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The Medal Casebook

The following Case Studies and Learning Resources are made available here for all to use, enabling you to try out someone else's ideas in your own context. Each is followed with a facility to offer feedback or you can contact the author directly. If you use any of these materials in written work please use the citation given at the end of each resource, adding the access date if needed.

Case Studies

Published In 2007

Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind': An analysis of the role of video games as a form of childrens' media.
Student-active formative assessment methods: Written peer-response and student developed assessment criteria
Group Poster Presentations
A cross-over task: the logo as focus for student/pupil talk
A Survival Guide to Early Childhood Studies (Induction – Introduction to academic reading and writing)
The Future of War: an analysis of the changing nature of British war comics
Understanding ‘The Adolescent Perspective’: Introducing theories of the social construction of childhood into the Performing Arts to make teaching and learning more effective.
Visual Metaphors in Early Childhood Studies.
Parenting and Family Systems
My Ideal Space
The Poetry Of Childhood
Still Life For Observation
Rereading Children's Literature
All our Culture, All our People”: Mass Media representations of Asylum Seekers
Acknowledging student’s existing knowledge as a way of approaching academic understandings
Reading Visual Images: Stimulating discussion, reflection and analytical thinking in relation to young children as learners
Charvas’ and ‘Chorbas’: using popular constructions of adolescence to encourage development of perspectives on culture and theory in English Language studies
Sites of Discourse
Working With Binaries
Reworking the fairy tale: some starter activities.
Patchwork Text

Published In 2006

Let The Punishment fit the Crime: Evaluating Judge Dredd
More than Meets the Eye’: Consuming Licensed Media
How Old?: looking at young children’s development
The Problem of Making ‘War’ seminar-sized.
Third year research projects exploring perspectives on childhood across the generations
Students’ Postcards: gathering feedback from large groups
Responding online: a ‘starter’ activity for e-discussion boards
Using settings other than school as an extension to school experience
Developing reflective writing in first year undergraduate Childhood Studies students
Using picture books to discuss the social model of disability

Devising categories of analysis of childhood

Published In 2005

Using Personal Photographs of Childhood
Using e-learning to Publish Student Voices
Using Formative Self and Peer Evaluation of Short Writing Tasks
Building a Group Set of Notes for a Module
Using Seminars as Editorial Meetings
Debating Young-Adult Realism
Only Skin-Deep?: Layering the text

Reading childhood across two centuries…
Using a virtual learning environment as an assessment tool
The use of a Glossary as a learning and assessment tool
Still ‘classic tales’? The comparison of two versions of the same fairy tale
The Twentieth Century’s most famous child

Learning Resources

Published In 2008

Signs of Childhood- Data gathered by Student Researchers

Published In 2007

Working with and understanding Graphic Novels, Comics and Manga
Using videos to analyse and compare childhoods.
Using Margaret Donaldson’s classic Children’s Minds – an exercise in close reading
Helping students to recognise the material, cultural and graphical features of books
More Signs of Childhood
A Year in the Life: Chatterbox, 1900

Published In 2006

Designing children’s environments according to particular views of ‘the child’: using student-created posters as alternative literacy practices
Children in the Classroom Space
A conference for young people on childhood
The Media and Narrative Literacy Project: research methodologies for informing the undergraduate curriculum

Spaces for Children and for Understanding Childhood? Exploring Museums, Galleries and Libraries

Published In 2005

Virtual Visiting: Contrasting Photographs
Student Authors/Student Editors. Guidance Notes
Signs of Childhood

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Case Studies

Title of Case Study: Using Personal Photographs of Childhood

Authors: Mel Gibson and Kay Sambell, Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts/Approaches to Teaching: visual literacy, values and ideology, symbolic representation of childhood, artifacts, student voices, encouraging student writing, working with large groups.

Issue

Many of our students have simply never thought about the values, attitudes and assumptions that underpin their own and others’ views of childhood. The overall tendency is to see childhood as a stable, homogenous entity and students often unreflectively assume that their own childhood is ‘the norm’ (unless their own childhood is one they see as ‘problematic’). In addition, arguably, many of these students could be seen as not having had the time or space to develop a critical distance on their own childhoods.

Getting students to think beyond a fairly basic, often emotive, set of ‘common-sense’ ideas about the child is a challenge, but it is equally important to find ways of challenging these assumptions in a way which does not undermine the confidence of the students by making them feel inferior or wrong. This is particularly important because many of our students are worried that they do not ‘belong’ at university and are extremely anxious about whether they will be able to make the grade.' more >>

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Title of case study: Using e-learning to Publish Student Voices

Authors: Mel Gibson and Kay Sambell, Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:values and ideology, how children are valued, views of the child, student voices, using e-learning, working with large groups, encouraging student presentations/communication.

Issue

Many of our students have simply never thought about childhood as anything other than a ‘common-sense’, homogenous phase that everyone goes through. Among the group, high levels of nostalgia about can be predicted in any discussion about childhood as a phenomenon.

What we were trying to achieve with this activity.

We are keen to challenge the notion that childhood is a straightforward (and universally happy or irresponsible) time of life. We hope to highlight that many different perspectives on childhood exist, and that the words they use to describe childhood and the child are likely to have a host of connotations. In short, it is important that students begin to see that the range of terminology that surrounds childhood is far from neutral. We want them to consider what they may simply take for granted and begin to identify broad philosophical assumptions underpinning different constructions of childhood. more >>

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Title of Case Study: Using Formative Self and Peer Evaluation of Short Writing Tasks

Author: Kay Sambell,Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:values and ideology, differing cultural values and norms around childhood, theory/practice, views of the child, agency and rights, adult identities in relation to childhood, student voices, using self and peer assessment, working with large groups, encouraging student writing.

Issue

Our students find writing academically about different perspectives on childhood very challenging initially. In their assignments they often fail to draw upon wider reading and appropriate theory, tending to rely too heavily on their lecture notes. more >>

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Title of case study: Building a Group Set of Notes for a Module

Author: John Issitt, University of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Module coherence, balance between diachronic and synchronic understanding of the constructions of childhood, substantive pedagogical issues, seminar management.

Issue

Many students are initially bewildered by the thesis of social construction of childhood and struggle to grasp it, or use it effectively in their written work. This can be compounded by unfamiliarity with how to use historical research. Further, that the debate concerning the worth and power of social construction is played out in battles about how to read and use history may add to a student's confusion.  There is, therefore, a danger that some students may fail to see any coherence in their study of childhood.

These problems can be partly addressed by providing a tight and coherent course structure and highly structured seminars.

However, one key technique that has been extremely effective in supporting student understanding of this material involves individual students recording what the group did and what they found interesting or problematic. They then produce a set of notes reflecting the week's work for the whole group, which, by the end of the module, covers every seminar.

What I was trying to achieve with this activity

This approach supports all the students by enabling them to revisit issues and so develop their understanding of the territory and geography of ideas they have traversed. more >>

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Title of case study: Using Seminars as Editorial Meetings

Author: John Issitt, University of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Visual literacy, values and ideology, student voices, differing cultural values and norms around children’s media and literature, adult memory, adult identities in relation to childhood, student academic preference.

Issue

‘Textbooks’ are often seen as politically neutral and ideologically 'squeaky clean'.  Many students do not consider educational texts to be constructed by their authors or reflect on the ideological conditions in which, and through which, they are created.  My concern is to help students start to analyse the ways in which such texts are ideological and political, often in subtle, but significant ways.  In doing so, they are encouraged to explore the political and pedagogical drivers used in the construction of textbooks. In addition, the module also cover issues in relation to the graphic presentation of knowledge and the pedagogical skill needed to craft a learning journey in the joint efforts of the textbook author and the layout artist.

What I was trying to achieve with this activity

My aim is to increase student’s understanding of the construction of knowledge in educational media. I achieve this by positioning students as the authors and designers of texts themselves (as outlined above).  The students have to anticipate the needs of their chosen user group for the textbooks and come to understand the negotiation and compromise that that might involve. They also have to lead their user/learner through their chosen subject, which engages them with both how the user is constructed and the ways in which textbooks present knowledge in ideologically inflected ways.  That they have to subject their work to the scrutiny of their peers and listen to the views expressed is an important aspect of understanding the drivers in relation to the production of textbooks, as is finding positive ways of supporting others.

This activity also increases student’s understanding of the mixture of constructed elements – visual, linguistic and pedagogical – involved in the business of the design of educational media – and thereby increases their sensitivity to processes of meaning making. more >>

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Title of case study: Debating Young-Adult Realism

Author: Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: student voices, values and ideology, symbolic representation of childhood/adolescence, differing cultural values and norms with reference to childhood/adolescence, adult identities in relation to childhood/adolescence. Other: [with relation to these specific text(s)]: sexuality, polyglossia, aesthetic criteria.

Issue

Although it is now over thirty years since Judy Blume's Forever, the Young Adult (Y/A) genre still continues to stir up public outrage. Some of my students have read, and are excited by (or take for granted), 'new' writing that pushes boundaries ever further; but others have not. (Students who go on to read literature at university may have skipped Y/A books, and proceeded straight to contemporary adult texts, or classics). They may be interested and keen to read more; or may be shocked, indignant, contemptuous or distressed. Seminars are never clinical laboratories where participants can instantly leave personal feelings and beliefs outside; nor can teachers ever be sure that they have anticipated every individual's private sensitivities about any specific topic. Experience of teaching this area over the years has confirmed me in the view that such extra-textual feelings need to be accommodated within academic discussion; but that a structure needs to be found to help students to process them.

What I am trying to achieve

My final goal here is, as always in this module, to encourage considered analysis of a key genre in contemporary fiction; and of the models of adolescence it constructs in its subject-matter and in its address; and to ground this in detailed examination of specific text(s). Two major 'knee-jerk' factors can get in the way: the inflammability of the subject-matter, and (inversely) its possible air of cliché. In other words, students' responses may reflect responses among concerned adults in the general public: instantly to condemn the texts for their subject-matter, or to dismiss them for their style. more >>

Title of case study: Only Skin-Deep?: Layering the text

Author: Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: identity, values and ideology, views of the child, threats to childhood, changing investments in childhood, symbolic representation of childhood, children’s media and literature, adult identities in relation to childhood, student voices. Other [with regard to reading and response] signification, semiotics, interpretative possibilities; [with regard to pedagogy] inter/active approaches to text and theory

Issue

Although compelling reading, the combination of a seemingly transparent text and potentially explosive content can be difficult to discuss. Peter Hunt (1999) remarks that ‘criticism has remained virtually silent’ in the face of the ‘apparently simple, first-person prose’ of such writers as Anne Fine and Jacqueline Wilson. Students who are still in the process of developing critical skills might justifiably feel ill-equipped to deal with such a challenge. New realist approaches, especially in texts marketed for a pre-teen audience, can leave some students thinking that there is little to say—in seminars or in their essays. Once they have expressed broad sympathy for the protagonist or general dismay about the ‘loss of innocence’ -–in contemporary childhood and/or children’s books--how might they take analysis forward?

What I am trying to achieve

With Jacqueline Wilson’s The Illustrated Mum as the focus, tattoos—as image, metaphor, and process—inspired this session. My general aim is to defamiliarise both the text and the seminar-situation, to help students to look carefully at the ‘surface’ of the writing, and to deepen and layer their readings. My reasons are two-fold. I am interested in extending into a fresh genre my own long-term experiments with ‘hands-on’ approaches to text, outside the normal discursive patterns of seminar work; and I am also looking for ways of encouraging students to stay longer with the text before rushing to voice their ‘summary’. As an extension, I also wanted to find a workshop format where students and younger readers (12-year olds, in Year 8) could meet as equals for a ‘crossover’ discussion more >>

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Title of case study: Reading childhood across two centuries…

Author: Roger Clark, York St John University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: cultural and historical constructions of childhood; intertextual relations in the literary representation of the child; the child as ‘other’; enhancing student writing; group work; the writer in the classroom.

Issue when studying the literature of childhood students often find it difficult to grasp the concept of childhood as a shifting historical and cultural construction. They tend all too readily to elide notions of difference or change across time and rely rather uncritically on concepts such as ‘innocence’ as a way of approaching ideas of the child. On the other hand they sometimes treat literary representations in a compartmentalised way, a tendency that is encouraged by the periodisation of literary study that is a common organisational principle in undergraduate programmes. more >>

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Title of case study: Using a virtual learning environment as an assessment tool

Authors: Sue Robson and Lorella Terzi, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Inclusion, working with and for young children, children’s rights

Issue The purpose of the module as a whole is to provide a theoretical framework within which students can analyse what is a complex, and often contentious, issue, that of Inclusion. Level 1 study of special educational needs within the programme concentrates on the underpinning aspects of policy, and historical developments. As always, students bring their own experiences, both their memories of their own childhoods and often, especially for those with practical experience, their work with children with special educational needs. This means that they tend to have very different views on the principle of inclusion, and a key part of the module is about how they are able to develop their understanding of inclusion from different perspectives. more >>

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Title of case study: The use of a Glossary as a learning and assessment tool

Author:Sue Robson, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: relationship of theory to practice, children’s development, cognition

Issue Study of the development of thinking and understanding in early childhood involves a consideration of ideas and theories from a number of disciplines, and involves a wide range of ‘specialist’ terminology, often drawn from psychology, ethnography and neuroscience, in particular. Knowing about what such terms and concepts ‘mean’ can tend to remain on a theoretical level, and students can often fail to make the connection between abstract ideas, and human behaviour, in real children. Looking at the development of thinking and understanding also involves reference to fields of study that students will have encountered in other modules on the programme: children’s play, language and communication, and cultural, emotional and social influences on development, for example. As a final year module, the intention is also that students are able to draw upon previous study, and make connections in their knowledge and understanding, seeing young children’s development as holistic more >>

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Title of case study: Still ‘classic tales’? The comparison of two versions of the same fairy tale

Author:Angela Smith, University of Sunderland

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: This case study focuses on a strategy for encouraging students to appreciate and actively apply theories and concepts relating to ideologies and discourses in children’s fictions.

Issue: This activity was designed to help ease students into a new module looking at discourses and ideologies in children’s fictions. This Level 3 module is offered as an option to students on a wide range of degree programmes. In its first running, it has attracted students from English and English Language/Literature, Media and Cultural Studies, Education, Joint Honours, Journalism and Media Production degrees, as well as two Exchange students. Despite their diverse disciplinary backgrounds, which make for some very interesting discussions and examples in sessions, all of the students have previously studied Linguistics modules to help them understand the more complex analytical skills demanded of them at this level. Some students, however, initially flounder when presented with a picture book, which may only have four or five sentences. Providing them with strategies for analysis on both a micro (‘word) and macro (‘above the word’) level is a crucial aspect of helping them gain a clear idea of how they can go on and analyse texts of varying magnitude. more >>

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Title of case study: The Twentieth Century’s most famous child.

Author:Roger Clark, York St. John University

Key concepts: the child as author: ethics and moralities of studying texts of childhood: the reception of such texts and their historical, cultural and ideological status: student re-reading of childhood texts.

Issue: The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the bestselling non-fiction books in publishing history and is a very rare example of a child-authored text becoming part of the world literary canon. It is a text that straddles different genres and audiences and is a familiar element in school curricula. It poses questions about the ethics of reading and reception, about the appropriation of an image of childhood for wider purposes, and the representation of adolescent subjectivity and sexuality. Its relative instability as a text, given the various published versions of it, raises questions about the very nature of texts, how they are constructed and received. Reading The Diary of Anne Frank in a degree level module also allows students the opportunity to re-read a familiar text and review the nature of their own reading practices. more >>

Title of case study: Let The Punishment fit the Crime: Evaluating Judge Dredd

Author: Martin Charlton, South Tyneside College

Aim: This study introduces students to the visually and thematically dense world of British comic character Judge Dredd. There is an existing academic precedent for studying Judge Dredd in relation to both Text (Newsinger, 1999) and Audience (Barker, 1998), and a wider field of research into the comic book as a medium for dominant ideological reinforcement/rejection. This study relates to this work in that it compares a number of texts from various points in the character’s existence. It enables the student to identify and appreciate how whilst a text’s basic structure may at a glance remain the same, a text can be reformatted to fit differing ideological perspectives in different temporal contexts, and can even portray these ideological conflicts simultaneously. More>>

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Title of Case Study: ‘More than Meets the Eye’: Consuming Licensed Media

Author: Martin Charlton. South Tyneside College

Aim: The purpose of this study is to familiarise students with the key issues & arguments surrounding the relatively new concept of ‘licensed’ media, specifically ‘toy tie-in’ media, which initially addressed children as an audience, providing students with some historical background to the issue as well as providing examples of texts representative of this media form. Arising in the early 1980s, ‘licensed’ media is any media, be it a TV show, movie, video game exists primarily to promote another product, be it a video game, a toy line or otherwise. At its most basic level, licensed media can be seen simply as another form of intertextuality. More>>

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Title of Case Study: How Old?: looking at young children’s development

Author: Sue Robson, Roehampton University

Aims: views of children, differing cultural values and norms around childhood, theory/practice.The module combines study of children’s development, and approaches to observing children, with periods of first-hand observation of young children, aged from birth to six years, in home and institutional contexts. More>>

Title of case study: The Problem of Making ‘War’ seminar-sized.

Author: Pam Knights, Durham University

Aims: [Students’ focus] how children are valued, views of the child, agency and rights, stages of childhood, children as powerful, as participants, threats to childhood, symbolic representation of childhood, Other: Violence, ethics of reading and representation. [Teachers’ focus—pedagogy and curriculum]. ‘Serious Issues’ – the risk of trivialisation; seminar focus--‘set text’ or ‘open forum’? student voices; students as researchers. More>>

Title of case study: Third year research projects exploring perspectives on childhood across the generations

Author:John Issitt, University of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:Research methods, oral history, changing perspectives on childhood.

Issues: For several years I have provided an option for students doing third year empirical dissertations in which I direct students into researching perspectives on childhood across the generations. After background reading in, and developing familiarity with, the literature on the social construction of childhood, students design a questionnaire and an interview schedule which they pilot, adapt and apply to as large a population, and as wide an age range, as possible. In practice this usually means populations of approximately ten 20-35 yr olds, ten 35-50 yr olds, ten 50 – 65 yr olds and ten people aged 65 yrs and over. The categories, ranges and numbers vary according to the student’s ability to access these age groups, their energy and the time at their disposal more>>

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Title of case study: Students’ Postcards: gathering feedback from large groups

Authors: Kay Sambell & Mel Gibson, Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:student voices, using e-learning, working with large groups, encouraging student presentations/communication.

Issues: The module introduces first year undergraduates to key theoretical perspectives on the academic study of childhood. 120 students, many of whom are ‘non-traditional’, lack confidence and are not sure what to expect. more>>

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Title of case study:Responding online: a ‘starter’ activity for e-discussion boards

Author: Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: student voices, children’s literature. Other:critical thinking, confidence-building, alternative approaches to reading and understanding texts, VLE, e-discussion board

Issues: I have used this quick and straightforward ‘freeze-frame’ approach with all levels (from Level 1 to Masters); my contexts were in modules with a literature focus--but it is easily transferable to non-literature texts/modules/students. Students within my own groups came from a range of disciplines, encompassing both single honours English Literature students and those (e.g. Politics, Natural Science students) for whom this was their only literature module. This case study draws its examples from work on a Children’s Fiction elective module. more>>

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Title of case study: Using settings other than school as an extension to school experience

Author: Anne Croft, York St. John University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: For trainee teachers to recognise the value of school visits and use them to inspire creative teaching and develop cross-curricular links. more>>

Title of case study:Developing reflective writing in first year undergraduate Childhood Studies students

Authors: Amanda French and Julie Hughes, University of Wolverhampton

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Encouraging student writing

Issues: This core module for all first years in the School of Education
Introduces first year undergraduates to key learning outcomes. more>>

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Title of case study:Using picture books to discuss the social model of disability

Author: Nicole Matthews, Liverpool John Moores University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: visual literacies, understanding medical and social models of disability; getting started with writing using alternative literacy practices; how children are valued; encouraging students to think about media industries and their relationship to understandings of childhood

Issues: The examples shown in this Case Study were created during a session that was run with second year students on an optional module called ‘Picture Books and the Developing reader’, part of a BA Joint Honours programme in Childhood Studies. Some of the students taking the module were also taking a part-route in Disability Studies, so were already comparatively well informed about debates over disability and representation. more>>

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Title of case study: Devising categories of analysis of childhood

Author: John Issitt, University of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Categories, analysis, universality, context.

Issues: This activity can help students recognise the difficulties and compromises that notions of the universality of childhood involve. The following material supports them into thinking anew about the categories of analysis that might be used in comparing childhoods in different contexts. I want them to recognise the difficulties by engaging in the process of selecting and applying such categories. More>>

Title of case study: Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind': An analysis of the role of video games as a form of childrens' media.

A
uthors: Martin Charlton & Lucy Shouksmith, South Tyneside College

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: This session’s ultimate aim is to encourage discourse around the prevailing (although increasing less dominant) view that Video Games, as an entertainment form, are the domain of childhood. From there it moves on to discuss whether recent changes to the gaming industry and its output have led to a situation where a percentage of mainstream ‘blockbuster’ games are now unsuitable for children, given their themes and aesthetic content. Further discussion in the session allows students to dissect the shifting, yet often contradictory, moral panic about the Video Game that has existed to varying degrees in both America & Britain for over twenty years. More>>

Title of case study: Student-active formative assessment methods: Written peer-response and student developed assessment criteria

A
uthor: Assistant Professor Kristin Holte Haug, Oslo University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Formative assessment, peer interaction/friendship tutoring, assessment criteria development, students’ academic writing, group dynamics, virtual learning environment (VLE) More>>
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Title of case study: Group Poster Presentations

A
uthor: Carrie Winstanley, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Working with large groups; assessment strategies to support learning; theory / practice. Also a range of subject matter depending on student choice such as: differing cultural values and norms around childhood; stages of childhood; gender; play, threats to / from childhood; parenting. More>>
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Title of case study: A cross-over task: the logo as focus for student/pupil talk

A
uthor: Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: student voices, children’s voices, children’s literature. Other: active approaches to reading and understanding,, crossover books, critical thinking, confidence-building, widening horizons, boys’ reading, raising aspirations, learning communities. More>>
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Title of case study: A Survival Guide to Early Childhood Studies (Induction – Introduction to academic reading and writing)

A
uthor: Elise Alexander, Sue Greenfield, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: The BA in Early Childhood Studies at Roehampton is a large programme, with a Year 1 intake of about 125 students. These students arrive at Roehampton from diverse backgrounds and with widely differing experiences of education. Often they are the first in their families to go to university so they have very little idea about what university will be like and how to get the best from their time in higher education. Others lack confidence in their ability to cope with this new environment, while others may have completed early childhood diplomas and certificates, so they may feel that they are covering familiar territory. These different experiences and anxieties exacerbate students’ natural trepidation about starting their university course, so our aim was to design an induction session that would allay some of these anxieties and, at the same time, to lay the foundations for good working habits. More>>

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Title of case study: The Future of War: an analysis of the changing nature of British war comics.

A
uthor:
Martin Charlton, South Tyneside College

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: This case study focuses on the notion of role models in British boys’ comic 2000AD (IPC/Fleetway/Egmont Fleetway/Rebellion1977-ongoing), in particular looking at changing notions of heroism in this publication over time. More>>

Title of case study: Understanding ‘The Adolescent Perspective’: Introducing theories of the social construction of childhood into the Performing Arts to make teaching and learning more effective.

Author:
Anntain Hubbard University: Faculty of Education, RAD

Key concepts: Teaching and Learning, Motivation and Learning, Childhood Constructions, Cultural studies, Adolescences, Cultural and Sub-cultural Youth Identity (ies), Sociology of Youth, Performing Arts, Youth Lifestyles. More>>

Title of Case Study: Visual Metaphors in Early Childhood Studies.

Author:
Elise Alexander, Roehampton University

Key Concepts: Making connections between students’ experiences of learning and children’s learning; developing understanding of children’s learning through metacognition; developing understanding of the value of observation in studying young children, connection between theory and practice. More>>

Title of Case Study: Parenting and Family Systems

Author:
Liz Savage. Please direct queries and feedback via g.williams@yorksj.ac.uk
Liz Savage is a graduate of York St John University, with ten years experience of working as a parenting educator in the voluntary sector

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
parenting education, family systems theory, family therapy, symbolic representation of family structure, child development More>>

Title of Case Study: My Ideal Space

Author
:Sue Robson, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
relationship of theory to practice, children’s development, space, children’s views, working with/for children More>>

Title of Case Study: The Poetry Of Childhood

Author:
Roger Clark, York St.John University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
Initiating discussion on the cultural and historical construction and representation of childhood. Using a poetry text as a starting point for discussing definitions of childhood, the meaning of such terms as ‘innocence’ , the induction of children into adulthood and conceptions of morality, good and evil, humanity More>>

Title of Case Study: Still Life For Observation

Author:
Elise Alexander, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
Distinguishing between noticing and observing; developing understanding of the distinctive nature of observation in studying young children; fostering a spirit of collaboration and interaction; learning from each other. More>>

Title of Case Study: Rereading Children's Literature

Author:
Alison Waller, Bath Spa University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
biography and autobiography, adult memory, nostalgia, artefacts, values and ideology, encouraging student writing, using self and peer assessment, student voices. Other: aesthetic criteria, using creative methods.
More>>

Title of Case Study: All our Culture, All our People”: Mass Media representations of Asylum Seekers

Author:
Martin Charlton, South Tyneside College

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
The purpose of this session was to explore the ways in which a relevant political issue can be discussed in different ways by the same medium. This was approached through the use of two vastly different comics, Rob Williams’ ‘Asylum’, originally published in the science fiction anthology comic ‘2000AD’, a publication aimed at a child/teen audience, and Bryan Talbot’s ‘Alice in Sunderland: An Entertainment’ which is largely aimed at an adult audience. More>>

Title of Case Study: Acknowledging student’s existing knowledge as a way of approaching academic understandings

Author:
Sigrid Brogaard Clausen, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
Student voices and collaborative work, Student experience and understandings related to and used as a critical approach to theory/academic literature, re-contextualisation More>>

Title of Case Study: Reading Visual Images: Stimulating discussion, reflection and analytical thinking in relation to young children as learners

Author :
Kathy Ring, York St John University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
The use of visual images relating to young children’s learning as a tool for: eliciting student response; analysing student understanding; supporting students’ exploration of the rites and rituals surrounding children’s learning within educational settings; supporting students’ exploration of children’s rights and child/ adult power relations within educational settings. More>>

Title of Case Study: ‘Charvas’ and ‘Chorbas’: using popular constructions of adolescence to encourage development of perspectives on culture and theory in English Language studies

Author:
Catherine Montgomery, Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
Perspectives on culture; ideas of ‘otherisation’; how social groups stigmatise each other; encouraging emerging understanding of the dynamic relationship between language and culture; development of perspectives on theory; development of confidence in seminar discussion; experience of researching secondary sources and internet books. More>>

Title of Case Study: Sites of Discourse

Authors:Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:voice, values and ideology, theory/practice, children as powerful, institutions, symbolic representation of childhood, children’s literature. Other: active classroom methods, role play, dystopian visions, imagined futures; defamiliarisation; Lois Lowry (‘Gathering Blue’; ‘The Giver’) More>>

Title of Case Study: Working With Binaries

Authors:Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: values and ideology, theory/practice, institutions, symbolic representation of childhood (in films etc), children’s literature; Marxist approaches to class, power. More>>

Title of Case Study: Reworking the fairy tale: some starter activities.

Authors:Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: gender, changing investments in childhood, symbolic representation of childhood (in films etc), child in media, children’s media and literature: More>>

Title of Case Study: Patchwork Text

Authors:Elise Alexander, Roehampton University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Cumulative assessment, assessment that supports learning, peer support, reflective writing, group work, enhancing students’ writing, developing confidence in group learning. more>>

Learning Resources

Title of Learning Resource: Virtual Visiting: Contrasting Photographs

Authors:
Mel Gibson and Kay Sambell, N
orthumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
using e-learning, working with large groups, changing investments in childhood, space, how children are valued, visual literacy, theory/practice, working with/for children/young people.

Issues

We predominantly employ these resources to increase student awareness of the ways in which settings and other places can embody the ideology of those child professionals who manage those spaces. In addition, we see the use of these images as having a role in improving visual literacy. more >>

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Title of Learning Resource: Student Authors/Student Editors. Guidance Notes

Author: John Issitt, University of York

Issues

This approach challenges students to think about how knowledge is presented, what the status of the author is, what issues are selected in creating textbooks and how they are treated.  It places them in the position of author and editor and requires them to negotiate issues in the ownership of knowledge and pedagogical craft.  Further, it has vocational relevance in that it requires students to work with and support other students in a way that reflects the real world of educational publishing. more >>

Title of Learning Resource: Signs of Childhood

Author: Pam Knights, Durham University

Issues

At the start of my module, I need a rapid way of engaging my groups with different concepts of ‘the child’/ ‘childhood’. In an already packed schedule, where the priority is studying the literary texts, I can afford only a brief space in the introductory seminar. In the past, I have simply thrown some verbal examples into my opening chat (or passed round newspaper clippings or snapshots), and invited further instances from the group. The advent of the VLE, PowerPoint (or interactive whiteboards), digital cameras (and now mobile phones) seemed a good opportunity to bring in more vivid, visual examples, and to encourage students to begin to capture and collect their own. I use these resources in similar contexts to those in the MEDAL resource ‘Virtual Visiting: Using Contrasting Photographs’, but within a ‘literary’ module, I find the ‘textual’ aspect of these signs useful. Even these ‘mini-texts’ can act as a point of departure for exploring the elaborated and complex texts and signs of fiction for children. They could also form, in themselves, the focus of an longer-term group- or individual study; and be extended into investigations of different cultures, or possibly historical periods. More >>


Title of Learning Resource: Designing children’s environments according to particular views of ‘the child’: using student-created posters as alternative literacy practices

Authors: Kay Sambell and Mel Gibson, Northumbria University

Issues

We use the learning resources below (thumbnail pen-portraits of different views of the child) as a central part of an activity which helps students begin to appreciate the importance of, and differences between, key concepts of ‘the child,’ many of which are tacitly held, and seem, at face value, to be simply ‘common-sense.’
We are keen to encourage students, as early as possible, actively to practice the problematic business of meaning-making within the course, in ‘low-stakes’ formative situations, well before it ‘counts’ in their summative assignments. We have deliberately chosen a playful, graphic, cartoon-like style of utterance (collaborative posters) as the medium for this task. This casts us, as tutors, less in a traditional tutor-evaluator role who passes judgment on the student’s writing as finished product, but instead ideally enables us, as well as students’ peers, to explicitly engage together in the ‘construction of text as meaning making in progress’ (Lillis, 2001, 44).
The thumbnail pen-portraits upon which our poster activity is based are downloadable and can be used or adapted for teaching sessions. More>>

Title of Learning Resource: Children in the Classroom Space

Author: Roger Clark. York St John University

Issues

The purpose of this study is to familiarise students with the key issues & arguments surrounding the relatively new concept of ‘licensed’ media, specifically ‘toy tie-in’ media, which initially addressed children as an audience, providing students with some historical background to the issue as well as providing examples of texts representative of this media form. Arising in the early 1980s, ‘licensed’ media is any media, be it a TV show, movie, video game exists primarily to promote another product, be it a video game, a toy line or otherwise. At its most basic level, licensed media can be seen simply as another form of intertextuality. More>>

Title of Learning Resource:A conference for young people on childhood

Author: John Issitt, University of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: I ran a sixth form one day conference at the University of York in 2005 on the theme of ‘Does education liberate anyone?’ and, given the success of the event, decided to run it again in 2006 on the theme ‘Is childhood getting shorter?’ The first and second conferences differed in that for latter event I arranged for a group of university undergraduates to manage and run the day as well as liase with, and visit, schools in preparation.

Issues: My motivation was that I wanted to celebrate the voices of young people. I wanted to hear what they thought about childhood and I wanted them to hear each other and their own voices. more>>

Title of Learning Resource:The Media and Narrative Literacy Project: research methodologies for informing the undergraduate curriculum

Author: Val Williamson. Edge Hill University/Liverpool John Moores University.

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: Methodologies for researching childhood, particularly in relation to media literacy.

Issues: The aim of this Learning Resource is to discuss methodologies for researching childhood through the undergraduate, and to consider certain ethical issues arising from using students as research subjects that could equally apply to researching in schools. The Project requires the development of methodologies to discover detail of the student empirical experience of their subject area prior to arrival at university, and will progress to consider how the student experience may be enhanced as a result. Issues of methodology interest undergraduates too, as their curriculum increasingly incorporates research methods into their education and training. The Media and Narrative Literacy Project began its pilot run in September 2005, with students of Media at Edge Hill University, Lancashire and students of Media and Cultural Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. This paper describes the Pilot Project phase 1, the questionnaire phase, and phase 2, the interview phase, and poses certain methodological questions and solutions. In particular, it discusses how to think about the responses to the surveys made by those two methods. more>>

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Title of Learning Resource: Spaces for Children and for Understanding Childhood? Exploring Museums, Galleries and Libraries

Authors: Mel Gibson and Kay Sambell, Northumbria University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: values and ideology, representations of the child and childhood in artworks, representations of the child and childhood in museum collections, exploring institutional understandings and definitions of childhood, drawing on the ‘real world’, visual literacies, space.

Issues: The module introduces first year undergraduates to key theoretical perspectives on the academic study of childhood. There are usually around 120 students participating in this module, many of whom could be considered ‘non-traditional’ students. More>>

Title of Learning Resource: Working with and understanding Graphic Novels, Comics and Manga

Author:
Mel Gibson Northumbria University, (in conjunction with Learning and Teaching Scotland)

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
values and ideology, understanding comics, using comics in classrooms, comics and childhood, views of media effects, visual literacies.
Issue: Comics are often seen as problematic and yet also as a significant medium that needs exploring in relation to childhood, nation, notions of literacy, adult audiences and many other topics.

Mel Gibson created the following resource in conjunction with the Learning and Teaching Scotland team, to begin to address some of these topics. The case studies, in particular, (ref the file at the foot of the introductory page of the site) give detailed accounts of a range of possible ways of working with, and thinking about, graphic novels and manga, plus additional essays and other information resources to develop understanding of the medium. Whilst the focus on the website is on working with young people in schools, the materials have also been extensively used with older students and professional groups.

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/literacy/findresources/graphicnovels/section/intro.asp
This link appears with kind permission of Learning and Teaching Scotland

Title of Learning Resource: Using videos to analyse and compare childhoods.

Author:
John Issitt, University Of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
In the second session of an introductory course in Childhood Studies I used three videos recording the lives of children in different countries as the stimulus for discussion. Along with these videos, I supplied students with gridded A4 worksheets on which were specified four categories of analysis, those being gender, economic circumstances, individual freedom and cultural expectations. More>>

Title of Learning Resource: Using Margaret Donaldson’s classic Children’s Minds – an exercise in close reading

Author:
John Issitt, University Of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
Margaret Donaldson’s Children’s Minds (Harper Collins, 2006, 1st ed. 1978) is a classic text in the literature of child development. It offers great scope both for exploring substantive issues and the methodology of research in that area as well as providing a great teaching resource that can be used to improve student skills in close reading. It is fairly short, well written, effectively organised, offers some challenging and thought provoking ideas and can be read within a limited time frame. In addition, buying enough copies for a small class is not too expensive an outlay (typically cost is around £6.99 and there can be discounts from suppliers). more>>

Title of Learning Resource: Helping students to recognise the material, cultural and graphical features of books

Author:
John Issitt, University Of York

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:
It may seem strange to think of it this way but books, at one level at least, are arrangements of ink stains on wood pulp mash. Nowadays they are produced by machines under the direction of graphic designers using appropriate software, but in the past many more hands were involved in paper production, typesetting, printing, book binding and all the different operations of the book industry necessary to produce the physical object of the book. This sense of physicality and of human creation (known as physical bibliography in librarianship, one of the few disciplines to make the book as object a focus of study) is a feature of books that often eludes students and readers in general. Of course books in their various forms – textbooks, collection of essays, seminal works, novels, extended monographs and books for children etc. – have status, meaning and iconography that go way beyond their physicality. The act of reading has rich, multiple and varied dimensions but it is precisely that richness and variety that very often obscures the recognition that people have arranged the physical thing that sits in the readers’ hands. more>>

Title of Learning Resource: More Signs Of Childhood

Author:
Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts:how children are valued, views of the child, differing cultural values and norms around childhood, stages of childhood, threats to childhood, threats from childhood, space. More>>

Title of Learning Resource: A Year in the Life: Chatterbox, 1900

Author:
Pam Knights, Durham University

Key Concepts/Threshold Concepts: identity, values and ideology, historical change and possible continuities, visual images/illustrations: Other: children’s reading in other periods, Englishness, nation and identity, imperial themes, assumptions about childhood interests; adult agendas; race, disability, gender. More>>

Title of Learning Resource: Signs of Childhood- Data gathered by Student Researchers

First year students at Northumbria university undertook empirical research on a core theory module ‘Perspectives on Childhood’ . To gather their data they referred to and built upon Pam Knight’s MEDAL Learning Resource (2005) ‘Signs of Childhood.’

In addition to the extensive collection of images, which the students wanted to share as a resource across the higher education community, students also wrote commentaries on their images which were shared amongst the group. These commentaries included analysis and reflections on theories of childhood. We have not included these commentaries, as they formed part of individual’s assignment work.

This project could be replicated, so we’re offering it here as a model for anyone to use and develop in their own context. Alternatively, the images can be used to stimulate discussions about the meanings of childhood in teaching. We have found they are very useful for stimulating discussion with a range of students or professionals.

If you have any comments about this resource, or would like to consider ways of enabling students to share data and analyses in similar ways, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

In the first instance contact kay.sambell@northumbria.ac.uk or mel.gibson@northumbria.ac.uk

Click on the link to access the collection of images as a PICASA slide show

http://picasaweb.google.com/perspectives.on.childhood/SignsOfChildhood070802?authkey=dUFrKvTlGDI#



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