Language, Literature, and the Schools

Winter 2017 and Spring 2017 quarters

Taught by

education, writing
  • UG

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 both of 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.

The 12-credit option will enable students to meet specific requirements for Washington State teacher certification. Students may earn the additional four credits in any of the following areas: children’s literature, adolescent literature, multicultural literature, or language skills/structure. (Please note that only 2-3 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.

Internship Opportunities

Students who wish to undertake an internship in a school setting could arrange sponsorship from faculty in this program.  Such an internship would either be voluntary (on the student's part) or would occur as an additional Internship Contract.  Please go to Individual Study for more information.

Program Details

Fields of Study

communication education linguistics literature psychology writing

Preparatory For

K-12 education, writing, early childhood education.


Winter Open Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Evening and Weekend

Advertised Schedule

Wednesday evenings, 6:00-10:00 and Saturdays, 9:00-5:00 on Jan 14, Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, Mar 11 (Winter quarter); 12-credit students also meet 6-10pm Mondays starting Week 2. First 8 credit meeting is Wednesday, January 11 at 6p, First 12 credit meeting is Monday, January 9 at 6p, in Seminar 2 A2109.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning