Suzanne Choo wins Walter M. Sindlinger Award ☆

Congratulations are in order once again for Suzanne Choo, PhD candidate in English Education at TC. She is this year’s recipient of the Walter M. Sindlinger Award for her paper, “On Literature’s use(ful/less)ness: Reconceptualising the literature curriculum in the age of globalization.” The essay, written for Professor Ruth Vinz’s course and published in the Journal of Curriculum Studies in January, examines the role of Literature education in the twenty-first century.

Suzanne Choo

Ms. Choo’s work on this topic began about four years ago as she was researching the state of Literature education in Singapore. She was troubled by her findings, which were that there had been a significant decline in enrollment in the subject from high school to college, resulting in many Literature teachers being forced to teach other subjects like Social Studies or Geography because there simply weren’t enough classes for them. All the while, the government was investing a lot of money in Math and Science, a phenomenon she witnessed upon coming to the US in 2008 as well.

Ms. Choo explains, “Since the 1960s, many scholars have been vocal about the ‘death of Literature’ with one professor claiming that at this rate, we are producing a nation of ‘useful machines!’” This led her to explore more closely why this phenomenon is occurring, particularly in economically advanced nations. Why has Literature education, which was once the most important subject in 19th century England and its colonies, seemingly lost its place of significance?

Her award-winning paper looks at how discussions about the value of Literature education tend to be framed according to a binary related to its instrumental versus its transcendental value. By referring to various historical accounts, the author argues for “a need to consider the co-existence of these binary values in order for Literature education to be relevant and significant within the context of national education systems.”

Ms. Choo is honored and grateful to receive this award and is especially thankful to Prof. Ruth Vinz, her advisor and mentor. Her hope is that “this paper will influence scholars, politicians, school leaders to consider the vital role that aesthetic subjects such as Literature can play in the development of global skills and ethical sensibilities.”

Suzanne Choo along with her Shetland sheepdog Rudy.

Read Ms. Choo’s paper in the Journal of Curriculum Studies here.

And once again, congratulations Suzanne!