Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Education


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to reflect critically on the main issues that have come to dominate the current debate on national identity and multiculturalism in a pluralistic society.
  • To put current education policy, apropos multicultural education, in its historical and regional context.
  • To deepen the students' awareness that educational policies and debates are rarely new.


  • The course content will reflect critically on a number of key themes:
  • pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development over the past 200 years;
  • the influence of the state on pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • current debates on religion, education and culture in the twenty-first century;
  • the concept of a pluralistic society;
  • culture, nationality and whether the teaching of Confessional Christianity can be seen as a denial of the impact of plurality;
  • post-modernist approaches to plurality, including the exploration of personal narratives;
  • a consideration of religious, intercultural and values education;
  • faith-based education as a reaction to plurality;
  • the formation of national identity, class and gender and the contribution the education system makes to this;
  • the way in which literature and iconography contribute to the formation of national identity, both inside and outside schools;
  • the impact of the above on the way the school curriculum is organised and taught.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a knowledge and understanding of the development of national identity, in terms of the construction of gender, class and Englishness in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and in particular the role of the education system in this;
  • a knowledge and understanding of the development of multicultural Britain in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and inherent tensions in a pluralistic society, with a particular focus of how this impacts on, and is influenced by, the education system in England;
  • an increased awareness of the social, political, economic, religious and cultural reasons for the provision of education in its current form;
  • an understanding that identity formation is an important area of study for teachers.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an ability to assess the significance, relevance and value of literature and iconography in the study of the development of national identity;
  • a developing ability to critically analyse and evaluate policy concepts, theories and issues in a systematic way by placing them in their historical context;
  • an ability to find out about the past through investigating a specific question or issue by selecting, evaluating and analysing relevant sources of information before drawing and defending conclusions;
  • a familiarity with the debates surrounding plurality and pluralism;
  • an ability to discuss different reactions and responses to plurality;
  • an ability to review changing trends in pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • an ability to utilise a range of relevant primary and secondary sources, including theoretical and research-based evidence, in order to expound and defend a thesis.
Key Skills:
  • a deepening ability to select and organise material so as to expound and defend a thesis; and to articulate opinions and arguments in a manner relevant and appropriate to the aims and objectives of the module;
  • the acquisition of a range of thinking and problem solving skills, including the ability to evaluate evidence, and using this evaluation to propose an hypothesis and subsequently reach a tentative conclusion;
  • sound judgement in the selection and use of a wide variety of sources;
  • an increased ability to communicate effectively in written form, with the appropriate use of specialist vocabulary.

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

  • Teaching and learning will be through formal lectures, the content of which will be broken down into seminar discussion - to which students will be required to make a positive contribution, including delivering at least one formal presentation during the year. The summative essay, in which students will critically analyse an issue from the content of the module, drawing upon their own experience of education as a source of evidence for applying tools of historical reflection. In addition, there will be a 2 hour examination based upon the module content.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

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

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 2000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Tutorial tasks, typically small research commissions. Additionally, oral presentations arising as a result of such research.

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