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Understanding Education: Global Perspectives

Module titleUnderstanding Education: Global Perspectives
Module codeEFPM003Z5
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Sharon Morgan (Convenor)

Dr Sarah Cole (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

It has become increasingly important for those working in the field of education to have a global understanding of current issues and debates in the field. This module will deepen your understanding of key educational issues and provide you with the opportunity to examine the implications of these for your own educational context.

This is core and therefore compulsory module for all students undertaking the MA Ed (online) programme and will be completed entirely via distance learning.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principal aim of this module is to enable you to develop a stronger theoretical understanding of current issues and debates in education in a global context. You will consider a variety of perspectives informed by research, theory, policy and practice and examine key questions such as:

  • What might be meant by ‘education’?
  • How do sociological and philosophical perspectives of education support or challenge our understandings of contemporary debates in education?
  • What are the big global questions, issues and debates concerning education?
  • In what ways do social forces influence educational processes and outcomes?

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate a critical understanding of what might be meant by ‘education’ in a variety of contexts
  • 2. critically evaluate different perspectives on the aims and purposes of education
  • 3. demonstrate a critical understanding of current global issues in education

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. consider the relationship between educational theory, research, policy and practice
  • 5. critically reflect upon and evaluate your own understanding of current issues and debates in education and those of others

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. synthesise and organise ideas to present an argument
  • 7. present ideas and engage in critical reflective debate
  • 8. undertake both directed and independent study to recognise, justify and analyse key ideas in the literature and relate these to research, theory, policy and practice

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover the following topics:

  • The nature, aims and purposes of education in a global context
  • A variety of disciplinary perspectives on education (e.g. philosophy/sociology)
  • Current global issues and debates in education
  • The relationship between educational theory, policy, practice and research

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities4812 x 4 hours per week of online seminars
Guided independent study48Preparatory work for taught seminars (including reading; research tasks; collaborative tasks)
Guided independent study104Completion of directed study tasks integral to the taught seminars
Guided independent study20Completion of formative assignment tasks
Guided independent study80Completion of summative assignment tasks


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment 600 words equivalent 1-2; 4-7Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment 402,000 words1-8Written and grade
Written Assignment 502,500 words1-8Written and grade
Engagement log10500 words8Written and grade


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment Written assignment (2,000 words)1-88 weeks
Written Assignment Written Assignment (2500 words)1-88 weeks
Engagement logCompletion and quality of engagement log (500 words)88 weeks


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Aldrich, R.  (2003) The three duties of the historian of education, History of Education, 32:2, 133-143, DOI: 10.1080/00467600304154
  • Aubrey, K., & Riley, A. (2020). Understanding and using challenging educational theories. Sage.Bailey, R. et al. (2010) The SAGE handbook of philosophy of education.  SAGE. 
  • Burton, D. M., & Bartlett, S. (2020). Introduction to education studies. Introduction to Education Studies, 1-464.Barrow, R. (2006) An introduction to philosophy of education. 4th edition. Routledge.   
  • Biesta, G. (2013) The beautiful risk of education. Taylor and Francis.
  • Culhane, L., & Bazeley, A. (2019). Gender stereotypes in early childhood: A literature review. The Fawcett Society.
  • Eales-Reynolds, Lesley-Jane (2013) Critical thinking skills for education students (electronic resource). London: Learning Matters. 
  • Furlong, J., and Lawn, M. (2011) Disciplines of Education: Their Role in the Future of Education Research. Routledge  Glowach, T., Mitchell, R., Bennett, T., Donaldson, L., Jefferson, J., Panford, L., ... & Hemmings, E. (2023). Making spaces for collaborative action and learning: Reflections on teacher?led decolonising initiatives from a professional learning network in England. The Curriculum Journal34(1), 100-117.
  • Gu, M. D. (2020). What is ‘decoloniality’? A postcolonial critique. Postcolonial Studies23(4), 596-600.
  • Haut, C.M., and Kerry, T., (2008) International Perspectives on Education. Bloomsbury.
  • Henriksen, D., Henderson, M., Creely, E., Ceretkova, S., ?ernochová, M., Sendova, E., ... & Tienken, C. H. (2018). Creativity and technology in education: An international perspective. Technology, Knowledge and Learning23, 409-424.
  • Matheson, C. (2004). Ideology in education in the United Kingdom. Chapter 2 in Matheson, D (ed). An introduction to the study of education. Second edition. David Fulton Publishers.  
  • Mills, C. W. (2000). The sociological imagination. Oxford University Press.
  • Marshall, J. D. (1995). Needs, Interests, Growth, and Personal Autonomy: Foucault on Power [E-book]. In W. Kohli (Ed.), Critical Conversations in Philosophy of Education (1st ed., pp. 364–378).
  • Murphy, L. et al (2009) Educational Ideologies. Chapter 3 in Murphy L, et al Education Studies: An introduction. Open University Press.  
  • O'Neill, E., & Lascano, M. P. (Eds.). (2019). Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women's Philosophical Thought. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Pring, R. (2005) Philosophy of education: aims, theory, common sense and research. Continuum. 
  • Rahman, K. (2013). Belonging and learning to belong in school: the implications of the hidden curriculum for indigenous students. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education34(5), 660-672.
  • Scholes, L., Spina, N., & Comber, B. (2021). Disrupting the'boys don't read'discourse: Primary school boys who love reading fiction. British Educational Research Journal47(1), 163-180.. 
  • Scholes, L., Spina, N., & Comber, B. (2021). Disrupting the'boys don't read'discourse: Primary school boys who love reading fiction. British Educational Research Journal47(1), 163-180.
  • Tate, N. (2015) What is education for? The view of the Great Thinkers and their relevance today. John Catt Educational Ltd.
  • Social Mobility Commission. (2022). State of the nation 2022: a fresh approach to social mobility.
  • Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2018). The gender-equality paradox in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Psychological science29(4), 581-593.
  • Winch, C. (2012) For philosophy of education in teacher education. Oxford Review of Education 38 (3), 305–322. 

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Education; Education studies; global issues in education; debates in education

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date