Wednesday 1 December 2010

Intro to Children’s Literature – A Pub Quiz

Week 10 is our “pub quiz”. We look at the essential facts about Children’s Literature with an emphasis on late 20th and 21st Centuries. There is a certain amount of general knowledge students should be expected to have by the end of this course. So, they are presented with a “pub quiz” which they can access before the session. They then work their way through this in class in teams along with fitting a list of children’s writer’s into a series of grids that identifies who wrote what for whom when.
It was a bitter cold day yesterday and some roads were difficult to access because of snow and ice. The class is from 4.00 to 6.00. Many students commute quite a long way. Nevertheless, a committed bunch of seven turned up and worked through the material with gusto. We also spent a little time looking at a picture book text that one of the students had written. It broke all of the rules but still worked.
The answers were given after about one hour. This led to some quite lively discussions about some of the key figures in Children’s Literature. There were many grey areas. A discussion of those bought us to some consideration of what happens in the study of English Literature. Basically if you believe something is true it is up to you to prove it with convincing and extended arguments quoting the texts. Could J.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling fit into most of the boxes, in fact, followed closely by Enid Blyton, Rudyard Kipling, C. S. Lewis and Charles Dickens? And did they think to put my name in any of the boxes?

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