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EDU1005 : The History of Western Education

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gail Edwards
  • Lecturer: Dr Pamela Woolner
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to develop student’s knowledge and understanding of:

• The history of education as an academic field of study.
• The nature and provision of schools and schooling in western society and the utility of various models to describe and explain educational change.
• The political, social, economic, cultural and pedagogic context of educational provision and change.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module asks such questions as: What counted as ‘education’ in past societies? What did it mean to be ‘educated’? What counted as a ‘good’ education? What are the sources of evidence? Who was being ‘educated’ – by whom, how, and to what ends– what was it for? What was the experience of education by teachers and students? What was the attitude towards education – to what extent was this informed by contemporary views about: parents and parenting, children and childhood, pedagogy, gender, class, race, society or the State? How can we account for educational change and to what extent was this shaped by contemporary political, religious, social or cultural factors? This module critically engages with the debates and issues surrounding these questions relating to the nature and impact of educational provision in western societies and the utility of various models to explain educational change.

Lectures will explore the range of social, political, cultural and educational contexts within which key primary source documents or academic articles for analysis will form the focus on the following week’s seminar session.

Lecture Programme

BLOCK 1: The Ideal Citizen: Schools and Schooling in Ancient Society
SESSION 1: Arête and paideia: Homer, the Educator of Greece; Education and the Greek City-State;
Romanitas: Rome and Empire

BLOCK 2: Education for a Christian society: Schools and Schooling from the Sixth to the Sixteenth Century
SESSION 2: Imperium christianum: the Middle Ages
SESSION 3: Humanism: Educating the Renaissance Man
SESSION 4: Dissent and orthodoxy: Reformation and Counter-Reformation

BLOCK 3: The Rise of Mass Popular Education: Schools and Schooling from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century
SESSION 5: The E nlightenment background
SESSION 6: The growth of national systems of schooling I: Europe and the United States
SESSIONS 7-8: The growth of national systems of schooling II: England

BLOCK 4: The Nation State: Schools and Schooling in the Twentieth century
SESSION 9: School Building programmes: motivations and consequences
SESSIONS 10: Continuity and change: School space and educational practices

SESSION 11: Education and the totalitarian state: Germany 1933-1950; Soviet Education and socialism
SESSION 12: Education in the 21st Century

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading182:0082:00Specific reading tasks related to seminars/lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study185:0085:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module aims to help students develop their knowledge and understanding of how schools and schooling have developed since Homeric times. Lectures will explore the range of social, political, cultural and educational contexts within which particular primary source documents or academic articles for analysis will form the focus on the following week’s seminar session. During each lecture there will be opportunities for students to work in small groups to discuss and compare contemporary understandings, attitudes and concerns about schools and schooling. This is further extended by the tutor- and student-led seminar sessions are also intended to reinforce and assess key skills and knowledge outcomes listed above.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M70Essay (2,500 words)
Essay1M30Journal (1,500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. The essay evaluates the students knowledge and understanding of the subject in-depth, their capacity to construct and organise an argument that is coherent and which demonstrates critical engagement.

Reading Lists