ED1FDL-Theories of development and learning

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Hilary Harris
Email: hilary.harris@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module aims to examine ideas, concepts and theories, pioneering and contemporary, of child development and learning in order to give students a sound theoretical understanding of the key issues in child development between birth and 11 years. This understanding of child development and how it changes over time will allow practitioners to recognise and meet the developmental needs of children effectively.


The aims of this module are to develop knowledge and understanding of children’s development and learning through:

  • Evaluation of key theories of child development between birth and 11 years

  • Discussion of the role of observation on childhood research and practice

  • Identification of significant concepts, processes and issues in the development of children's learning

  • Reflection upon the integrated nature of children's development and learning

  • Identification of the process of children’s development of communication and language and the effect of language on the development of thought

  • Consideration of the location of one’s own role through reflection

  • Evaluation of the impact of technology on children’s lives

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

  • identify principles and concepts underlying theoretical frameworks relating to the social, emotional, linguistic, cognitive and physical development of children from 0-11 

  • analyse direct observations of a target child’s behaviour with reference to theoretical frameworks of child development and learning

  • evaluate the impact of contributory factors on ch ildren’s development

  • compare and contrast activities and resources that might be used to support a target child’s identified developmental needs, reflecting on the role of the practitioner within the workplace context

  • develop and apply knowledge required for practitioners which is linked to government policy, legislation, statutory and non-statutory guidance and current initiatives

  • understand and incorporate connections between module, practice and relevant areas of the appropriate curriculum/framework


Additional outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should also be able to:

  • identify and discuss various methods of observation and assessment used within own setting

  • develop skills for selecting and using appropriate methods for observing a child’s behaviour, understanding context and noting actions

  • develop academic skills of engagement with key research papers. Note making and report-writing

  • increase their knowledge of IT resources

  • identify and examine major influences upon a range of typical and atypical childhood development factors, including technology 

Outline content:

  • Theoretical perspectives on how children learn to include motivational theories, sociological and psychological perspectives. 

  • Key principles and concepts which underpin theories of child development

  • The physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of young children 

  • The development of linguistic skills. 

  • The value of observational methods to assess a child’s development

  • The role of the practitioner and the team to assess development and identify suitable resources to support learning 

Global context:
Many of the key theories discussed in this module have global resonance (eg Forest School, Te Whariki, Steiner).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Visiting speakers will be invited where appropriate and students will be expected to develop their reflective skills throughout the module. Work - based learning will provide an essential contribution to achievement of the outcomes.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10.5 9
Seminars 1 1
Tutorials 1.5 1.5
Placement 45 45
Guided independent study: 43 42.5
Total hours by term 102 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Practical skills assessment 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
2500 word child study (90%)
Mentor/student professional discussion (10%)

Formative assessment methods:
Work-based discussions with the mentor, plus tutorials and placement experience all contribute to formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission during the summer resit period if candidate would otherwise fail to progress.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books:  The essential text books for this module are below. These texts are available in the library or within online resources or you may be able to source them more cheaply than the publisher’s recommended price


Doherty, J., &Hughes. M. (2013). Child development theory and practice. (2nd ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.approx £28

Blandford, S., &Knowles, C. (2009). Developing professional practice 0-7. Harlow: Pearson Education. Approx £29


Wilson, V., &Kendall-Seatter, S. (2010). Developing professional practice 7-14. Harlow: Pearson Education Approx £29

2) Specialist equipment or materials:  None

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:  None

4) Printing and binding:  None

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:  None

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:  None

Last updated: 30 July 2021


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