Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsA very warm welcome to this course on visual culture for children. I’m Sarah Olive, Senior Lecturer in English in Education at the University of York, And I’m Clémentine Beauvais, lecturer in English in Education at York. Together we will explore some the most interesting visual worlds produced for young people. From picturebooks to TV, we’ll look at the images that children are exposed to, we’ll try analysing them, and we’ll think about their influence. But first we’d like you to do a thought experiment. Look around you for a minute – look at all the writing that surrounds you. If you’re watching this at your kitchen table, it might be your shopping list on the fridge.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 secondsIf you’re on the bus, it might be the sign for the next stop. You take it for granted that you can read those words. But now imagine you are a child who has not yet learned to read. The world, to you, is only a sequence of images. Adults are often surprised by how good children are at noticing details in pictures. Well, of course! pictures are a crucial form of communication for them to understand the world. This course is in part about celebrating the sophistication of that visual language. And the achievement of children who manage to interpret that language – sometimes when they don’t even have the words to express it themselves.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsWe hope you enjoy it, and that by the end, you become almost as good at deciphering pictures as children, at the best of times, already are.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to our course, Pictures of Youth.

Over the next four weeks you’ll come across a mixture of content as we explore different kinds of visual culture for children – picturebooks, comics, film and television. We’ll explore those media, learn to decode them and understand them better, while preserving, hopefully, a sense of wonder.

As well as being offered a range of research, articles and talking head opinions from staff at the Department of Education, you’ll get the opportunity to apply the knowledge you gain within numerous discussions. This course has been derived from the BA in English in Education offered by the University of York.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Think about how images can be explored critically, drawing from visual analysis and childhood studies
  • Understand visual-verbal interplay in picturebooks
  • Comprehend the imaginative work required by young readers/viewers to construct meaning
  • Understand the traditions of children’s drama and the plurality of ways in which childhood can be or has been represented
  • Reflect on the place of images throughout a child’s development.

Welcome from Clementine and Sarah

Hopefully, most of you will be familiar with the FutureLearn platform so we’ll get the ‘housekeeping matters’ out of the way in the next step. After that we’ll dive straight into the main topic for this week.

We hope that you enjoy the course, and again, please do take every opportunity to contribute to the discussions which will be taking place.

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This video is from the free online course:

Pictures of Youth: An Introduction to Children’s Visual Culture

University of York