Language, Literature, and the Schools

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Winter 2019 and Spring 2019 quarters

Taught by

education, writing

As external pressures on schools increase—through such forces as standardized testing and public accountability—many people concerned about education would argue that we have lost sight of both the active learning of the individual student and of the social conditions in which our school systems exist.

This program will explore the question: In what ways can an understanding of language, learning, and creativity clarify our vision of the education of children, lead to more pedagogically sound classroom practice, and meet social justice goals of equity and opportunity? Focusing primarily on language and the literary arts, this program will examine the psychological, social, and philosophical foundations of language development; the teaching of writing within constructivist and social-constructivist pedagogy; literature and literary theory as they relate to all levels of elementary and secondary education; and the historical tensions between philosophy of education and educational practice in the past century. Students will also participate in weekly writing groups as one way to observe closely the interaction between language, writing, and learning.

In spring quarter we will draw together these strands in studying the current political struggles between traditional and constructivist education, with particular attention to the teaching of writing and literature in the schools and to arts education in general. In addition, students will conduct classroom observations (in elementary or secondary classrooms) and/or significant reading-research projects on topics in language, literature, the arts, and public education.

This 12-credit program will enable students to meet specific requirements for Washington State teacher certification. Each quarter students may earn 4 credits in any of the following areas: children’s literature, adolescent literature, multicultural literature, or language skills/structure. (Please note that only 2 to 3 choices will be available each quarter.) Students will earn these credits through participating in a weekly small-group seminar and completing significant independent work, in coordination with the curriculum of the 8-credit core of the program.

Credits equivalencies will be awarded in areas such as learning theory, philosophy of education, cultural studies, writing, literary theory, and individual topics based on each student's choice for the 4-credit module each quarter.

Program Details

Fields of Study

communication education linguistics literature psychology writing

Preparatory For

K-12 education, writing, early childhood education.


Winter Open Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Evening and Weekend

Advertised Schedule

Mon/Wed 6-10pm, Alternating Saturdays 9a-5p

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning