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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Education

Postgraduate Course: Understanding the Nature of Knowledge and Curriculum (EDUA11376)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides students with an introduction to disciplinary perspectives on the nature of knowledge and the related concept of curriculum. It draws on the key disciplines of philosophy, policy-studies, psychology and sociology, providing a basis which will enable students to consider curriculum from a critical perspective.
Course description In this course students are supported to develop critical understandings of historical and contemporary policies and practices within schools and schooling in national and global contexts through the lenses of philosophy, policy-studies, psychology and sociology. Students are encouraged to interrogate the concept of curriculum through these disciplinary lenses with a view to developing critical understandings of the political nature of schooling and of teaching and the contested nature of knowledge and its production and reproduction in educational settings. An exploration of how knowledge is constructed, and how this in turn produces tensions between different conceptualisations of curriculum, will support students' understanding of how such constructions impact on policy and practice. Through site-based learning, students will observe the cultural and pedagogic manifestations of knowledge and curriculum in primary, secondary and alternative settings within the Scottish context and will reflect on the implications for the community of learners and for their own developing professional identities. Comparisons will be made with other national and international contexts, and, where possible, students will draw on international experience. Through this study, students will deepen their understanding and acknowledgement of teaching as political work, and further their development as activist teachers in a changing world.

The course will be delivered in 6 x 1-hour and 7 x 2-hour discursive sessions on University campus which will feed directly into site-based exploratory and observational tasks requiring students to have undertaken reading, observation and other activities in their cluster schools. Students will be supported by tutors, peers and school-based colleagues to engage critically with the GTCS Standard for Provisional Registration throughout the course.

Course Content Outline

Part 1
Students will be introduced to the concept of curriculum, and the evolution of curricula in local, national and international contexts.
Students will be introduced to the contested nature of knowledge, and knowledge production and reproduction (including notions of disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity)

Part 2
Students will explore disciplinary conceptualisations of knowledge and curriculum from the following applied theoretical disciplines:
Philosophical Perspectives
Policy-studies Perspectives
Psychological Perspectives
Sociological Perspectives

Part 3
Students will observe and explore the production and reproduction of knowledge and the manifestations of curriculum in school contexts, using Curriculum for Excellence as a case-study. Students will have the opportunity to discuss comparative curricula in different national contexts, and relate this to learning in the Developing Teacher Professionalism course, particularly in relation to ideas about teachers' professional identities and problematising practice. Learning from parts 1 and part 2 will be brought together to consider Multi-disciplinarity as a perspective on curriculum, and locate the concept of curriculum within the broader social worlds of school and community.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In line with the programme policy on assessment, students will have a strong element of choice and self-direction in course assessment. There is one summative assessment for this course:«br /»
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Task 1 «br /»
Students will work individually to produce a critical analysis of Curriculum for Excellence from one theoretical perspective. Students can choose to frame their analysis from a philosophical, sociological, psychological or policy-studies perspective. The analysis can be presented in narrative form or as a presentation. (Formative task)«br /»
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Task 2 «br /»
Students will work in groups to select and analyse an issue relevant to the concept of curriculum in contemporary society. The analysis should be from a multi-disciplinary perspective, and should relate directly to at least 2 of the core concepts of social justice, sustainability, global perspectives, digital and statistical literacies or professional inquiry skills. Students will decide on an appropriate audience to whom to present their discussion and analysis, and will present it in a format suitable to the audience selected. «br /»
(Summative, 100% of course assessment - 4000 words or equivalent.)«br /»
Feedback Students will receive oral feedback from peers, school mentors / cluster tutors and university tutors or all course related tasks.
Brief summative written feedback will be provided for both summative assessments.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the concept of curriculum as a contested and political term.
  2. Critique the nature of knowledge and the processes of knowledge production and reproduction.
  3. Draw on a range of applied theoretical perspectives to articulate their developing understandings of knowledge and curriculum and their own self-production as change leaders.
  4. Apply critical understandings of knowledge and curriculum to practice in local, national and global contexts, and to their own practice as change leaders
  5. Analyse their learning on this course in relation to relevant core concepts of social justice, sustainability, global perspectives, digital and statistical literacies and professional inquiry skills.
Reading List
Ball, S. (Ed), (2004) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Sociology of Education, Routledge
Hirst, P. (2010) Knowledge and the Curriculum: A collection of Philosophical Papers, London: Routledge
Lingard, B. & Ozga, J. (2007). (Eds). The Routledge Falmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics. Abingdon: Routledge
Smith, P. K., Cowie, H., & Blades, M. (2015). Understanding children's development (6th ed.) Chichester: Wiley
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, detect false logic or reasoning, identify implicit values, define terms adequately and generalise appropriately;
- recognise and address ethical dilemmas, social responsibility and sustainability issues, applying ethical and their own/organisational values to situations and choices;
- analyse facts and situations and apply creative and inventive thinking to develop the appropriate solutions;
- develop their oral communication of complex ideas and arguments using a range of media;
- have multicultural and global awareness;
- have the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues both internally and externally, building and maintaining relationships;
Course organiserDr Nicola Carse
Tel: (0131 6)51 6614
Course secretaryMiss Ellen Callender
Tel: (0131 6)51 6449
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