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

Postgraduate Course: Ethics, Education and Films (EDUA11414)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education and Sport CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAt some stage in their lives most people think about ethical issues such as what might make an action right or wrong, whether moral values are relative to individuals and cultures or universally binding and whether human existence has purpose and meaning. Such ethical questions often lead to educational ones. Questions such as: what is the nature of moral life and what is the place of education in moral life? This course explores various responses to these and other ethical and educational questions by introducing students to some influential literature on normative ethics and education alongside the viewing and discussion of some of the best of world cinema. Each week students on this course will watch a film and engage with a reading paired with that film.
Course description Students on this course will explore a range of ethical issues and challenges in education and they will consider the possibilities that film has as a medium for ethical education.
Through watching films with educational and ethical themes and engaging with a range of classical and contemporary literature on ethics, education and films this course invites students to consider some key ethical and educational questions such as:
What place might education have in the good life? What might it mean to be a good teacher and how do films depict good teaching? Is there even such a thing as the good life and good teaching?
Can films be ethically educative for spectators? If so, how and to what extent? What can films teach about immoralism? How ethically formative are the stories children are told?
Can rules and human freedom co-exist in education?
If characters in film can be role models, what responsibilities do parents and educators have to protect children (who may lack full moral agency and/or rights) from films that depict ethically challenging content such as on-screen violence and cruelty?
What can remarriage comedies tell us about education and the pursuit of happiness?
How should educators and educational institutions respond to the environmental crisis and climate change? What role might film play in education for sustainability?
What sacrifices are morally justified in pursuit of artistic or academic excellence?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Online Activities 10, Other Study Hours 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 151 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study Hours required for film viewings
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The assessment tasks for this course are:
(i) Structured Essay Plan (20% weighting): A 500 word structured essay plan (excluding references), that analyses the ethical and educational issues in a film or discusses the strengths and limitations of film as a medium for ethical education.
(ii) Essay (80% weighting): A 2500 word essay (excluding references) on a topic connecting to course themes.
Feedback There are four main ways in which students will get feedback on this course.
1. Students will be provided with written summative feedback for the essay plan task. For this task they will also receive written formative feedforward advice for the final essay.
2. Students will receive summative written feedback for the final essay task as well as written feedback about how to improve future work.
3. Students will receive ongoing verbal feedback in the seminars
4. Students will have opportunity to ask questions and give and receive verbal feedback on the student presentations delivered in class

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. write philosophically about core ethical issues and challenges in education
  2. articulate how film can be a medium for aesthetic and moral education
  3. critically relate literature on education and ethics to films
  4. analyse the nature of the good life and the place of education in the good life
  5. think critically about depictions of education, teaching and learning in cinema
Reading List
Beauvoir, Simone de (1976) The Ethics of Ambiguity, London: Kensington Publishing Group.

Cavell, Stanley (1985). Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. London: Harvard University Press.

Clark, Maudemarie (2015). Nietzsche on Ethics and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Driver, Julia (2007). Ethics: the fundamentals. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

MacAllister, James (2019). Embracing the Serpent: Education for Ecosophy and Aesthetic appreciation, in WHY SCIENCE AND ARTS CREATIVITIES MATTER: STEAM (Re-)Configurings for Future-making Education edited by Colluci-Gray, Laura and Burnard, Pamela. Forthcoming: Brill-Sense.

Shaw, Daniel, (2012). Morality and the movies: Reading Ethics through film. London: Continumm.

Wartenberg, Thomas (2007). Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research, critical analysis, argumentation skills (both written and oral). Critical reading skills.
KeywordsEthics,Education,Films,Cinematic-ethics,Philosophy of Education.,'good' teaching
Course organiserDr James MacAllister
Tel: (0131 6)51 6631
Course secretaryMr Craig Russell
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