Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module EDUC43530: Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Fostering Productive Thought

Department: Education

EDUC43530: Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Fostering Productive Thought

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to X9KC14
Tied to X5K307
Tied to X5K207
Tied to X9A602
Tied to X9A102
Tied to X9K907


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • By the end of the module participants should have acquired a critical understanding of issues relating to teaching and learning for the fostering of productive thought in the classroom.


  • The ideas of the module will be taught in three sections, the essence of which follows:
  • (i) Critical Thinking and Reasoning: frameworks for thinking, productive thinking and productive talk, task structures and talk, nature of interactions and learning outcomes, critical thinking and assumptions, wisdom and productive thought.
  • (ii) Understanding Causal Reasoning and Relationships: nature of understanding / polymorphism, interaction and reasoning, strategies (e.g. analogies, bridging, games, graphic organisers, practical tasks), assessment of understanding, dilemmas and criticisms, global perspectives.
  • (iii) Creative Thinking and Problem Solving: nature of creativity, nature of problem solving, relationship between the two / polymorphism, creative thinking and critical thinking, problem solving and enquiry based learning, strategies (e.g. autonomy, environments, self-regulation), assessment for learning and teaching, dilemmas and criticisms, global perspectives.
  • A synthesis of these ideas: Bringing it all together.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • the different frameworks for thinking that exist and the characteristics of and differences between the different types of thinking (critical, creative and productive thought);
  • a range of strategies that support productive thought and their influence in classroom talk and interaction and how to apply the strategies in relevant educational contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • applying ideas and strategies derived from educational research relating to practice;
  • developing a critical understanding of factors relating to task design and learners’ thinking.
Key Skills:
  • research analysis (searching, scrutinising and critiquing literature) relevant to developing productive thinking;
  • use of ICT to access research and present information in the tasks and assignment;
  • problem formulation, analysis and solution in developing productive thinking in practice.

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

  • (i) knowledge development through: directed pre-module reading set by tutors (scaffolding); direct presentation of information and ideas during sessions by tutors (teaching); directed reading during the taught sessions (scaffolding); in-session tasks to explore ideas (teaching and scaffolding).
  • (ii) construction of understanding through: in-session tasks to apply ideas in new contexts (teaching and scaffolding learning); directed problem-based learning tasks (formative assessment); assignment (summative assessment).
  • (iii) development of skills and abilities through: directed reading (analysis and synthesis of evidence; reflection; critiquing); group discussion (critical thinking; argumentation; debate; ethical tolerance); individual tasks (organisation; time management; reflection; critical thinking).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 1.5 hours 12
Seminars/Workshops 8 1.5 hours 12
Directed Tasks (via study guide and DUO) 6 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 270

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 5000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Directed tasks and the assignment title are introduced early in the module to enable ongoing discussion during teaching sessions. The interactive nature of the sessions, with discussion and small group work, is such that there are opportunities for informal feedback. In addition to contact with the tutors during the teaching sessions, they can be contacted by telephone or e-mail for advice. Formative feedback is likely to take the following forms: • on directed reading (in preparation for lectures and seminars) – commentary on reading review reports • on directed tasks (e.g. critical thinking skills; problem-based learning tasks as follow up to taught sessions to scaffold learning) – commentary on submitted scripts or presentations.

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