EDM179-Theory of Education

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer / Autumn module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Naomi Flynn
Email: n.flynn@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

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:

  • Students are introduced to a wide range of theories and theorists through session content and through accessing an online resource bank related to the module. Taught sessions focus on understanding the role and purpose of using social theory and empirical theory in qualitative and mixed-methods studies. Teaching is delivered through a blended learning approach in which students are asked to prepare presentation material between taught sessions. Students are encouraged to focus on theories and theorists that they are likely to use in Part B for their Doctoral research.

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 99 100 101
Total hours for module 300

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Oral assessment and presentation 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assessment for this module is in two parts:

Part A: A 2500-word rationale that critically discusses and examines the literature related to one theory or theorist of your choosing. You will focus on a theory/theorist that you are likely to use for your Doctoral study.

Part B: A 10-minute presentation at the October weekend: you will present to peers on how and why your chosen theory/theorist is a good match for the field of enquiry you hope to pursue for your Doctoral project.  

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

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
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:


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):

1) Required text books: 

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

Last updated: 10 January 2022


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