Education5

Module information

In your first year of study you will develop a broad overview of the subject matter, allowing you to grasp the main concepts and ideas surrounding the course. The second and third years will see you develop your interests through optional modules, and hone your skills, through a work placement and a research dissertation in your final year.

The course is taught through a variety of seminars and lectures, with support on offer form your year coordinator throughout your degree. Assessments will vary from module to module, but will include group work, essays and exams.

The modules you will take each year are listed below under three sections:

  • Core: These modules are compulsory. All students on the degree programme have to take them.
  • Approved: This section comprises a list from which you will need to select at least some of your modules for that year.
  • Unrestricted: This section identifies the number of credits you can take from other departments in The University.

Each year you will need to take modules to the value of 120 credits.

Year 1

Year 1

Core modules

You must take the following three 20 credit modules:

Education, Power and Society: Introduction to the Sociology of Education

This module is designed to introduce you to the sociology of education as an academic field. Sociology as a discipline studies the institutions, cultures and social systems which frame our lives and influence our behaviour. The sociology of education focuses on educational institutions, cultures and systems.

A key issue in the sociology of education is the relationship between educational institutions/cultures/systems and social inequalities. The focus here is placed on studying class, gender, ethnicity and disability and looking at the ways in which education systems serve to tackle or reproduce patterns of inequality and relations of power.

The sociology of education also explores and evaluates different policy frameworks and goals. One important contemporary question, for instance, asks whether the main priority of education should be to serve the needs of the economy (and how this might be achieved). Another asks whether the focus of education policy should be placed on nurturing active citizenship (and what this would look like).

The organisation of learning and teaching is a third key area explored by the sociology of education. In addition to looking at pedagogical strategies such as setting, a key sociological question is whether and how pedagogical practices serve to address or reinforce social inequalities and relations of power.

Making Sense of Education, Culture and Childhood: Facts, Fiction and Data

Politicians, practitioners and media discourses related to the fields of Education, Culture and Childhood frequently invoke ‘evidence’ or statistical reasoning in an attempt to persuade. These approaches can be deliberately misused or accidentally misleading. This module will equip you with the knowledge you need to become a discerning data user and critic through a mix of active learning, seminars and computer workshops. You will develop practical skills to support your engagement with ‘evidence’ throughout your studies, explore a range of issues in qualitative and quantitative research design, and create a foundation for your future development as a critical researcher.

Child Psychology

This module explores the relationship between psychological theory and educational policy and practice, considering some of the ways in which both Education and Local Authority services, as well as cross-cultural and global work with children, have been influenced by ideas about children developed in psychological research (mainly from the global North). Some of the core concepts of Psychology are introduced such as cognitive psychology (intelligence, language and learning), behaviourism (including modification techniques), social and emotional development (including family and attachment, trauma), as well as the study of individual differences (with reference to autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), gender, the effects of labelling on children’s lives, and the globalisation of child psychology. The module will explore how psychology may sometimes work in problematic discriminatory ways, and will aim to think about how psychology might be used to work towards social justice.

All lectures will be framed around some core questions, including:

  • What is a ‘normal’ ‘healthy’ child?
  • Who gets to decide what children should be like?
  • What can adults ‘know’ about children’s lives?
  • Does being a child mean the same all over the world?
  • How could psychology inform more ethical and socially just ways of working with children?

Approved Modules
You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

Critical Curriculum Study

The curriculum is often taken for granted by those who experience it, such as parents, students and teachers. This module poses questions about curriculum – what is it and who is it for? Different perspectives on curriculum are explored to establish a framework for critical curriculum study. After examining school curriculum reform both in England and in international contexts, the module will focus in depth on a single case study curriculum in England. This focused study will be carried out from the perspective of curriculum history, policy reform, analysis and implementation through research involving classroom-based curriculum development.

Social and Historical Constructions of Childhood

In this module students will explore how childhood has been portrayed across different societies and at different times, and will examine how childhoods are shaped and influenced by the societies in which children live, learn and are cared for.

Through a series of lectures, group work and individual study tasks, students will think about the ways in which childhood has changed over time and how different views and perspectives on childhood create different expectations of children.

Through the study of historical and social constructions of childhood, students will develop a fuller understanding of how ways of working with children can be shaped by external influences.

Histories of Education

This module offers a historical perspective on education as an idea and as a practice. A comprehensive history of education is both practically and theoretically impossible, consequently a selective framework of periods, key ideas and key thinkers will be adopted. The history presented will be Euro-centric in the main, focusing in particular on the history of Western education as reflected in England. It will encourage reflection on other parts of the world where European influence has shaped (some might say stunted, or confined) social development. The approach will be broadly chronological. During this module the purpose and nature of history will be interrogated in its relationship to our present. We investigate answers to the questions; ‘What is history?’ and ‘Why study history of education?’, by exploring the relevance of historical study to present-day problems.

This module does not work by following a set curriculum, which you are then expected to learn and repeat when tested. Instead, it aims to introduce you to a certain way of thinking about education: i.e. thinking in a critical, historical and philosophical way about educational questions.

The module is designed to present you with a range of ideas and tools that you can use should you wish. It indicates a path of conceptual and critical enquiry that could extend outside and beyond the confines of this module. This module is not so much about learning to repeat a range of ideas or histories. It is about experimenting with and hopefully adopting a way of thinking about the world beyond common sense.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

Year 2

Year 2

Core Modules
You must take the following three 20 credit modules:

Understanding Education: Research and Researching

In this module you will have the opportunity to examine and discuss a range of theories and methods associated with educational research. You will examine various definitions and concepts, explore the philosophy and protocols of scholarly enquiry and develop skills in the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.

You will be introduced to the idea of ‘methodology’ and to a range of research methods, which - in tandem with other modules on the BA ECC programme – are assessed in both a theoretical and practical sense. The aim of this module is to equip you with the skills, knowledge and awareness needed to engage critically with ‘evidence’ presented by other researchers and to conduct research of your own. It is intended that this module will complement and support your research project work on EDU203 (Research Project) and also feed in to your dissertation studies in later years.

Research Project in Education, Culture and Childhood

The aim of the module is to allow you to design and manage your own small scale research project. The objective is to give you the opportunity to engage with all the stages necessary in the planning and implementation of successful research, from the crafting of an appropriate set of research questions, through literature search, data collection, analysis of findings and dissemination of results.

Research can sometimes be a lonely and isolated activity – gathering and analysing data for a project that only you are working on. To avoid this, students on the degree will be divided into three groups and you will have 10 group tutorials spread across the academic year. This will allow you to develop and discuss your own individual research project in a supportive small group context.

Placement

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in a professional workplace setting. Support will be provided in helping you to choose your placement, and the placement can be undertaken between February and May. During this period, you will spend a minimum of 60 hours and a maximum of 180 hours in your placement. The placement will be undertaken on a voluntary basis and you will be required to produce a detailed learning journal offering a reflective account of your experiences. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain valuable work experience that enhances your knowledge and skills and informs your thinking about future career paths.

Approved Modules
You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

Children and Digital Cultures

In this module you will have the chance to think about the ways in which digital technologies are affecting the lives of young people and the cultures they inhabit. We will consider how this affects their sense of themselves; the world they live in and their learning in informal and formal spaces. You will be introduced to theories which attempt to help us make sense of the fast paced cultural and social changes we are witnessing.

The educational implication of digital technologies is a developing field of research and you will critically engage with debates emerging from the field alongside examining websites and new practices. As well as reading about and exploring digital technologies and websites you will be asked to reflect on your own digital practices.

Throughout this module you are encouraged to use Twitter as a collaborative learning tool. We will evaluate this during the course of the module and consider its benefits and challenges.

Psychology and Learning Communities

This module explores learning as the ongoing product of our active participation in social relationships and community. To do so, critical attention is drawn to the way in which language facilitates social practices including those involved in the construction of different kinds of knowledge. In this sense, knowledge relates to formal conceptualisations of learning provided by developments in scientific disciplines (e.g. psychology) and the social sciences (e.g. education and sociology). It is also concerned with informal understandings such as the continual constitution of learner’s identities through social engagement. The module aims to challenge notions of learning as an individual enterprise.

We will explore the ways in which different theoretical conceptions of the learner and their community might impact on the learning, teaching and pedagogy that they experience. The module will introduce you to different theoretical perspectives on learners and their communities which will influence how educators approach learning, teaching and pedagogy. We understand learners in terms of their participation in formal contexts of education (early years settings, schools, colleges, universities) and informal educational and community contexts (including self-help groups, political and community activism organisations, leisure and the creative industries). One key question will dominate the course: How do you understand learners, learning and their communities?

Dimensions of Education Policy

This module looks at key issues in education policy. We will explore the origins and evaluate the success of the comprehensive system; look in detail at the debates surrounding grammar schools, faith schools, Academies and free schools; assess a range of policies designed to tackle educational disadvantage; critically explore the politics of teaching and assessment; and reflect more generally on the discourse of choice and diversity that frames current education policy as a whole.

Being a Teacher

This module introduces you to key issues and roles involved in being a teacher. It is suitable for those who definitely want to teach and those who have not yet considered teaching as a career. The focus of the module is teaching in England. It covers teaching across the age range, with sessions devoted to early years, primary, secondary and further and higher education. The module also deals with issues such as assessing pupils’ learning, managing challenging behaviour, working with parents and other professionals. By the end of the module you should have a clear idea of what’s involved in ‘being a teacher’.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

Year 3

Year 3

Core Modules

You must take the following two modules:

Philosophies of Education

This module will explore the importance of philosophy to the study of education. It covers key moments in the history of Western philosophy, focusing on the question of modernity (What is modernity? What are its ramifications for education?). It will investigate the consequences of late modernity for present day education, a period in which the aims and purposes of education have become increasingly unclear, leaving education open to the rise of instrumentalism and the forces of capital.

Overall the module will offer a critique of common assumptions in education, provoking questioning about its nature and purposes.

Dissertation

(40 credits)

The aim of the dissertation is to enable students to advance their knowledge of education and childhood studies by pursuing an independent research project on a relevant chosen topic. Students completing the dissertation will have examined a subject in substantial depth, shown evidence of an ability to undertake sustained critical analysis, developed and improved their research skills, and produced a long piece of written work that demonstrates a detailed and sophisticated understanding of a particular area of relevance to the BA (Hons) Education, Culture and Childhood.

Approved Modules

You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

Psychological Theory and Childhood Experience

This module explores the relationship between psychological theory and experience. Students drawn to the study of psychology are presented with a curriculum comprising subjects (memory, perception, language, cognition, development, emotion) they have spent a lifetime experiencing. Hence psychology as a scientific study presents a unique experience for the student, learning what in an experiential sense is already known. This module introduces reflective models of inquiry in which psychological understanding is sought through the exploration of preconceptions transmitted within psychology and psychological education. This module also explores psychological approaches that illuminate different orientations to childhood experience and the implications for these different approaches for the knowledge generated.

Education@Sheffield

In Education@Sheffield students are invited to explore and evaluate the rich and diverse research taking place within the School of Education. Through a series of seminars presented by active researchers, students are encouraged to critically engage with research—and the researchers themselves—in the fields of educational and childhood studies. The Education@Sheffield module enables students to acquire a critical understanding of various themes, settings and methodologies which shape contemporary educational research.

What is Learning?

What is learning? Everyone does it but how does it happen? How can it be influenced? That last question is asked by parents, educators, advertisers, partners, politicians, the media and others. Current understandings about learning are influenced by perspectives from the European Enlightenment of the 18th century and, perhaps surprisingly, from ancient Greece. But there are recent, more radical and challenging perspectives on learning that this module will also explore – perspectives that challenge the practices of educators and others and even call into question ideas about truth and reality.

Globalising Education

This module considers the extent to which education might be viewed as a global context with a shared meaning. Moving outwards from the dominant concepts, principles and practices which frame `our own´ national, or regional responses to inclusive education, the module explores other possible ways of understanding difference. By examining `other ways of seeing difference´, in unfamiliar contexts, students are able to examine the implications of globalisation for education and explore the opportunities and obstacles for the social justice agendas within a range of cultural settings.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of changes the University will consult and inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.