Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module EDUC40230: Curriculum Analysis

Department: Education

EDUC40230: Curriculum Analysis

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To have critical understanding of curriculum analysis in realtion to teaching and learning.


  • The field of curriculum theory is vast. The term 'curriculum' is taken widely to mean not simply a syllabus, or subjects, but everything that takes place in educational institutions, whether deliberate or not, in the formal and hidden curriculum, everything that students learn, a set of proposals about aims, content, pedagogy, evaluation, assessment etc. Indeed Stenhouse (1975) offers a famous (and perhaps surprisingly post-modern) view where he writes that a 'curriculum is an attempt to communicate the essential priciples and features of an educational propsal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice' (p.4). It is argued that a curriculum comprises:
  • A view of aims, purposes, values and interests;
  • A view of knowledge - what knowledge and whose knowledge is important and how this impacts on curriculum content;
  • A view of the nature of the curriculum for the C21st;
  • A view of how the curriculum should be designed and organised;
  • A view of the nature and purposes of pedagogy;
  • A view of evaluation and assessment and their impact on learning;
  • A view of directions and contents of curriculum change and development.
  • Clearly it is unrealistic to suggest that all of these features can be explored in depth in a single module. However this module is designed to clarify and consider significant issues in the curriculum debate and how they articulate with each other.
  • At a time when the curriculum is largely prescribed in the UK and many other countries, the purposes of this module are to examine why this might be occurring and what problematic features of the curriculum this exposes. The module addresses these features focusing on some significant debates in the curriculum and examines how epistemology, politics, the economy, ideology and social theory are linked the current debate about the curriculum. The module is designed to question the current hegemony of curriculum policy and practice and to identify how alternative curricular practices might be developed. The intention of the module is to raise questions rather than supply the answers!

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of significant issues in the curriculum debate.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Critically approach the curriculum.
  • Identify issues and discourses in the field of curriculum theory.
  • Examine the links between curricula and society.
  • Interrogate current forms of curricular and pedagogic organisation.
  • Show insight into the wider political and economic agendas which influence curricula.
  • Relate curriculum practice to wider philosophical contexts.
Key Skills:
  • Through their essays students will demonstrate the ability to:
  • undertake a search and synthetic review of research literature,
  • summarise and critique research-based literatures;
  • communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing, to an advanced level;
  • learn independently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through lectures and seminar teaching supported by Study Guide resources. The Study Guide includes preperation for and follow up on teaching activities. This directed independent work is an important part of the module. Lectures enable the ideas of the module to be considered. Seminar work enables students to develop their understanding of the ideas and consider them in a range of professionally relevant contexts. Activities in seminars include a variety of active learning approaches including discussion, group work, presentations, question and answer sessions, individual tasks. A Bulletin Board on DUO enables staff and students to continue their interaction between teaching sessions. Preperation for the assignment involves students in wide reading and critical reflection on ideas of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 1.5 hours 10.5
Seminars 7 2.5 hours 17.5
Preparation & Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal feedback is given to students' contribution during class teaching sessions. Staff can be contacted for individual help. Written formative feedback is provided for the academic outline of the assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University