Philosophers in the School of Education supervise postgraduate researchers working on a range of philosophical issues in education.
They also teach three undergraduate modules on the BA Education programme:
Year 1: Philosophy of Education
This module offers a basic grounding in the discipline of philosophy of education. Philosophers of education are interested in the conceptual and normative questions raised by educational policy and practice. Conceptual questions have to do with the meanings of words: what exactly does it mean to describe an activity as teaching, or to say that something has been learned, or to accuse someone of indoctrination? Normative questions have to do with what should or should not be done: should we allow faith schools to teach religious beliefs as if they were true, or wealthy parents to send their children to elite private schools? What should go on the school curriculum and why? The module explores some of the answers philosophers have given to questions of these kinds and how they have tried to justify them.
Year 2: Ethics in Education
This module explores ethical theories and their application to contemporary issues in education. Moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that is interested in what may be judged to be good or bad, right or wrong, and why. Moral philosophers are interested in questions to do with the ‘good life’, including the right way to act and how to organise society. Moral education, whether formal or informal, influences individuals and is crucial to a well-functioning society. At a time of global technological connection, the role for schools in learning and teaching must be considered in light of contemporary ethical challenges relating to media, technology and globalisation. This module will investigate the role for educational institutions in teaching and/or enforcing moral rules and cultivating values in order to shape certain kinds of citizens. Philosophical theories and concepts will be applied to contemporary ethical issues in education.
Year 3: Children as Citizens
This module examines the development of citizenship in young people, both as a concept and as a curriculum subject. As a concept citizenship is closely related to ideas about values, democracy and human rights. However, democratic systems take many forms and the early part of the module considers the strengths and weaknesses of democratic systems. The status of children, particularly in the UK, will also be considered. Students will also develop their knowledge of the citizenship curriculum and its place in schools. They will examine philosophical issues relating to the purposes of education and pedagogical issues relating to classroom conflict and the relationship between religious faith and citizenship.
Further information about the BA Education programme