: Garland, 2000. Print.
  • Shavit, Zohar. “Translation of Children’s Literature as a Function of its Position in the Literary Polysystem.” Poetics Today 2.4 (1981): 171-9. Print.

Week 10: Assessment preparation

Further Reading

The following is by no means an exhaustive list, it is just some of what I believe to be very valuable texts to read and I've included reasons as to why after each entry. Once you've picked a topic for your assessments you should definitely expand your research horizons outside of this list!

  • Allan, C. 2012. Playing with Picturebooks, Basingstoke, Palgrave – offers an insight into how contemporary picturebooks are playing with form to create new modes of engagement for the reader. Those of you focusing on other mediums may want to look at this and the Tandoi paper below to consider how medium can affect how messages and ideas are portrayed
  • Brighouse, H. & Swift, A. 2013. 'Parents' Rights and Responsibilities', The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, H. LaFollette (ed.), BlackWell Publishing Ltd., pp.3803-3811, online and accessible using university login - a brief overview of the key considerations and debates regarding the role, rights, and responsibilities of parents
  • Brighouse, H. & Swift, A. 2014. Family Values: The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships, Princeton, Princeton University Press - esp. chapter 6: 'Shaping Values' – a philosophical exploration of the parent-child relationship and the duty of parent’s within that to shape a child’s values. Key focus is on developing a condition by which we can measure when it is morally permissible to favour one's own children
  • Dresang, Eliza T. ‘The Resilient Child in Contemporary Children’s Literature: Surviving Personal Violence’, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 22:3, pp.133-141 – to further explore the concept of ‘resilience’ in children’s literature and how it can be a moral characteristic insofar as it allows us to continue to function after trauma
  • Demers, P. (ed.) 2008. From Instruction to Delight: An Anthology of Children’s Literature to 1850, Ontario, Oxford University Press – a great collection of excerpts from and overviews of the ethical trends in children’s literature from before the ‘turning point’ of children’s literature in the 1850s
  • Heyman, G. & Lee, K. 2012. ‘Moral Development: Revisiting Kohlberg’s stages’, Developmental Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies, A. Slater & P. Quinn (eds.), London, Sage, pp.164-175 – to further understand and read Kohlberg in a contemporary light
  • Koenig, A., Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. 2004. 'Moral Development: The Association between Maltreatment and Young Children's Prosocial Behaviours and Moral Transgressions', Social Development, 13:1, pp.87-106 – an empirically informed discussion of how maltreatment affects moral development
  • Kreps, J. & Gonzalez, T. 2010. 'The Effects of Maltreatment on Children's Moral Development', unpublished, CalPoly website - an undergraduate dissertation so to be read with critical caution but the most complete discussion of this topic that I could find

  • Mills, C. (ed.). 2014. Ethics and Children’s Literature, Farnham, Ashgate – a couple of chapters will be used from this book during the module but the whole thing is very useful for a variety of topics
  • Narvaez, D. & and Lapsley, D. 2014. ‘Becoming a Moral Person’, in Empirically Informed Ethics: Morality between Facts and Norms, eds. M. Christen et al., pp.227-238 – for an example of how psychology and philosophy can intertwine to help us understand ethical development
  • Nikolajeva, M. 2014. Reading for Learning: Cognitive approaches to children’s literature, Amsterdam, John Benjamins – chapters 7 and 8 are highly relevant for the course but the entire book is good if you are wanting to grapple with how children learn from literature and cognitively develop
  • Nikolajeva, M. & Scott, C. 2001. How Picturebooks Work, New York, Garland Publishing – a great place to begin when trying to understand picturebooks and how they affect children
  • Sainsbury, L. 2013. Ethics in British Children’s Literature, London, Bloomsbury – some extracts were already suggested as reading on the course but the whole book is a great resource as Sainsbury is well versed both in children’s literature and ethical theory
  • Salway, L. (ed.) 1976. A Peculiar Gift, Harmondsworth, Kestrel Books – one of the essays from this book was used in week 3 but it really is a goldmine of opinions on writing for children and what children’s literature should be from the nineteenth-century
  • Sipe, L. 1998. 'How Picture Books Work', Children's Literature in Education, 29: 2, pp.97-108 - a great introduction to the way picture books create extra room for meaning-making and creativity. Found here.
  • Strawson, G. 2016. ‘You Cannot Make Yourself the Way You Are’, A Very Bad Wizard, ed. Taylor Sommers, London, Routledge, pp.3-16 - a fantastic and accessible interview that will push your thinking on whether we’re actually free or have free will, and, if not, does that mean it is even possible to be an ethical being? Found here.
  • Tandoi, E. 2014. ‘Unruly Girls and Unruly Language: Typography and Play in David Almond’s My Name is Mina’, Journal of Children’s Literature Research, Vol. 37, Barnbroken [online] – a good example of an analysis that looks beyond the narrative of a text into how the form of a piece can affect the reader's thinking
  • Tatar, M. 2009. Enchanted Hunters: the power of stories in childhood, New York, W. W. Norton – as it says in the title, an accessible exploration of exactly what role and power stories have in our childhood
  • Wonderly, M. 2009. 'Children's film as an instrument of moral education', Journal of Moral Education, 38, pp.1-15 - for those of you wanting to follow up on film and narrative rather than literature