University of Technology Sydney

024411 English Study 1: Shapes and Patterns in Literary Narrative from Sendak to Shakespeare

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Education: Initial Teacher Education
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade, no marks


This one-session subject introduces the concept of literature as a continuum which includes the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, the novels of the Brontë sisters, the children's stories of Maurice Sendak and the plays of William Shakespeare. It develops and encourages theoretical understandings of literary concepts, narrative, and narrative and character patterns and archetypes. A wide range of children's books and other literary texts is studied, with particular reference to the prescribed texts. Students are expected to develop and demonstrate an understanding of a range of literary concepts and research skills in the fields of literature and literary theory.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Identify and explain key aspects of the notion of literature as a continuum, from fairy tales to 19th century novels to children's stories to Shakespearean drama
b. Identify, explain, implement and evaluate a range of literary and theoretical concepts
c. Identify and describe how narrative works, including patterns of narrative and character archetypes
d. Apply skills to manipulate a range of digital tools
e. Skilfully communicate ideas in oral and written responses
f. Plan, implement and evaluate research skills in the field of literature and literary theory
g. Explain and evaluate theoretical and practical understandings of the significance of literature across the curriculum for specific stages of learning
h. Identify and skilfully use academic language and conventions including referencing.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

  • Know students and how they learn (encourage self-knowledge, know yourself to engage, critically evaluate contexts; physical, social and emotional dimensions of learners, i.e. special needs) (1.1)
  • Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning with a broad knowledge of educational practice, pedagogy, policy, curriculum and systems (1.3)
  • Create and maintain supportive, well-managed and safe learning environments (1.4)
  • Engage in professional learning, demonstrating problem solving and intellectual independence (1.5)
  • Enquire into and research practice to improve educational experiences and outcomes (2.1)
  • Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning (6.1)
  • Possess literacy and numeracy skills across a broad range of communication modes and technologies (6.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Literature has a central place in school curricula and it is essential that pre-service teachers are well informed and well read. The subject objectives encourage an awareness of a broad and rich continuum of literature and new media literacies that nurture literary understandings and strengthen reflective practices.

The national standards for graduate teachers substantially inform the subject.

This subject addresses the following course intended learning outcomes:

1. Professional Readiness

1.1 Operate professionally in a range of educational settings, with particular emphasis on their specialisation (GTS 1, 2)

1.3 Make judgements about their own learning and identify and organize their continuing professional development (GTS 3, 6)

1.4 Act as a developer of learning with colleagues and possess collaborative skills (GTS 7)

1.5 Employ contemporary technologies effectively for diverse purposes (GTS 2, 4)

2. Critical and Creative Inquiry

2.1 Analyse and synthesise research and engage in inquiry (GTS 3)

6. Effective Communication

6.1 Communicate effectively using diverse modes and technologies (GTS 2, 3, 4)

6.2 Exhibit high level numeracy and literacies (GTS 2)

Teaching and learning strategies

The teaching and learning strategies employed in this subject will include lecture input, structured discussions, collaborative small group work and workshops, individual research and engagement in assignments which critically examine and apply current thinking in the area. The tutor will provide formal feedback on any work completed outside of tutorial times. Tutorials provide a forum for students to receive ongoing peer and tutor feedback.

Mode of delivery: weekly

Content (topics)

From earliest times, humankind has sought to express itself in story. The art of verbal storytelling has its genesis in an oral culture, and is a part of all cultures. Storytelling inherently reflects the culture of which it is a part – its ideology (that is, its values, attitudes and beliefs) – and its sense of identity. It serves to perpetuate those ideologies, and to pass them on to those following. However, as storytelling became a written art form, each culture developed its own patterns of narrative, that is, its own ways of telling a story, its own ways of beginning and ending, and its own ways of developing narrative. Literature gives voice; it also gives agency. The continuum of texts that represent literature not only reflect culture, they also show language in context. Teachers in particular need to understand at a deep level how language works, so that they may teach it in a meaningful way to their students. English is unique as an area of study as it reaches into all other learning areas. The study of the textual artifacts of literature enables students to observe how culture, time and world events influence both how we read and how we write.

  • Children's literature is part of an artistic continuum of texts.
  • Children's literature is an artistically mediated communication a society has with its young.
  • Children's literature reflecting pedagogical concerns and societal agendas.
  • Children's literature reflecting new media literacies and digitisation
  • Children's literature reflects confidence in the power of story.


Assessment task 1: Interactive Digital Poster (individual)


a, b, c, d, e, f and g

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

Digital Poster – equivalent to A3 size with interactive layers

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Comprehensive knowledge of texts 25 a, b, c 1.1
Clearly expressed and comprehensive annotation and justification 25 e, f, g 6.2
Skilfully use digital technology 25 d 1.5
Knowledge of literary concepts 25 d 1.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Written discussion and reflection (Individual)


a, b, c, e, f, g and h

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

1,500 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clear and well-expressed discussion with appropriate academic conventions 25 a, e, g, h 6.2
Clear identification of relevant issues 25 b, c 1.3
Evidence of wide reading and knowledge of relevant research 25 f, g 2.1
Clear and explicit connections to syllabus 25 h 1.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Narrated Picture Book and Written Reflection


a, d, e, g and h

Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Part A: Narrated Picture Book (Pairs) 0
Skilful use of digital technologies 10 d, e 6.1
Evidence of knowledge of key components of literary picture books 20 a 2.1
Evidence of knowledge of relevant research and links to syllabus 10 g 1.1
Evidence of collaboration and teamwork 10 h 1.4
Part B: Written Reflection (Individual) 0
Skilful use of digital technologies 10 d 6.1
Evidence of knowledge of key components of literary picture books 10 a 2.1
Evidence of knowledge of relevant research and links to syllabus 20 g 1.1
Clear and well expressed response, using relevant academic conventions 10 e, h 6.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Attendance at classes is important because the subject takes a collaborative approach which involves essential interchange of ideas with other students and the lecturer. An attendance roll will be taken at each class. Where possible, students should advise the lecturer in a timely manner if they are unable to attend. If more than one session is missed, additional make-up work may be assigned. Students who are absent for more than 2 classes may be refused to have their final assessment marked (see UTS Rule 3.8).

Required texts

Ross Johnston, R. (2017). Australian Literature for Young People. Oxford University Press.


Benton, M. (1996). The Image of Childhood: Representations of the child in painting and literature, 1700-1900.' Children's Literature in Education, 27, 1, 35-60.

Chambers, A. (1985). Booktalk. The Bodley Head.

Hancock, M.R. (2008). A Celebration of Literature and Response. Children, Books, and Teachers in K-8 Classrooms, Pearson.

Hollindale, P. (1997) [1988]. Ideology and the Children's Book. The Thimble Press.

Hourihan, M. (1997). Deconstructing the Hero: Literary Theory and Children's Literature. Routledge.

Hunt, P. (1993). Literature for Children: Contemporary Criticism. Routledge.

Hunt, P. (1990). Children's Literature: The Development of Criticism. Routledge.

Johnston, R. (2004). Renewing Stories of Childhood: Children's Literature as a Creative Art. In T.van der Walt (Ed.). Change and Renewal in Children's Literature: Contributions to the Study of World Literature, 126, pp.9-15. Praeger Publishers.

Johnston, R. R. (2003). 'All the world's a Stage': Children's Literature as performance. In K. Reynolds (Ed.), Children's Literature and Childhood in Performance. pp. 57-67, Pied Piper Publishing.

Johnston, R. R. (2002). Teacher-as-artist, researcher-as-artist: Creating structures for success. In G. Bull and M. Anstey (Eds.), Crossing the Boundaries. Prentice Hall.

Johnston, R. R. (2002). Childhood – A Narrative Chronotope. In R. Sell (Ed.) Children's Literature as Communication. pp. 137-157. John Benjamins.

Johnston, R. R. (2001). The Sense of 'Before-Us': Landscapes and the making of mindscapes in recent Australian children's books. Canadian Children's Literature,104, 27 (4), 26-46.

Johnston, R. R. (1995). Shaping Words and Shape-Shifting Words: The Special Magic of the Eighties. Children's Literature in Education. 26 (4), 211-217.

Johnston, R. R. (1995). Of Dialogue and Desire: Children's Literature and the Needs of the Reluctant L2 Reader. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. 18 (4), 293-303.

McDonald, L. (2018). A Literature Companion for Teachers, PETAA.

Nikolajeva, M. (1996). Children's Literature Comes of Age: Towards a New Aesthetic, Garland Publishing Inc.

Nodelman, P. (1992). The Pleasures of Children's Literature. Longman.

Nodelman, P. (1988). Words about Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children's Picture Books. The University of Georgia Press.

Opie, I. and P. (1974). The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press.

Warner, M. (1994). From the Beast to the Blonde. Chatto and Windus.

Warner, M. (1998). No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock. Chatto and Windus.

Vandergrift, K. E. (1990). Children's Literature: Theory, Research and Teaching. Eaglehawk: Libraries Unlimited.

Other resources

JOURNALS Alan Review Canadian Children's Literature Children's Literature in Education CREArTA Horn Book Magazine Magpies Papers