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ED50307: Curriculum studies

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Education
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Modular (no specific semester)
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit students will be able to do the following.
Understand the role of a curriculum in contributing to training and to education. Also some models of, and roles for, a curriculum.
Understand the purposes which are ascribed to some curricula and to be able to analyse these curricular in terms of their stated purposes and outcomes.
Understand changes in curricula in terms of changing political, economic, social and cultural factors.
Understand how knowledge of the learner needs to be accommodated in planning models.
Evaluate a curriculum in terms of learner needs and their abilities and to understand some principles of cognitive development and the constructivist view of learning and curriculum planning.
Understand the basic principles of learning theory, theories of instruction and the relationship between adopted teaching styles and recognised learning styles.
Understand the idea of the 'Hidden Curriculum' in terms of transmitted values, culture and traditions.
Understand the wider scope of a curriculum and the development of pastoral care and 'Personal and Social Education' in terms of the learner's social and cultural background and needs.
Understand functions of a curriculum within a society or a learning community and some of the relationships between ideology, forms of knowledge, ownership of knowledge and curriculum planning.
Understand the notions of equality of opportunity and equality of access to an education and some of the main factors which influence a learner's personal fulfilment. Inclusive education.
Understand the underlying principles of assessment and evaluation and their role in curriculum planning and development
Understand some important issues in curriculum implementation and change.

Aims: The unit encourages you to examine the main factors which have shaped the curriculum as it is normally recognised in schools today, to understand how we came to have such curricular; how they operate; whether they do that which they are intended to do; the forces which shape them and how they may be made to change.
The eight sessions consider some fundamental principles and perspectives and adopt a reflective and analytical approach in re-examining the elements which have shaped (and still shape), curriculum content, organisation and management. A Tyler model is taken as a starting point in considering those aspects which impinge on curriculum organisation but such models are examined critically against the contemporary experience and needs of course members.
The curriculum is explored against a background of modern international contexts where the role of schools, education and the expectation and needs of societies may vary. The content of a curriculum is considered as both a vehicle which contributes to an educational process and also that which meets cultural and economic needs. Alternative perspectives are taken in constructing a curriculum models, for example those where personal autonomy or vocational skills were the over-riding aims.
Factors relevant to the individual requirements of learners and their learning processes are analysed in terms of their cognitive development, cultural background, gender and personality, particularly as they affect access to a curriculum and the developmental opportunities which it offers. Learning theory and cognitive development are developed as a means to understanding how the objectives of a curriculum may be translated into learning experiences.

Skills: Critical understanding of theory on the relationship between curriculum design and student learning (T/F/A)
Develop knowledge of methods used for analysing curricula (T/F/A)
Critical understanding of the historical and institutional contexts of curriculum initiatives (T/F/A)
Participate effectively in groups (F)
Present ideas effectively orally (F)
Structure and communicate ideas effectively in writing (A)
Key Skills
1. Make critical use of the literature of the field of Education (T/F/A).
2. Make critical use of professional experience in the field of Education (T/F/A).
4. Analyse, interpret and critique findings and arguments (T/F/A).
6. Draw appropriate conclusions from and education research study, taking account of its strengths and limitations (T/F).
9. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems (T/F).
10. Evaluate research and variety of types of information and evidence critically, also making informed judgements in the absence of complete data (T/F/A)
12. Contribute to professional debate in the field of education (F).
13. Act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level (F).
14. Communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences (T/F).
15. Evaluate their own academic and professional performance (T/F/A).
16. Manage change effectively and respond to changing demands (F).
17. Manage time, prioritise workloads and recognise and manage personal emotions and stress (F).
18. Develop new or higher level skill, for example in information technology (T/F/A).

Content: Copies of the working papers will be distributed at the start of each session and provide a summary of the content for that session along with recommended reading. The papers form the focus for group discussion and any additional tutor input; they also guide workshop activities and small group work. The working papers are designed to enable course members to develop each area of content from their own perspective and for their own professional circumstances. They are intended to provide 'starting points' for the analysis of a wide range of contemporary curriculum issues from a fundamental, historical, social and philosophical perspective. As such this provides introductions to aspects which are dealt with more specifically in other Units.

Programme availability:

ED50307 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Education

ED50307 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Education


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
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