Educational Theory & Practice - EDU00046I

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lynda Dunlop
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module aims to explore the link between educational research and practice by developing students’ understanding of educational theory, contemporary research and setting-based practice, drawing on research expertise in the department, e.g. in science, English, maths and philosophy education.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

Educational research has an increasing role in informing practice in a range of contexts including schools, libraries, tertiary education settings, environment centres, museums and theatres. This module aims to explore the link between educational research and practice by developing students’ understanding of educational theory, contemporary research and setting-based practice, drawing on research expertise in the department, e.g. in science, English, maths and philosophy education. The module aims to develop students as education professionals who can apply research to practice.

 

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • critically evaluate theories of learning and development and their implications for practice

  • design research-informed educational experiences/activities/episodes

  • reflect on their own professional/personal development and educational practice

Academic and graduate skills

  • Formulate academic arguments in written and oral form

  • Work professionally with external organisations

  • Present ideas to an informed audience

  • Be able to work effectively with others in a group and meet obligations to group members, tutors, and education practitioners

  • Analyse and critically evaluate research and its relationship to educational practice

  • Use the VLE and Internet effectively

 

Module content

Module Content:

The module will consist of

  • weekly lectures on educational theory

  • weekly reflections on practice

  • two educational practices in an educational context (one in Autumn term and one in Spring term, each lasting 5 days, to which students will be assigned). These may include early years settings, schools, the art gallery, museums, libraries, clubs/societies, charities and voluntary organisations. 2-4 students will be allocated to each setting, but all work submitted for assessment will be individual. The focus of the first practice will be to observe and understand the context, and to draw connections with theory and contemporary educational research. The second practice will require students to implement and evaluate a learning episode of their own design (in consultation with the setting), specific to the context, subject and audience.

 

 

This module has a maximum capacity of 20 students. Where the module is over-subscribed, students will be required to write a letter of application in which they reflect on their professional conduct during stage 1 of the programme (e.g. reliability and contributions), and their expectations of a professional education environment.

 

 

Students will be required to agree to high standards of professionalism when representing the university in an external setting.

 

 

The outline below indicates the likely weekly themes for the module, although specific details are subject to change. You will be encouraged to critically reflect on practice and research to examine each theme and you will be expected to keep a record of the work you do in practice settings and in preparation for class.

 

 

Autumn Term

 

 

Week 2 Ethics and professionalism in practice

 

This week will introduce the module and explain how it integrates theory and practice. Educational practitioners must present themselves professionally to a range of audiences: colleagues, visitors/children/service users/parents, and the wider community. We will examine what is meant by professionalism in educational settings. In particular, we will look at case studies of ethical decision making in educational settings, and use discussion to examine what professionalism means in practice.

 

Week 3 What is the purpose of education?

 

The focus this week will be to examine the range of outcomes and experiences that educators may have reason to value. We will look at the relationship between purpose and practice, highlighting different approaches to education and evaluation, the philosophical underpinnings of these and their appropriateness to different settings.

 

Week 4 Understanding free choice educational settings

 

This week we will focus on understanding educational settings, in particular how to observe and question in practice settings and how these relate to the outcomes identified in week 3. We will consider this from the perspective of the educator, the educatee and the educational environment. We will look at approaches to and instruments for observing and understanding behaviour in educational settings such as museums, galleries and schools.

 

Week 5 Microteaching

 

You will put your learning into practice this week, by participating in a microteaching episode. This will be an important opportunity to gain feedback on your educational practice from an audience of your peers and the tutor.

 

Week 6 What do educators need to know about learning?

 

Learning is a key outcome in many educational settings. This week we will address what educators need to know about learning, drawing on contemporary research into how learning works and linking this to theoretical frameworks such as behaviourism, cognitive constructivism, Gestalt theory, social constructivism, and communities of practice.

 

Week 7 Reflection in action

 

The theme for this week is reflective practice, in particular the process, purpose, content, pre-conditions and products of reflection, and how it relates to educational practice. You will gain practice in reflective writing.

 

Week 8 Seeking and using feedback

 

Feedback is an important part of teaching and learning, and of educational practice more broadly. This week will focus on different ways of seeking and using feedback, and what research says about the conditions under which feedback supports students’ learning.

 

Weeks 9 & 10 Education in different settings (student presentations)

 

This week you will share what you have learnt during your first practice experience on the module. You will relate your observations of practice to research literature relating to one focus area, and explain how this connects to class sessions. Feedback provided in these sessions should be used to inform the assessment due in week 1 of Spring term.

 

Spring term

 

 

Week 2

 

Theories of planning (1)

During the first term of this module, you will have observed, participated in and reflected on practice in educational settings. This week you will focus on using your understanding gained from experience in a setting, and the research you have been reviewing over the term, to identify a focus for your practice in term 2. It will address the theory of planning, which will include SMART targets, goal setting, time planning, short/medium/ long term goals and examples of teaching plans.

Literacy focus; planning learning activities, choose or design your resources

This session will focus on the theory and practice of instructional design. We will be using a short story as the focus for designing for activities with a literacy focus. You will use this session to inform your planning for practice and the summative assessment. Questions to consider in this session will be: How am I going to do this – activity/stimulus/task planning

Preparation for session (2) on literacy will be to search for a literacy resource online that focuses on teaching a short story (KS2 or KS3).

 

Week 3

Theories of planning (2)

Using the outcomes from Cumulative Task 1, students will apply the theory of planning to their own experience, in their settings. Students will Identify objectives, using the aims of module, personal objectives, goals for the future short/medium/long term

Instructional design of educational resources –Literacy focus (2)

Using the literacy resource search as a source of material, we will analyse the resource for what it tells us about the instructional design inferred by the resources. The focus for this session will be looking at planning for different forms of group work and the use of differentiation

 

Week 4

 

Instructional design & Design features of educational resources - Science focus

This week the focus will be on the theory and practice of instructional design with a focus on Science. You will use this session to inform your practice in spring term. We will also focus on the design features that educators must pay attention to. The relationship between design and approach to communication (e.g. transmissive, narrative or interpretive) will be explored using examples from practice

Using talk in teaching workshop

Talk – how do we get children to talk? Different levels of talk? How do we design tasks to incorporate talk? Different levels of questioning and cognitive domains. Looking at transcripts.

 

Week 5

Instructional design & design features of educational resources - Science focus

This week the focus will be on the theory and practice of instructional design with a ocus on Science. We will focus on the design features that educators must pay attention to. The relationship between design and approach to communication (e.g. transmissive, narrative or interpretive) will be explored using examples from practice

Using talk in teaching workshop

Talk – how do we get children to talk? Different levels of talk? How do we design tasks to incorporate talk? Different levels of questioning and cognitive domains. Analysis of data collected – what does this tell us about use of talk, questioning and feedback in the classroom?

 

Week 6

Evaluation in Education

This week’s sessions focus on the evaluation of educational experiences, and will ask what (and to what extent) it makes sense to evaluate education, and the role this plays in informing practice. This session will make reference to our task setting sessions

Assessment in educational contexts

This session will look at the nature and purposes of assessment in educational settings

 

Week 7 Myths, fads and evidence in education

This week will focus on trends in educational practice and how they relate to evidence on their use and effectiveness. For example learning styles, brain gym and growth mindsets have seen popularity in schools and other educational settings, but why did/do educators use these, and what is the evidence that they improve learning for young people?

 

Week 8 Field trip –Castle Howard

You will have developed an in-depth understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in one educational setting. This week, we will take our understanding into the field to a shared educational experience, and will reflect on how research has informed practice in this setting.

 

Weeks 9 & 10 Student presentations (conference style)

I hour debrief field trip

3 hours presentations

You will present your plan and rationale to peers and tutors this week, and will be given feedback on design, use of research, quality of explanation and reflection, and on progression in your presentation skills.

 

Summer Term

 

 

Weeks 1 – 3 Collaborative working: emergent issues in educational practice

 

The final unit of the module will focus on the collaboration and problem solving. You will be asked to work in a group with others to provide research-informed solutions to contemporary or emergent problems in educational practice.

 

Week 4 Preparing for professional practice

This week will review the progress you have made on the module. We will also focus on how you will communicate your experience of educational theory and practice to future employers or education providers.

 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
2500 Word Research Synthesis
N/A 40
Essay/coursework
3000 Word Evaluation of Practice
N/A 50
Essay/coursework
Cumulative Weekly Assessment
N/A 10

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Research synthesis. How does research inform educational practice? (40% of final module mark)

At the start of the Spring term, you will submit an report of 2500 words (excluding references), synthesising the research literature on a selected theme. You will decide on the theme in consultation with your practice setting, but it may relate to a contemporary issue in educational practice, e.g. assessment in schools or widening participation in non-formal settings. You will be expected to use one or more theories of learning as a lens through which you understand the theme, and to present this professionally. This will be marked using the undergraduate marking criteria found in the handbook. The presentation that you will give to your peers and tutor(s) at the end of the Autumn term is intended to provide the opportunity to gain feedback on your ideas to help you prepare the essay.

You will receive formative feedback in a range of ways in this module, including through micro-teaching and presentations, face to face discussions in practice settings and written contributions (e.g. on planning documents and VLE contributions).

 

Evaluation of practice (50% of final module mark)

 

In the Summer term, you will submit a reflective evaluation of educational practice that you have been involved in during the module. This piece of work requires you to critically reflect on your own practice and the impact it has on others. You may wish to collect feedback from staff or others in your setting, or you may focus on your own reflections. This will be marked using the undergraduate marking criteria found in the handbook. The formative plan and rationale that you will submit in Spring term is designed to help you think about your practice, including what you aim to achieve (e.g. awareness raising, student learning, improved attitudes) and how you intend to go about achieving this aim.

 

The cumulative assessment (10% of module mark) will consist of a series of tasks based on the content of classes and on your practice settings: it is not a single assessment, but rather the assessment of work you will do on a weekly basis, either in preparation for class or in response to a class session. The purpose of these tasks is to promote critical reflection and engagement with course material on an ongoing basis. These will be set weekly, with a typical requirement for 500 words where the task is to be written (although this will vary). You can expect to refer to research literature (e.g. through your use of references to reading assigned during the module) and to practice. You will receive feedback and a mark on each piece of work you submit. At the end of Autumn term and Summer term, the 4 pieces of work receiving the highest grades will be used to determine your final grade (i.e. 8 pieces of work in total).

 

 

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
2500 Word Literature Review
N/A 40
Essay/coursework
3000 Word Plan and Rationale
N/A 60

Module feedback

Written feedback on assignment report sheet and face-to-face feedback in supervisions.The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Key texts:

 

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.

Anderson, J. R., Reder, L.M. & Simon, H.A. (1996). Situated Learning and Education. Educational Researcher, 25, 5-11

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning. London: Routledge.

Hooper-Greenhill, E. (1999) The Educational Role of the Museum (2nd ed.) New York: Routledge

Lloyd, R., Neilson, R., King, S & Dyball, M. (2012) Review of Informal Science Learning. London: The Wellcome Trust.

Nutbrown C. (2006) Key Concepts in Early Childhood Education & Care. SAGE

Turner, D.A. (2007). Theory and Practice of Education. London: Continuum

What works network (2014). What works? Evidence for decision makers https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/378038/What_works_evidence_for_decision_makers.pdf

 

A range of journal articles e.g. Anderson, J. R., Reder, L.M. & Simon, H.A. (1996). Situated Learning and Education. Educational Researcher, 25, 5-11

 

 

 

 



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.