ERIC Number: ED350063
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Who Is This Child? Children's Literature in a Human Development Class.
Mulligan, Joan C.; Book, Lynn A.
Among the goals of the teacher of human development is to open students' minds to the diverse cultural and ethnic influences that effect the development of children. A new approach to a semester-long human development course offered at Green Mountain College, in Vermont, is based on the study of children's literature. The course is organized around a historical theme, looking at how society has viewed and treated children through the ages, and across cultures. Within this context, the course examines the development of the child from conception to puberty. Initiation into the multicultural world begins with readings from 17th and 18th century American literature. The first works, by Puritans, reveal a world in which children are to be seen and not heard, are looked upon as inherently evil, and are not supposed to have fun. Readings from 19th century literature tend to portray children as playful, joyous, and mischievous, presaging the "modern child." The more contemporary children's literature lends itself well to the study of stages and areas of child development, while heightening students' awareness of the family of today, which often consists of a single parent, other-than-parent caregivers, and the growing number of gay and lesbian couples with children. The course also explores variations of traditional folk tales from different cultures, allowing for the examination of distinct mores and views of the self. Throughout the course, the question, "Who is this child?" is addressed, revealing significant differences and similarities both within and between cultures. Bibliographies of children's and human development literature are provided. (MAB)
Descriptors: Child Development, Childrens Literature, Course Content, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Pluralism, Developmental Psychology, Ethnocentrism, Family (Sociological Unit), Higher Education, History, Humanistic Education, Interdisciplinary Approach, Multicultural Education, Thematic Approach, Undergraduate Study
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A