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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

EDUC3341: The Social Life of 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 educational research derived from ethnography and anthropology
  • To introduce students to a discourse of educational research that contrasts with research derived from psychological and positivist traditions
  • To introduce students to educational research that explores education and training in a variety of informal and international contexts


  • Social constructivism, socio-cultural and social models of learning.
  • Apprenticeship models of learning; informal models of learning.
  • Learning across contexts: Everyday mathematics – the Adult Math Project in the USA in the 1980s; Everyday reading and writing – literacy learning in Iran in the 1970s and in North-West England in the 1990s; Everyday work – tailors in Liberia in the 1970s, and call centre workers in the USA in the 1990s; Everyday play – learning from and with video games, online spaces and social networks in the 2000s

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of learning across context in education
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of social practice in education
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of contextual research in education
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Discuss and critique social practice models of learning
  • Synthesise elements of different social practice models of learning and account for the relationships between these
  • Critique the empirical and methodological foundations of social practice accounts of learning
Key Skills:
  • Acquire and evaluate complex information of diverse kinds in a systematic manner
  • Construct a sustained argument
  • Use a range of printed and online resources

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

  • Students will be introduced to the theoretical foundations of the module and the empirical studies outlined through a combination of lectures and guided reading
  • Students will extend their knowledge and understanding through seminars, all focussed on specific reading tasks, introduced through student-led formative presentations.
  • Formative assessment throughout the module will allow for developmental as well as diagnostic feedback/feedforward
  • Students will be summatively assessed at the end of the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 2 hours 20
Preparation 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words 50% No
Essay 2000 words 50% 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

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

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