Social Justice & Education - EDU00069M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Ian Davies
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module is designed to introduce students to key aspects and perspectives about social justice and education. This involves exploring general philosophical perspectives about the nature of education and social justice (exploring the purposes of education in relation to such theoretical perspectives as human capital theory, liberation theory etc.); overarching conceptual considerations to do with social justice in educational contexts (e.g. achieved by exploring educational issues through the lens of inclusion, equality, diversity); the contributions made to debates about social justice in education by empirical researchers; achievement and attainment in a variety of contexts (reflections of who gets what from education); the issues associated with the pedagogical approaches proposed by advocates of social justice in education.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module is designed to introduce students to key aspects and perspectives about social justice and education. This involves exploring general philosophical perspectives about the nature of education and social justice (exploring the purposes of education in relation to such theoretical perspectives as human capital theory, liberation theory etc.); overarching conceptual considerations to do with social justice in educational contexts (e.g. achieved by exploring educational issues through the lens of inclusion, equality, diversity); the contributions made to debates about social justice in education by empirical researchers; achievement and attainment in a variety of contexts (reflections of who gets what from education); the issues associated with the pedagogical approaches proposed by advocates of social justice in education.

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content

Students will understand areas of and perspectives about social justice in education. This will involve philosophical, policy-related, curricular and pedagogical issues as well as considering the nature and findings associated with relevant empirical research.


Academic and Graduate Skills

  • Ability to understand key ideas;
  • Ability to analyse and evaluate key ideas and issues emerging from debates about philosophical, policy, research and professional initiatives.
  • Ability to demonstrate competence associated with these understandings and skills orally and in writing.

Module content

Module Structure (Seminar by Seminar ):

Seminar 1 - An introduction to key ideas.

The nature and purpose of the module will be explained (including assessment requirements).

Seminar 2 - Key theoretical perspectives: social justice, liberation and development theories.

This is the first of 2 seminars in which we will explore the philosophical underpinning of social justice and education. We with look at key theoretical perspectives including critical pedagogy and transformative learning, and we will consider approaches such as development education, peace education and education for global citizenship. We will discuss ideas of education as liberating and radical and the possibility of education being neutral.

Seminar 3 - Key theoretical perspectives: social justice, economics and human capital theory.  

In this second of the seminars that explores key philosophical ideas and issues we will analyse what appears, perhaps superficially, to be less political and more focused on the achievement of prosperity than the ideas explored in the previous week. The nature of the contribution education may make to the wealth and well-being of individuals and societies will be discussed.

Seminar 4 - Key concepts: social justice, inclusion, diversity and equality.

In this seminar we will explore matters that are as philosophically complex as those analysed in the previous 2 weeks. We have characterized these matters slightly differently, however, as they perhaps relate more concretely to professional and other practice. We will explore the perspectives associated with the concepts of inclusion, diversity and equality and begin to consider what these may mean for education.

Seminar 5 - Social justice and empirical education research.

In this seminar we will describe and analyse research and social justice. We will identify what has been done and what could - and perhaps what should – be done in the future. We will consider the nature of the relationship between social justice research and the achievement of social justice in education.

Seminar 6 - Social justice and patterns of educational achievement and attainment.

 We will discuss the nature of differential achievement and attainment and relate these patterns to ideas that have been explored in previous weeks. Who gets what in education and is that fair?

Seminar 7 - Teaching, learning, assessing and activism.

What should teachers and learners do in relation to social justice and education? What are the boundaries between education and activism? In this practically focused seminar we will explore key practices that may – or may not – be perceived as bridging the gap between understanding and achieving social justice.

Seminar 8 - New approaches to teaching and learning for social justice.

In this seminar we will explore new developments in teaching, learning and assessing. We will focus principally on the potential of social media for developing learning that is appropriate for social justice education.

Seminar 9 - Overview and conclusions.

This session will pull together the threads of the issues that have been raised during the term. What is social justice? What do we think about attempts to research the key ideas and practices of social justice education? How should we attempt to teach and learn and assess in light of this research?

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback in a range of ways throughout this module. This will include oral feedback in class, responses to posts on the VLE discussion board and written comments on work. You will have the chance to obtain feedback on your writing during the module, and you will have a short one-to-one meeting with a module tutor to discuss assessments.

You will be provided physical written feedback on assignment report sheets as well as them being readily available on the VLE. 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

Adams, M. et al (eds.) (2013). Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. London, Routledge.

Ayers, W., Quinn, T., Stovall, D. (2009) Handbook of social justice in education. London, Routledge.

Peterson, A., Hattam, R., Zembylas, M., Arthur, J. (2016). The Palgrave International Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Social Justice. London, Palgrave.

Sandel, M. (2010). Justice: what’s the right thing to do? London, Penguin.

Smith, E., (2012), Key Issues in Education and Social Justice, London: Sage.



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.