Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Educational Contexts: Contexts, Conditions and Communities of Learners

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Education Studies

DESCRIPTION ‘Education Context’ is made up of three study-units of 5 ECTS each, that complement each other. This second of the three study-units focuses on communities, schools and classrooms. This study-unit gives attention to actual places where students live and grow, and where learning takes place. The formation of communities as well as how educational spaces are constructed and perceived all form the learner and contribute to her flourishing as a person and as a member within a community.

Sociological, psychological and philosophical knowledge together with inclusive theory will help the student-teachers question, inquire and re-think some of their understanding of communities, schools and classrooms.

This study-unit will be offered to all those enrolled in the MTL: ECEC and Primary; Secondary; and Primary & Secondary strand. Therefore, in order to reach and provide for all the different student-teachers, the study-unit will have whole group lectures and small group lectures (depending on the number on students enrolled for the MTL).

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit Educational Contexts aims to discuss those practical professional skills, attitudes and dispositions of teaching which are informed by the latest educational theories. The interdisciplinary lectures will help students heighten their awareness on educational issues, in particularly for this study-unit, on issues on communities, schools and classrooms. The aim of this study-unit is to help students develop a capacity for critically understanding educational systems and structures and the political nuances in these contexts; develop a critical attitude towards policies and pedagogical practice. They nurture an attitude where what is familiar is revisited and made strange through engagement with theory.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Question the learning communities and contexts in which learning takes place. this will take place through the ideas presented during lectures and readings presented;
- Critique assumptions of the learning communities and where learning takes place;
- Analyze and evaluate how the learning community is constructed through various relations developed by the different stakeholders. Keeping in mind the power that these relations have and how it constructs learning situations;
- Compare various learning communities theories and contexts of learning;
- Describe various conditions that influence the learning communities and learning contexts.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Transfer the issues discussed in lectures to his/her daily practice in school and learning communities;
- Reflect on his/her daily practice as a teacher and the contexts of learning;
- Analyse main texts published by the Ministry of Education and other policy documents;
- Apply the ideals of justice and fairness in his/her daily dealings with children and their families;
- Analyse texts from a critical perspective, and creatively come up with alternative solutions to perceived problems;
- Synthesise the theories discussed in lectures, and create his/her own theories of learning as resulting from his/her daily practice;
- Value his/her role as a 'political' agent in schools. This involves analysing ones own identity and how it affects the contexts of learning;
- Communicate his/her ideas about important issues in education;
- Engage in a critical description of who the learner is through engaging with a set of concepts;
- Articulate their own experience (both past when they attended compulsory schooling and now as students reading a MTL course) and read this experience through particular concepts;
- Engage in a critical and deconstructive reading of the texts relevant to processes of becoming teachers.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Ballantine, J. H. and Spade, J. Z. (2008) (Eds) Schools and Society: A Sociological Approach to Society, Los Angeles, Pine Forge Press, pp 465-480.
- S. J. Ball (Ed.) (2004) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Sociology of Education, Abingdon, Routledge Falmer.
- Dewey, J. (2011) Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. UK, Simon & Brown.
- Dewey, J. (2011) The School and Society & The Child and the Curriculum. UK, Bnpublishing.
- Eggen, P. & Kauchak (2007). Educational Psychology – Windows on Classrooms (7th ed.). NJ: Pearson, Merrill, Prentice Hall.

Supplementary Readings:

- Lauder, H., Brown, P., Dillabough, J.A. and A. H. Halsey (EDS.) Education, Globalization and Social Change, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
- Lynch, K. and A. Lodge (2002) Equality and Power in Schools: Redistribution, Recognition, and Representation.
- Korn, C. and A. Bursztyn (2002) (Eds) Rethinking Multicultural Education, Westport, Bergin adn Garvey.
- Lindon, J. (2006) Equality in Early Childhood: Linking Theory and Practice, Abingdon, Hodder Arnold.
- Thrupp, M. and R. Lupton (2006) Taking school contexts more seriously: the social justice challenge, British Journal of Education, vol. 54, no 3, pp 308-328.
- Mills, M. and A. Keddie (2007) Teaching boys and gender justice, International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 11., no 3 pp335-354.
- Lingard, B. (2007) Pedagogies of indifference, International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 11, no 3, pp245-266.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.