Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Understanding the Self and Others

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Education Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit takes a critical look at the PSCD curriculum and the role it plays in the NCF. It problematises the procedures and processes of the PSCD session, which place a lot of importance on group dynamics and define the teacher as a facilitator. The study-unit looks more closely at its tendency to separate skills from values and teach personal and social skills in a moral void. The question of the role of the PSCD teacher within the school is raised and discussed. The study-unit proposes that the role should be defined within the parameters of the idea of the school as a learning community as outlined in Tomorrow's Schools (1995).

The study-unit will explore the understanding of education as a personal and social practice. A common problem with the notion of the personal and the social is that the terms are frequently conceived as separate and opposite. This is manifested through the ways the different dimensions of the self (including relationships, family, friendships, citizenship, home) are categorized as either personal or social. The study-unit highlights the importance of understanding the personal as having social and political implications.

This notion that the 'personal is political' will be explored in relation to the PSCD teaching methods mentioned above. To what extent is telling one's experiences within a group empowering? In what ways are PSCD sessions therapeutic, confessional? How are they educational practices that encourage self-inspection and self-regulation?

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to explore the meaning of the personal and the social in the context of PSCD. Reference is made at the start of the unit to the beginnings of the subject, first as a life-skills programme, then as Personal and Social Education – the purposes and rationale of both programmes is explored and the distinction made between the more limited skills approach (skills being a species of practical knowledge, of ‘knowing how’ to do something), and the broader implications of education as a process that involves the socialization of pupils into the culture of the society (its traditions, beliefs, values, accepted norms of behaviour) at the first level, and, at the second, beyond that, their growth into reflective, critical thinkers (although the last mentioned will only be touched on here since it is explored and developed in Study-unit 3). The necessity of socialization, the process of becoming social, or of upbringing, indicates that the personal, or individual, or the self is also inevitably a social self. This means that individual beings (selves) are only understood in a social context; in the context of their relationships, their living with others, though there is an important sense in which we are private also, where we can speak of the individual’s relationship with oneself. The question explored in the PSCD classroom will be how these dimensions of the self grow and interrelate, and it is discussed in depth with the students in the unit. The context of social relationships is a rich one; ethical, political, and aesthetic, in the different and complementary forms these take. These relationships that enrich our lives are explored in the unit. Individuality is also a source of enrichment if it is healthy, productive, and self-fulfilled, rather than egoistic, self-absorbed, and anti-social. The question how the first positive kind of individuality can be encouraged in the PSCD classroom is explored. The study-unit makes the point that though we speak of ‘the self’ there is not one ‘self’ really but several selves; that our individuality is just that, and that it is influenced by several things; our gender, our social location and culture, our sexuality, etc. The same is true of ‘the social’, especially in a multi-cultural society like our own where individuals have different socio-cultural backgrounds and form in different communities based on race, origin, religion or belief, and so on.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- encourage the PSCD students teacher to reflect of the political aspects of their work as teachers whose vocation is to enhance the social and personal development of their pupils;
- problematise the personal and social dimensions of the PSCD syllabus;
- critically reflect on the content knowledge of the PSCD syllabus;
- acquaint students with important aspects of group dynamics and the role of teacher as a facilitator;
- encourage students to think about how they can communities of learning within their PSCD classroom and school;
- describe the meaning of self and see how this is categorized as either personal and/or social.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- engage with a set of readings and think about the self and others critically;
- observe the social forces at work that make up the self and others;
- use a variety of pedagogical skills to develop notion of the self and others.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Best David, (1996) Values in the Arts, in Halstead Mark & Taylor Monica, (Eds.) Values in Education and Education in Values, Falmer.
- Dewey John ( 2001) Experience and Education , Dover Publications.
- Noddings Nel & Slote Michael (2003) Changing Notions of the Moral and of Moral Education, in Blake Nigel et al. (Eds.) The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education, Blackwell.
- Wain Kenneth (1995) The Value Crisis, Mireva.

Supplementary Readings:

- Bishop Nicole, (1996) Trust is not Enough: Classroom Self-disclosure and the Loss of Private Lives, Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- Burwood Les, (1996) How Should Schools Respond to the Plurality of Values in a Multi-Cultural Society?, Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- Gluck Andrew, (1999) Open-Mindedness versus Holding Firm Beliefs, Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- Halstead Mark, (1996) Values and Values Education in Schools, in Halstead Mark & Taylor Monica, (Eds.) - Values in Education and Education in Values, Falmer.
- Lukes Steven (1995) Moral Diversity and Relativism, Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- Blake N., Smeyers P., Smith R., & Standish P. (1998) Thinking Again Westport Bergin & Garvey.
- Maxine Greene ( 1995) Releasing the Imagination san Francisco, Jossey Bass.
- Noddings N. (1999) “Care Justice and Equity” in Katz M., N. Noddings and Strike K. (1999) Justice and Caring New York, Teachers College Press.
- Foucault M. ( 1990) The Care of the Self, London, Penguin Books.
- Foucault ( 1984) “The Ethic of the Care of the Self as a Practice of Freedom” In Bernauer J. and Rasmussen D (eds.) ( 1994) The Final Foucault MIT Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Boler M. (1999) Feeling Power: Emotions and Education Pedagogical Issues.
- Katz M., N. Noddings and Strike K. (1999) Justice and Caring New York, Teachers College Press.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) SEM2 Yes 50%

Simone Galea
Joseph Vancell

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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.