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EDU2001 : Psychological perspectives on teaching and learning

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Deborah Ralls
  • 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 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of:

• Conceptualisations of ‘pedagogy’ and ‘learning’ from a range of psychological and philosophical perspectives;

• The major schools of cognitive psychology including behaviourism, cognitivism, social constructivism, and humanistic psychology;

• The examination of a number of learning theories to evaluate their shared concerns and differing perspectives;

• How approaches to teaching and learning can be influenced by different historical, cultural and ideological factors;

• The potential significance of language development and social interaction in learning;

• A range of dialogic and enquiry-based pedagogical approaches in contrast to more ‘Core’ knowledge concerns.

Outline Of Syllabus

- What is pedagogy?

- An overview of the contribution of developmental psychology and its main thinkers.

- Examination of how children think and learn with particular attention to what facilitates understanding, exploration and learning.

- The differing theoretical perspectives from developmental psychology.

- The relationship between planning, teaching, assessment and learning.

- The interface between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ using a range of perspectives and approaches including behaviourism, constructivism and humanistic psychology.

- Enquiry-based learning as a non-dominant pedagogy and its relationship to ‘Core Knowledge’.

- Intelligence, its definition and controversies.

- Pedagogic ‘truths’ and their contesting, e.g. ‘Learning styles’ and ‘ability’.

- Teaching and Learning in a subject discipline such as History.

- Conclusion and Assessment: Learning on this module: Student presentations.

This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of:

• the nature of ‘pedagogy’ and ‘learning’ from a range of psychological perspectives including behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism;

• the contribution of seminal thinkers including Pavlov, Thorndyke, Watson, Skinner, Dewey, Bandura, Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner;

• the significance of learning theories and the degree to which they share common elements;

• the ideological, historical and philosophical reasons that learning theories may disagree in substance and approach;

• the implications of philosophical stance and approach for research methodology;

• how approaches to teaching and learning can be influenced by different social, historical, cultural and ideological factors;

• the debate between the proponents of ‘Core’ knowledge and other viewpoints;

• a range of dialogic and enquiry-based pedagogical approaches.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1100:00100:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Asynchronous online: e.g. videos, reflective tasks, podcasts, quizzes.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0055:00Readings and research for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Assignment workshop online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. As this module is focused on pedagogy, session leaders will be using a wide range of pedagogical and didactic methods varying between lecturing, dialogic approaches, group work and practical tasks, in order to exemplify the content of their session.

2. In order to meet the Learning Outcomes, a balance will be provided between directly taught content, focused research and reading, group activities as well as assignment preparation and completion.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation102A30Individual oral presentation. Submission of powerpoint slides and commentary online.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M703,000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills in this module will take place in two formats:

• Oral presentation: Building on taught input students will prepare and deliver an explanation and critique of either a teaching episode or a controversial issue related to the module substance. In this presentation each student will explain their choices regarding pedagogical strategy, teaching and assessment. It will also be necessary for students to make explicit their understanding of implications or connections.

• Essay: Students will present a written essay which compares and contrasts the content/substance of the major learning theories which have been studied. The essay will also examine possible historical, philosophical and ideological reasons for these differences.

Reading Lists