Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module EDUC40830: Arts in Education

Department: Education

EDUC40830: Arts in Education

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • A consideration of the educational implications of: policy, aesthetics, pedagogy and research on Arts in Education.


  • Preamble: Some of the content will be adapted according to the interests of the group in terms of (a) art forms used for exemplification (drama, dance, art, music) (b) phase-primary/secondary and (c) cultural background and interests. Although the policy focus will be on the UK, overseas students will be able to apply their own contexts. The theoretical content of the module will remain the same.
  • Broad overview:
  • The content will be based around four strands corresponding to the listed objectives: policy, aesthetics, pedagogy, research. A number of themes will be explored through these perspectives (the value of the arts; influences on development of ideas about arts education; problems in teaching the arts; the relationship between theory and practice).
  • Summary of content:
  • Justifications which have been advanced for teaching the arts (enjoyment, impact on learning, motivation, personal and social development, cultural heritage , education of feeling, understanding, initiation...) and ways of conceptualising them (intrinsic, extrinsic, instrumental, vocational, therapeutic, cognitivist). Implicit theories underlying various justifications (art for art's sake, formalism, representation, theories of expression).
  • Influences on the teaching of the arts: theoretical perspectives (modernism, progressivism, child-centred philosophies of education, cultural theory) as well as social and cultural contexts.
  • Key concepts, tensions and dichotomies (production and reception; individual art forms or generic arts community; process or product; development of skills or personal expression; the place of performance, innovation, tradition and heritage; the challenge of the avant garde). Current developments in art and education both within and outside the school context (e.g. health awareness, community arts, 'creative partnerships').
  • Theories of expression and self-expression (Tolstoy, Crose, Collingwood). Formalist theories (Fry, Bell). Theories of representation and critics (Gombrich, Goodman). Institutional theories of art. Art as 'unreality'. The 'usefulness' of the concept of 'aesthetics' in educational contexts (forms of knowledge, multiple intelligences, whether the concept is relevant to the wider curriculum); pre and post Wittgenstein approaches to thinking about the arts and aesthetics; philosophical approaches compared to others (e.g. historical study, criticism, cultural theory) - balancing perspectives; the concept of an 'integrated' approach to teaching the arts.
  • Pedagogic issues: problems in assessing the arts; grouping the arts in the curriculum; the relationship of arts to other subjects; concepts of 'popular' and 'high' art; the survival of the arts in the current education zeitgeist (rational planning of curriculum, objectives, 'performativity').
  • Problems in researching the arts in education. Critical review of a number of research reports.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of justification for teaching the arts; influences and cultural contexts; theories of expression; pedagogy; and research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to:
  • identify and critically evaluate key publications, including policy documents, which have sought to influence the arts in education in the UK in the last thirty years;
  • understand and evaluate theories in aesthetics relevant to the teaching of the arts in schools;
  • apply theoretical perspectives to practical issues relevant to the teaching of the arts in schools;
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of recent research in arts education and the particular difficulties involved in researching the arts.
Key Skills:
  • Demonstrate the ability to research literature, including for example: searching, synthesising, summarising and critiquing the relevant literature;
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate educational research;
  • Use ICT when presenting assignments;
  • Organise and plan;
  • Formulate, analyse and solve problems;
  • Learn independently.

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

  • Lectures, workshops and seminars, including presentations from the students.
  • The objectives will be met largely through interactive workshops combining lecture and seminars with workshop tasks. Each student will be required to give at least one short presentation in the course of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 1 9
Seminars 6 2.5 15
Preparation & Reading 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Completion of an outline of assignment with bibliography and one seminar presentation.

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