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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Education

EDUC3331: Understanding the Arts in Education

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to some of the major theories about the nature and purpose of the arts
  • To introduce students to foundational ideas informing arts education today
  • To help students develop a personal perspective on the purpose and value of the arts in education


  • In Understanding the Arts in Education, we explore some of the major theories about the arts (visual arts, dance, drama, music, film and photography). We consider how we evaluate the arts and develop pupils’ artistic abilities; the role of creativity in education; how we should communicate ideas about the arts and develop pupils’ artistic ability, and what kind of knowledge is developed through arts education. We begin by looking at foundational theories about the arts, placing them in their historical context and considering their resonance today. Next, we explore how the arts are used in school, prison and therapeutic settings. Finally, we examine the use of arts in qualitative research, and consider the value of the arts as a mode of enquiry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of the ways in which theorists have influenced our understanding of the arts and their place in education.
  • Critical awareness of the influence and significance of social, historical and cultural contexts in the construction of ideas about the arts.
  • The ability to select a range of relevant primary and secondary sources, including theoretical and research-based evidence to extend your knowledge and understanding of education policy.
  • Critical understanding of the value of the arts as a mode of enquiry.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to begin to critically analyse arts and educational concepts, theories and issues in a systematic way.
  • The ability to begin to use your knowledge and understanding to critically locate and justify a personal position in relation to arts education policy development.
Key Skills:
  • The ability to begin to organise and articulate opinions and arguments critically in speech and writing using relevant specialist vocabulary.
  • The ability to begin to process and synthesise empirical and theoretical data critically, to create new syntheses and to present and justify a chosen position having drawn on relevant theoretical perspectives.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures and seminars

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2000 words 40% No
Essay 2 3000 words 60% No

Formative Assessment:

Essay plan and proposed reference list for first summative essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

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