Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module EDUC1461: Historical and Philosophical Ideas of Education

Department: Education

EDUC1461: Historical and Philosophical Ideas of Education

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to X1C8
Tied to XC81
Tied to XC82
Tied to XL33
Tied to X1F8
Tied to X3F8
Tied to X2F8
Tied to X101
Tied to X103
Tied to X102
Tied to LA01
Tied to LMV0
Tied to X305
Tied to X306
Tied to X308


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to some of the major educational theorists.
  • To introduce students to foundational ideas informing education practice today.
  • To help students develop a personal perspective on the longstanding debate about the purpose and value of education.


  • In Historical and Philosophical Ideas of Education we explore the doctrines of some of the major theorists who have helped shape education practice, and help students develop a personal perspective on the longstanding debate about the purpose and value of education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of the ways in which theorists have influenced education policy.
  • Critical awareness of the influence and significance of social, historical and cultural contexts in the construction of ideas about education.
  • Critical understanding of philosophical theory and argument; development of philosophical skills.
  • The ability to select a range of relevant primary and secondary sources, including theoretical and research-based evidence to extend your knowledge and understanding of education policy.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to begin to critically analyse sociological and educational concepts, theories and issues in a systematic way.
  • The ability to begin to use your knowledge and understanding to critically locate and justify a personal position in relation to educational policy development.
Key Skills:
  • The ability to begin to organise and articulate opinions and arguments critically in speech and writing using relevant specialist vocabulary.
  • The ability to begin to process and synthesise empirical and theoretical data critically, to create new syntheses and to present and justify a chosen position having drawn on relevant theoretical perspectives.

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 two summative pieces of assessment that require them to critically evaluate ideas about education.
  • Students will also be required to produce formative work which requires them to demonstrate their understanding of the topics covered in the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Reflective Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 2500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

One formative assignment comprising of a 1000 word essay, due Term 2.

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