EDM200-Families and Learning

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

Module Convenor: Dr Geoff Taggart
Email: g.taggart@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The interaction between the two sites of family and school gives rise to a series of perennial questions of theoretical and practical relevance:

  • ‘What kinds of parent produce great learners?’

  • ‘What do we mean by teachers operating in loco parentis?’ (i.e. what kind of parent?)

  • ‘What is the impact of family circumstances upon educational achievement?’,

  • Do we (and should we) have childcare or early years education? What is the difference?

  • ‘What kinds of learning happen at school and which at home?’

  • ‘What characterises effective relationships between schools and families?’

The module offers students with teaching experience of all kinds the opportunity to consider and apply a range of possible answers to these questions, as provided in scholarship and research.


The module has four aims:

  1. To provide a theoretical understanding of issues relevant to the topic of families and learning. The questions above draw upon theoretical models such as family systems, attachment and parenting styles and feminist research in mothering/teaching.

  2. To provide specialist subject skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to the topic of families and learning. The module enables students to analyse family structures and dynamics and to relate styles of parenting to real-life examples. It also introduces sociological research, both quantitative and qualitative in the field of families and education.

  3. To enable students to apply their understanding to professional contexts. Formal and informal opportunities are provided for participants to reflect upon professional work with families and to apply theories and insights.

  4. To improve students’ Masters-level study skills. Activities are provided which draw upon and promote the academic literacies required in the MA programme, in particular the skills of critical awareness and debate.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • To reflect upon theories of the family and use them to analyse social contexts of ‘race’, class, sexuality, religion and culture

  • To use theories about early childhood development to understand how parenting can influence adult behaviour

  • To reflect upon one’s own practice with families and to place these within the context of current research

  • To engage with recent research regarding the effect of the family context upon educational achievement

Additional outcomes:

To engage in critical discussion of recent research of relevance in this field.

Outline content:

  • The family and educational success

  • Gender, work and early childhood education

  • Attachment and family systems theory

  • Parenting styles

  • Family learning and issues in home education

  • Families and social diversity

  • Communication between teachers and parents

  • Gender, teaching and emotional labour

Global context:

Examples of good practice are drawn from international contexts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Through lectures/group discussion/seminar and critical examination of appropriate literature. Some of the lectures will be recorded in advance to allow for a ‘flipped classroom’ approach.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 30
Seminars 40
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Peer assisted learning 30
    Advance preparation for classes 40
    Preparation for seminars 20
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Portfolio 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  1. Reflective account(s) (portfolio) based upon one or more of the practical and professional aspects of the module (e.g. communication between teachers and parents) (1000 words)

  2. Written assignment based upon one or more fields of research/scholarship presented in the module (2500 words)

Formative assessment methods:

Feedback on draft assignment.

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:

aggregate pass of 50%

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmissions must be submitted within one calendar month of the notification of failure.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: £12

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: 28 October 2021


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