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 place the phenomenon that is Harry Potterâ„¢ in its social, cultural and educational context and understand some of the reasons for its popularity;
  • to consider the relevance of Harry Potter to the education system in the twenty-first century;
  • to understand twenty-first century education in the light that the Harry Potter series, and other educational fiction, casts on it;
  • to make explicit connections between Harry Potter and citizenship education.


  • The content will explore a number of key themes, including:
  • Home and away: the shock of education
  • Post-1945 as the Age of Illusion
  • Harry Potter and the remaking of England
  • Welcome to Hogwarts: the commodification of education. The sign replaces the thing - a reassuring world of uniforms, gowns and rituals
  • Gryffindor and Slytherin: prejudice and intolerance in the classroom
  • Anarchy and rebellion from Tom Brown to Harry Potter
  • Myths and models: the power of educational examples
  • Muggles and magic: the escape from the treadmill and the recovery of enchantment.
  • Magic, reason and reality
  • The peer group: bullying, friendship and solidarity
  • Ideals of manhood: courage, ingenuity and integrity
  • ‘My station and its duties’: Harry Potter and the good citizen
  • The moral universe of the school. J.K. Rowling and the legacy of the school story from Rudyard Kipling to Grange Hill

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a knowledge and understanding of the main features of the Harry Potter texts;
  • an awareness and understanding that the written word can be interpreted through a number of other mediums; e.g., films, and web-based material;
  • an awareness of the social and cultural background contributing to the continuing Harry Potter phenomenon;
  • the ability to see connections between fiction and education policy, and the influence fiction has on educational policy;
  • a developing ability critically to analyse educational policy concepts, theories and issues in a systematic way;
  • an ability to problematise reality as a social construct.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • reflect on their own value systems and personal development;
  • question concepts and theories encountered in their studies of education;
  • provide a well-argued conclusion relating to significant education issues, including the acquisition of social, moral spiritual and cultural values;
  • utilise a range of relevant primary and secondary sources, including theoretical and research-based evidence relating to education, in order to expound and defend a thesis;
  • analyse complex situations concerning learning and development in particular contexts, including making reference to their own learning.
Key Skills:
  • think critically and independently;
  • analyse, synthesise, evaluate and identify problems and solutions;
  • identify, select, interpret and evaluate a range of sources; and so acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way;
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument;
  • communicate effectively with appropriate use of specialist vocabulary;
  • use ICT and a variety of library and IT resources;
  • develop study and research skills, information retrieval, and the capacity to plan and manage learning, and to reflect on own learning;
  • 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 analytical techniques relating to the central issues and core themes under study through lectures, seminars and tutorials.
  • Students will be required to prepare for the seminars and tutorials by identifying, selecting, interpreting and evaluating a range of sources; and engaging in debate.
  • Students will further develop and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of core themes and their acquisition of key skills through seminar presentations and formative and summative assessments.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

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

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentations to be given during student-led tutorials.

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