Module Catalogue 2022/23

EDU2009 : Social Constructions of Childhood

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s):
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Children and childhood are so integral to the human experience and life course that we can all claim to be ‘experts’ through our own experiences of being children. However, childhood is a complex phenomenon. Childhood Studies is concerned with the study of all childhoods and of children of all ages. This module will critically examine current debates within Childhood Studies. It begins with an exploration of the field of childhood studies and the history of childhood leading to the social construction of childhood today. Drawing on the conceptualisation of childhood being socially constructed the module will consider key current issues in the area such as: family, education, policy and its impact on children, children’s spaces, global childhood and the agency and voice of children. The module will develop the capacity to reflect on and contest commonly held ideas about the nature of children and childhoods.

Outline Of Syllabus

Stage 1 students have been briefly introduced to the ideas of children and society (in the form of representations of children in the media and creativity in EDU1001). This module provides students with a broader and deeper grounding in the social construction of childhood and the current debates within this field. The module uses Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model to explore how childhood interacts with the micro, meso, macro and exosystems. The sources used are research and practice based. There is also a focus on media sources and their representations of children. Following an introduction to key concepts – what is childhood: social constructions, identity and agency, themes explored include the history of childhood, philosophical traditions of childhood education, children and the family, childhood institutions and working in partnership, children and social policy, and children’s geography.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Outline and critically evaluate perspectives on the nature of children and childhood(s).
Understand the historical influences that have shaped current childhood.
Appreciate the different childhoods that groups experience based on geography, social policy, education and socio-economic status.
Demonstrate a critical awareness of the socially constructed nature of childhood(s) and how this relates to different aspects of children’s lives (e.g. family, poverty, health, deviance).
To explore childhood through a variety of aspects of children’s lives such as the family, educational and care institutions, the community and the wider geographical context.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will be able to:
• Critically evaluate perspectives on the nature of children and childhoods from a range of primary and secondary sources;
• Organise and articulate opinions and arguments in speech and writing using relevant specialist vocabulary, including by means of well prepared, clear and confident presentation and coherent, concise written documents;
• Use ICT in their study and other appropriate situations;
• Access relevant sources of information skilfully.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion163:0063:00Assignment 2 (2,500 words) and independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:0035:00Assignment 1 (1,500 words) and independent study
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Readings and directed tasks related to seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Assignment drop in session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study113:0033:00Writing up, general reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture series will scaffold students’ understandings of the socially constructed nature of childhood(s). Students will have the opportunity to develop a critical awareness of the different ways in which childhood is socially constructed and consider this through the lens of different aspects of children’s lives through seminar discussions. The guided independent study will reinforce and extend the understanding and criticality which has been explored in lectures and seminars.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502,000 word essay focusing on the socially constructed nature of childhood.
Report1A502,000 report based on an issue in the media relating to children and/or childhood(s).
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MEssay plan. Formative feedback will be provided.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will enable students to demonstrate their understanding of some of the key theories associated with social constructions of childhood in order to then use this knowledge as they explore discrete areas of childhood and in preparation for their report.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.