Teaching Through Children’s Storybooks

“Respect for diversity often creates a dilemma regarding the choice of teaching material. How can teachers find material that will be meaningful to people with such different cultural backgrounds as we find in many of our schools?”

This is a quote that I read towards the end of the Mindful Learning article by Ellen Langer.

It puts me in the mind of a mindful learning practice that I am helping to develop with a few other students in a seminar course. The professor of the course has us thinking of ways to teach a diversity in agriculture undergraduate course.  She came up with the idea to use children’s storybooks that detail experiences in agriculture according to children of various backgrounds. The idea is that the undergraduates will be able to discuss how same, similar, and different cultures represent agriculture.

I like the idea of using storybooks as a teaching material because it places less emphasis on formal, academic literature and allows the students to connect with the content in a different way.

6 Replies to “Teaching Through Children’s Storybooks”

  1. Oh I really like this idea Brittany. What a fantastic way to incorporate mindful learning! Do you think this is something that can have wide applicability? Like other subjects and content.

  2. I also agree college students can benefit from storybooks. I found an article about this subject. According to it, “Quality children’s literature can, however, enhance students’ experiences in the college classroom, contribute to their understanding of course content, promote their personal growth and self-understanding, increase their appreciation for quality children’s literature, and enhance their ability to integrate storybooks into their own teaching” (Freeman et al, 2011, p.1). On a related note, I think it would be interesting to write a storybook about a college topic. This exercise would provide experience in communicating complex subject matter.

    Freeman, N.K., Feeney, S. & Moravcik, E. Early Childhood Educ J (2011) 39: 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-010-0439-4

  3. This is such a cute and interesting idea. I would like to know about it more in details. Unfortunately, I will miss the class this week, but maybe we can chat next week, or if you don’t mind writing more about it in your future posts!

  4. What a terrific idea, Brittany! I’m eager to hear how this turns out and what kind of response it gets from the students. And I like Ernesto’s suggestion to think about what a story book of a college-level course would look like. Really fascinating — and fun?

  5. I think this is an interesting concept to utilize in the classroom. It helps take some of the pressure off of reading more dense materials, if you can make meaningful connections to the class teachings from a children’s book….why not use it?

  6. I absolutely love this idea! Your idea made me think about a set of children’s books that I’ve seen for African American girls. The series talks about issues that African American girls and young women face but talk about it in a way that young African American girls can relate to. Using children’s books to talk about intense topics is great for students because is forces them to normalize a topic and speak in human terms to someone who may not understand.

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