EDM179-Theory of Education

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Carol Fuller

Email: C.L.Fuller@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Theory in Education is an introduction to some of the ideological, philosophical, sociological and psychological ideas that underpin Western education. The primary aim of this module is to provide an opportunity to consider the purpose of education from different perspectives as well as explore some of the differing theory used to explain different educational outcomes. It is designed to encourage critical reflection on some of these key ideas, as well as promote an understanding of the value and use of educational theory in research.


  • To promote an understanding of the ways that theory can help illuminate different facets of the same phenomena within education

  • To critically evaluate the ways that theory provides an important framework within educational research

  • To critically reflect on the ways that theory underpins educational policy  and practice

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Identify some of the ways that theory helps explain different aspects of education phenomena

  • Use theory to provide a framework for investigating education through research

  • Understand and critically reflect on the ways that educational theory underpins policy and practice

  • Independently and critically evaluate research and research methodologies and the role of theory in these

Additional outcomes:

  • Students will have deepened their understanding of a substantial body of knowledge

  • Students will have increased their ability to communicate complex information in both oral and written form

Outline content:

  • Part 1 – Brief introduction to Philosophy and Sociology of Education: this will explore the theoretical concepts and ideas that underpin much of our understanding of education from the viewpoint of Philosophy and Sociology.  We will examine issues of socioeconomic status, education and the life course.

  • Part 2 – Sociology and the construction of Educational Identity; Psychology and the process of learning: these sessions will use the viewpoint of Sociology and Psychology to examine educational issues.

  • Part 3 – Psychology of assessment: this will explore the basis for evaluating whether education has been successful, and broader discussions around the possibility of accurate assessment. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching and learning activities will include lectures, presentations of current research by staff, group discussions amongst peers, as well as individual/group tutorials if requested. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6 7 7
Tutorials 3 3 4
Guided independent study 90 90 90
Total hours by term 99.00 100.00 101.00
Total hours for module 300.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

This module will be assessed via a critically reflective writing exercises, which you will upload on to Blackboard. You will be asked to write a reflective account, relating the topics discussed to your professional experiences. The writing should be referenced properly, with a complete list of references. Each account should be no more than 6,000 words each. Information on the assignments will be provided and can also be found on Blackboard.

Your completed assignment must be submitted electronically via Blackboard. Your feedback on this will be provided within 15 working days

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

One resubmission only.  Resubmission is negotiated to be no longer than three calendar months of the notification of failure

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 September 2017

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