The study of Education is informed by many academic disciplines, notably developmental psychology, and sociology, but also philosophy, history, anthropology, art, literature and others. By its very nature, however, Education is complex and influenced by a number of factors such as the socio-economic climate, political factors and changing technologies.
The purpose of this module is to help you to consider the complexity of education in a systematic way, providing you with a general foundation for your specialist postgraduate study. It will introduce you to current issues in education both locally and globally, so that you can develop a greater understanding of some of those issues, exploring them further in your more specialist modules. In particular, we will examine how questions of educational value relate to theoretical questions, in seeking to understand those current issues. We will also examine how this relationship between values and theory helps us to explain the nature of education in different societies.
Postgraduate study entails precision and coherence in formal academic writing. It also involves exercising your imagination and creativity. Critical analysis and the creation of knowledge cannot happen if you concentrate merely on reproducing what has already been written and thought, even if you do this in your own words. It is very important that you know about existing research and about the different ways of thinking about education. It is even more important that you develop a creatively critical attitude towards that existing knowledge and the theoretical traditions associated with such knowledge, in order to go beyond it in your own work. This means in practice that you need to develop your own skills in critical writing at Masters Level. This module will provide you with opportunities for that practice.
Specifically, this module aims to:
explore the nature of education (mono-, inter-, multi-, trans- discipline) with opportunities for in-depth study in areas of personal interest;
develop theoretical, methodological and analytical skills, enabling students to
critique current theories of education;
provide a reflective learning environment in which students can consolidate, synthesize and refine their knowledge, understanding, research and other competencies;
Discuss approaches to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, education as an institution
and the wider social, cultural and political contexts, including the role of education in tackling (and/or reproducing) societal inequalities.
To complete the module successfully you have to show in the work you submit for summative assessment that you have achieved the following outcomes. That is, your work will show that, independently and with limited and minimal guidance, you are able to: —
1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of educational theories (A1);
2. develop an argument with respect to educational value and to conduct these discussions in an effective manner (B1, C1, D1);
3. analyse, synthesize and critically evaluate the nature of education drawing upon different disciplines, theories, socio-economic and political issues
(B1, B2, C4);
4. reflect critically upon and present your own understanding and application of a key aspect of education studies (C3, B3, D2, D3).
Note: the cross-references at the end of each outcome (A1, … etc.) are to the Programme Learning
Outcomes for the Masters Course Framework.
Learning and Teaching Strategy
As this is a twenty-credit module, you are expected to devote a total of 200 study hours over two semesters to achieving the module outcomes. This module uses a variety of learning and teaching methods, blended into a coherent series of activities to support your work over those 200 hours. This section outlines those methods.
1. There will be regular weekly face-to-face sessions normally of two hours
(4.15-6.05 p.m.) For most of these sessions, the first one-and-a-half hours will be a seminar led by a tutor. The remaining half-hour of each session will normally be reserved for open discussion of your work in progress, including assignment guidance and reading review.
2. The face-to-face sessions will use structured individual and group learning activities
in a variety of ways depending on the session and its topic content. These activities may include peer discussion and small written tasks.
3. Several of the face-to-face sessions in each semester will consist of individual or collaborative student-led seminars. These are occasions where you and your colleagues in turn will be expected to lead a critical discussion of a chosen research paper on a current educational issue.
4. The face-to-face sessions constitute approximately 40 study hours. You are expected
to match this with a further 60 study hours in session preparation and follow-up including critical reading.
5. To support the work done in sessions, the Canvas site for this module will be used as
your virtual learning environment for online resources, discussions and other activities. Some of these will be related directly to particular face-to-face sessions and others will be concerned with the module overall. You can expect to use at least
40 study hours working with Canvas and being engaged in online activities, though some of this time will also serve as session preparation.
6. The other 60 study hours, out of the total of 200 for the module, should be focussed specifically on producing the work you submit for summative assessment. Because this module adheres to the principle of using assessment for learning, a principle common to the whole Masters Programme Framework, there should not be a strict division between the work you do for sessions or online collaboration and your work on individual assignments. Think of it instead as 140 hours of preparatory, formative study necessary to a further 60 hours on completing your final assignments successfully.
7. You will be supported throughout the module by the module tutor who is available to provide guidance additional to that given in sessions, via Canvas, e-mail, telephone or personal tutorials. Responses to individual e-mails will normally be within twenty-four hours unless the tutor has indicated otherwise or unless there are unforeseen circumstances. Please note, however, that e-mails concerning individual assignments cannot be guaranteed to receive a full response in the seven days before a final assignment deadline. You are strongly advised to plan your work so that any assignment query you might have can be dealt with before that time.
8. Because online discussion fora will be used on Canvas, please read a forum before contacting the tutor by e-mail, as your query might have been already answered there by the tutor or by another student.
9. Tutorials can be arranged by request at mutual convenience by contacting the
module tutor. Tutorials may be individual or for two or three students at a time, depending on circumstances and the needs of the students concerned.
10. The study-hours figures given in this section are for guidance only; they may vary
individually. Try to preserve the overall proportions though: 50% of the time for class sessions and critical reading, 50% of the time for online engagement and writing assignments.