Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module EDUC3341: The Social Life of Education

Department: Education

EDUC3341: The Social Life of Education

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to educational research derived from ethnography and anthropology.
  • To introduce students to a discourse of educational research that contrasts with research derived from psychological and positivist traditions.
  • To introduce students to educational research that explores education and training in a variety of informal and international contexts.


  • Social constructivism, socio-cultural and social models of learning.
  • Apprenticeship models of learning; informal models of learning.
  • Learning across contexts: Everyday mathematics - the Adult Math Project in the USA in the 1980s; Everyday reading and writing - literacy learning in Iran in the 1970s and in North-West England in the 1990s; Everyday work - tailors in Liberia in the 1970s, and call centre workers in the USA in the 1990s; Everyday play - learning from and with video games, online spaces and social networks in the 2000s.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of learning across context in education.
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of social practice in education.
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of contextual research in education.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Discuss and critique social practice models of learning.
  • Synthesise elements of different social practice models of learning and account for the relationships between these.
  • Critique the empirical and methodological foundations of social practice accounts of learning.
Key Skills:
  • Acquire and evaluate complex information of diverse kinds in a systematic manner.
  • Construct a sustained argument.
  • Use a range of printed and online resources.

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

  • Students will be introduced to the theoretical foundations of the module and the empirical studies outlined through a combination of lectures and guided reading.
  • Students will extend their knowledge and understanding through seminars, all focussed on specific reading tasks, introduced through student-led formative presentations.
  • Formative assessment throughout the module will allow for developmental as well as diagnostic feedback/feedforward.
  • Students will be summatively assessed at the end of 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 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Ongoing seminar activities. Formative essay (1500-2000 words) marked to module outcomes and given an indicative grade but formative not summative so as to maximise feedforward potential.

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