PhD, Newcastle University (UK); MA, University of British Columbia; BA, Simon Fraser University
International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature Association, International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian Centre for Children’s Books, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable, Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs, Professional Writers’ Association of Canada, Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia
I begin with the belief that all students who wish to and who apply themselves can transform their learning. Each student is, in my opinion, capable of experiencing radical achievement. Every course I teach begins with each student outlining her/his goals, challenges, and established skills in relation to the course, her/his program of study, and her/his professional future. Students also complete an informal diagnostic exercise so that I can assess both the level of individual student need and any patterns of need within the class. This provides me with a template with which to pull students along with a supportive approach, as well as to push them towards achievable challenges.
When teaching writing courses, I’ve often been called a “coach,” which I consider a compliment: I’m always looking for ways to guide and support students to overcome their challenges and improve their skills. Although students express a variety of strengths and challenges in relation to their writing, the comment I hear most frequently is that most have an abundance of ideas but experience a disconnect when they sit down to write. When they try to organize and communicate their ideas, they become overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. My mission is to empower these (and all) students by helping them to discover and develop an individualized method for brainstorming, structuring, drafting, revising, and polishing their ideas so that they become effective writers. Students who are motivated to harness their ideas and recognize the necessity of doing so in relation to their academic and professional success are transformed.
We begin by building from what students know, with concrete learning outcomes towards which we are all moving. We make our way towards new ideas, methods, skills, and, ultimately, increased enjoyment and confidence in approaching academic work and writing.
As is clear from my use of the pronoun “we” here, I believe that collaborative, hands-on work facilitates transformative learning. I consider myself the “lead scholar” in the classroom, and I am as willing to be transformed by students’ ideas and input as I am able to provide context through my own knowledge, expertise, and experience. I incorporate many activities, writing exercises, and group discussions into my classes, not only so that students can apply concepts in practice but also so that all students come to recognize that their ideas are valuable. This allows many who previously lacked confidence to morph into active participants when we do group projects, peer editing, and class activities. In this way, students understand that each of them experiences varying challenges and that each has a different, yet important, perspective to contribute.
Children’s literature, composition, creative writing
Developing a child-centered critical approach to children’s literature; children’s literature & children’s rights; South Asian children’s literature
Superle, Michelle. “Both an Overhaul and an Augmentation: Toward a 'Child-Centered' Critical Metaframe for Children's Literature.” Modern Languages Association. Not an Exit but a Shift: Changing Children’s Literature panel. Vancouver. January 8-11, 2015.
Acheson, Alison, Richard Scrimger, and Michelle Superle. “Dancing with The Other Art(s)—Forms to Edify the Writing Life.” Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs: Canada's Writing Conference. UBC. May 15-18, 2014.
Superle, Michelle. “Towards a ‘Child-centered’ Critical Approach to Children’s Literature: The Role of Digital Media Communities.” International Research Society for Children’s Literature: Children’s Literature and Media Cultures. Maastricht University (Netherlands). August 10-14, 2013.
Superle, Michelle. “Same Same But Different: Paradoxical Diversity in South Asian American Children’s Fiction.” Children’s Literature Association: Literary Slipstreams. Simmons College. June 14-16, 2012.
Superle, Michelle. “Representations of the Urban Child in Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Novels.” The Child and the City: Association for Research in the Cultures of Young People, in association with ACCUTE, Congress 2010. Concordia University. May 31, 2010.
Superle, Michelle. “The Role of the ‘Motherland’ in Contemporary Diasporic South Asian Children’s Novels.” Child and the Book: This Land is Our Land. Vancouver Island University. May 1-3, 2009.
Superle, Michelle. “From Exclusion to Inclusion: Indo-Canadian and South Asian Children’s Literature in Canadian Educational Institutions.” TransCanada Two: Literature, Institutions, Citizenship. Guelph University. October 11-14, 2007.
Superle, Michelle. Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Literature: Representations of Nation, Culture, and the New Indian Girl. New York: Routledge, 2011.
Superle, Michelle. Black Dog, Dream Dog. Vancouver: Tradewind, 2010. (Children’s novel.)
Superle, Michelle and Robert Bittner. “The Last Bastion of Aesthetics? The Influence of Conservative Value Systems on Cultural Gatekeeping Activities in Children’s Literary Awards.” In Prizing Children’s Literature. Eds. Kenneth Kidd and Joseph Thomas. Routledge: Forthcoming (TBA).
Superle, Michelle. “Animal Heroes and Transforming Substances: Canine Characters in Contemporary Children’s Literature.” In Animal Others and the Human Imagination. Eds. Anne Vallely and Aaron Gross. New York: Columbia UP, 2012.
Superle, Michelle. “Imagining the Motherland: Moving between India and Otherworlds.” In Knowing Their Place? Intersections of Identity and Space in Children’s Literature. Eds. Terri Doughty and Dawn Thompson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2011.
Superle, Michelle. “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: At the Core of a Child-Centered Critical Approach to Children’s Literature.” In The Lion and the Unicorn. April 2016.
Superle, Michelle. “Creating a ‘Masala’ Self: Bicultural Identity in Desi Young Adult Novels.” In International Research in Children’s Literature. December 2010.
Superle, Michelle. “Imagining the New Indian Girl: Representations of Girlhood in Keeping Corner and Suchitra and the Ragpicker.” In Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature. June 2010.
Superle, Michelle. “Mother’s Milk: The Politics of Food in South Asian Children’s Novels.” In Journal of Children’s Literature. July 2008. (The Journal of Children's Literature is published biannually by the Children’s Literature Association of India.)
Superle, Michelle. Guest Editor, “Canadian Children’s Literature” issue. Journal of Children’s Literature. January 2009.