Submitted by: Larissa McLean Davies
Abstract: The study of literature has never had an easy relationship with the idea of ‘development’ in education. The term ‘development’ in the past brought with it suggestions of the cognitive and psychological and connotations of linearity that sat uneasily with ‘the cultural praxis … in which arguments about the value of literature and a literary education have traditionally been played out’ (Doecke, 2016:9). This is despite the fact that literary criticism – especially of the reader response schools - has had an historical tradition of the psychological and the cognitive, seeing reading as a process which depends upon the psychological needs of readers, for example (Bleich, 1978; Holland, 1975), or relating cognition and evaluation as co-defining features of response (Harding, 1962; Bleich, 1980: 143). In the L1 educational arena, developmental models for literary response are not unknown historically (Protherough, 1983; Thomson, 1987; Witte et al 2012) and more recently, advocacy of scientific approaches to literary study in learning environments has pursued this work while continuing to ascribe to a literary education traditional humanising role around empathy and moral imagination (Burke et al, 2016). Moreover, developmental psychology itself today works with paradigms other than the linear. While none of this is unproblematic, it nevertheless raises a number of questions around literature and development in the 21st century that will be taken up in this symposium such as: what is interplay of cognitive and affective approaches to literary learning and development in contemporary classrooms? How are text focussed, and student focussed notions of development reconciled (Witte et al)? How does official curricula frame literary development, and how does this impact on teachers’ work with students? And what is the relationship between particular pedagogical strategies and approaches to students’ literary development? To this end, Paper 1 will draw on research undertaken in the Australian context to investigate the role of notions of literary development in contemporary literary curricula. It will consider specifically the place of taxonomies in curricula design, and the implications of this for practice. Paper 2 will explore the role of literature in the development of students’ affective responses to texts and draw on research undertaken with teachers in England to consider the impacts of official curricula and mandated texts lists on students’ affective development. Finally, Paper 3 will investigate principles and strategies through which teachers in Denmark might work out programs for ‘literary development’ in their classrooms, and what these interventions might mean for our understandings of the impacts of literature on students’ ontological development.

Bleich, D. (1978) Subjective Criticism, Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Bleich, D. (1980) ‘Epistemological assumptions in the study of response’, in J.P. Tompkins, Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism, Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press: 134-163.
Burke, M., Fialho, O. & Zyngier, S. (eds) (2016), Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Doecke, B. (2016) ‘Understanding literary reading: the need for a scientific approach? Review essay: Michael Burke, Olivia Fialho and Sonia Zyngier (eds) (2016), Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments’, L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 16: 1-11
Harding, D. W. (1962) ‘Psychological processes in the reading of fiction’, British Journal of Aesthetics, 2 (2), April:133-147.
Holland, N. (1975) 5 Readers Reading, New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
Protherough, R. (1983) Developing Response to Fiction, Milton Keynes & Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Thomson, J. (1987) Understanding Teenagers’ Reading: Reading Processes and the Teaching of Literature, Ryde, New York & London: Methuen, Nichols Publishing & Croom Helm.
Witte, T., Rijlaarsdam, G., and Schram, D. (2012). An Empirically Grounded Theory of Literary Development. Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge on Literary Development in Upper Secondary Education. L1- Educational Studies in Language and Literature, Vol. 12, pp1-33.

Keywords: literature, curriculum, English, development, knowledge