Finding love and the ‘right’ partner to live with is a major life-course event and one of the biggest challenges we face as adults. So too is becoming a parent. Yet, Western countries are struggling; we have high rates of relationship breakdown and this is a worry for policy makers and for wider society. Does this mean we are no longer capable of making commitments to one another? Are our relationships more disposable; do we drop or swap partners when we feel they are no longer of any use to us? Or is it that the traditional expectations of the past are being remodelled as people are finding new and perhaps more creative ways of 'doing' family and being in families. This module explores theses changes in our most intimate of relationships and how family policy both responds and also supports mothers and fathers to work and care for their children. These key topics of partnering and parenting are relevant to all our lives.
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The module aims to help students address some important questions about changes in contemporary intimate and family relationships. Western societies’ emphasize love and intimacy as the best foundations for creating strong personal relationships, for having children and for building new families. The belief is that ‘stable families’ are best for our personal happiness, for children’s well-being and beneficial for the rest of society too. ‘Stable’ happy families are also what policy makers wish for. Yet, statistical evidence shows that family structures and relationships are fluid: there are high rates of family dissolution and cohabitation and relatively low rates of marriage. What does this all mean for families, family policy and the state and for wider society?
This module will help students interrogate these social changes in depth, applying a range of sociological theories to critique the current debates and family policy responses. Students will also evaluate policies that support parents to work and care and consider the role of family policy in breaking down the barriers to gender equality in families with dependent children. It will help students to:
By the end of the module students should be able to:
This module will explore the changing nature of ‘the family’ and the challenges this poses for all of us with regards to forming intimate relationships and for the state in supporting family life. It focuses solely on families with dependent children. Using a mixture of lectures, workshops, and seminar debates it will explore:
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Formative work is embedded in two main ways:
In week 6 students will chose a topic for the student conference presentation and will have submitted a plan to the tutor. They will receive individual face to face feedback provided in weeks 7 and 8. The conference topic should also be related to their assessment question.
In week 8 students should submit a draft of their essay question which they have constructed themselves (with support from the tutor). Alongside the question, they should provide an essay plan (approx 500-750 words). They will receive individual face to face feedback provided in weeks 9 and 10.
All the formative work is designed to support students' skill development and to become independent learners by taking responsibility for their own assessments. Students are supported to exercise their creativity to produce their own conference presentation topic and to design their own assessment question. The formative work is also designed to help students test out their understanding before they complete the taught elements of the course. In addition each formative element builds on the other so that students can deepen their learning by the end of the module. In creating their own assessment question, it also provides the opportunity for students to apply what they have learned from other parts of the programme. Throughout this process, students are supported in one to one sessions in the classroom with the tutor.
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Also see additional assessment section below for this module.
Feedback is provided throughout the weekly seminars and in one to one discussions between the tutor and the students about creating their own summative assessment question.
Face to face feedback is provided on their conference presentation plans in weeks 7 and 8.
Face to face individual feedback is provided on students assessment question and essay plan in weeks 9 and 10.
Feedback on the submitted summative assessment is provided 5 weeks after submission using a marking matrix.