Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Education


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to some of the central philosophical, historical, political and social forces shaping education.
  • to ensure they have a secure grasp of key ideas in educational thinking.
  • to introduce the idea of education as an essentially contested concept and practice, and problematise it as a discrete area of study.
  • to introduce students to qualitative, theoretical research in education and some of its distinctive approaches.
  • to increase students' sense of what can be defended as educationally worthwhile.
  • to familiarise students with the use of the internet and electronic journals.


  • Education does not take place in a political or social vacuum.
  • It is not an ethically neutral practice.
  • It has always both influenced and responded to the wider world around it, and in recent years its role in national culture and economic success has been increasingly emphasised.
  • Every context of education requires us to think ethically and philosophically - about what is educationally worthwhile, about what is fair and just, and about what, in the en, education is for.
  • In this module students will learn about the political, social and institutional contexts in which education is located and by which education as a practice is shaped, and they will study the question of what kinds of education and educational practices are ethically justifiable.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have: increased their understanding of the historical, political and social forces shaping education.
  • acquired a grasp of, and facility in deploying many of the key ideas in educational policy.
  • come to understand what kind of a subject 'education' is and what kinds of discourse, argument and research are appropriate to it, articulately in comparison to other academic subject areas.
  • acquired confidence in argument and debate about education.
  • increased their awareness of educational values and possibilities.
  • become familiar and comfortable with the use of the internet and electronic journals.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the use of examples of the implementation of educational policies in practice
  • provision of well argued conclusions relating to significant educational issues
  • to reflect on their own value systems and development
  • to question concepts amd theories encountered in their studies of education
  • to interrogate the assumptions underpinning theory and practice
Key Skills:
  • think critically and independently
  • acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument
  • communicate effectively
  • use iCT and a variety of library and IT resources
  • improve their own learning and performance including teh development of study and research skills
  • plan and collaborate as part of a team
  • work to deadlines

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

  • Students will be introduced to a range of educational theories and concepts through a lecture and tutorial group work programme in which students will not only listen to formal lectures but be expected to engage in debate and reflection through group work exercises during the tutorial sessions.
  • Students will further develop their knowledge and understanding, apply and reflect on ideas and demonstrate key skills through a summative piece of assessment that requires them to critically evaluate ideas about education.
  • Students will also be required to produce formative work which requires them to demonstrate their understandings of the topics covered in the module.
  • The students will also be examined formally at the end of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 Weekly 1 hour 22
Seminars 11 1 hour 11
Preparation and Reading 167
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2000 word Assignment 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
two-hour examination 100%

Formative Assessment:

One formative assignment of 1500 words.

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