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EDU3005 : Philosophy of Education

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Samantha Shields
  • 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


Philosophers are ‘lovers of wisdom’ who are interested in engaging with the ‘big questions’ - the meaning of life, the limits of our knowledge, what is right and wrong and what it means to be a human being. Since its origins as a discipline 2500 years ago, philosophers have been fascinated by education. They have questioned what it means, what it is for, what it can and should do, who should be involved and what it should include.

This module will critically examine the contributions of key philosophers to our understanding of education, ranging from thinkers in the eighteenth century such as Rousseau to thinkers like Dewey who have shaped thinking beyond the 20th century. Drawing from these conceptualisations, the module will consider the nature of knowledge, truth, freedom, power, morality and justice and the position of education (curriculum, assessment, schooling, teaching and learning) in relation to each of these. In particular, it will consider what how these conceptualisations of education are played out in alternative educational provision, such as homeschooling and forest schools. It will develop the capacity to philosophise – to think, to reflect, to analyse and to question.

Outline Of Syllabus

Stage 1 students have been briefly introduced to the Philosophy of Education (in the form of the early philosophers such as Plato in History of Education – EDU1005). This module provides students with a broader and deeper grounding in the Philosophy of Education in terms of key philosophers between the 18th and 20th centuries (such as Rousseau, Dewey and Wollstonecraft). The first half of the module considers how the work of Philosophers informs our thinking about the educational concepts of: freedom, knowledge, truth, morality, democracy, power, justice. The second half of the module allows students to apply these concepts to radical, alternative and informal educational practices, such as homeschooling, early years and community education. Concepts such as equality, equity, knowledge and meaning are also considered in relation to formal schooling practices. The module begins with an
introduction to Philosophy of Education. The module discusses key Philosophers in the 18th Century, Moral education, Feminism and Philosophy, Democratic Schooling, Homeschooling, Early Years education,
Informal education, Equality versus equity in education and philosophies of knowledge, meaning and identity. The module finishes with a summary and essay preparation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Asynchronous online: videos, podcasts, quizzes, reflective tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00If change to public health prevent PiP lectures: 1hr synchronous lecture in timetabled lecture slot
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1111:00111:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading114:0044:00Specific reading tasks related to lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminar - if change to public health prevent PiP small group teaching:Small group synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Asynchronous online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture series will scaffold students’ understandings of philosophical perspectives on the nature of education and educational methods. Students will have the opportunity to develop a critical awareness of philosophical concepts and apply these to educational theory and practice through seminar discussions. The guided independent study will reinforce and extend the understanding and criticality which has been explored in lectures and seminars.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1A30Pre-recorded oral Presentation - 10 minutes
Essay1A70Essay - 3,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay is an appropriate way to assess both philosophical understanding and criticality when applying philosophical concepts to aspects of educational theory and practice. The pre-recorded individual oral presentation will enable students to demonstrate their ability to critically apply philosophical ideas in relation to an aspect of educational theory and practice.

Reading Lists