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Unit information: Debates in Psychology of Education in 2021/22

Unit name Debates in Psychology of Education
Unit code EDUC10004
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Carolina Gordillo Bravo
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

What is normal? Do we have free will? Should boys and girls be educated separately? Is formal or informal education more important?

For decades, psychologists and educationalists have continued to debate a number of controversial yet important issues. Understanding different perspectives on these hotly contested issues is of vital importance because it is these differing perspectives that contributes to our interpretations of human behaviour and to the policy and practice decisions that we make.

This unit aims to provide students with an overview of some of the contemporary and classical debates in psychology and education, and develop their ability to engage with different perspectives on complex issues, weigh evidence, and construct their own arguments. Each week students will engage with a current issue in psychology and education, encountering the range of ways in which problems can be viewed, and the philosophies and stances that lie behind those viewpoints.

Topics may include: ethical issues in research in psychology in education; nature/nurture; mind/body; free will/determinism; what is normal; home-school relations; class size; intelligence testing; the potential for full inclusion in mainstream education; gender segregated schooling; and formal vs informal education.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit students will demonstrate that they can:

  1. demonstrate a good understanding of ethical issues in Psychology in Education;
  2. describe different perspectives in contemporary debates in Psychology in Education;
  3. identify assumptions of different arguments in contemporary debates in Psychology in Education;
  4. present and respond to different arguments in contemporary debates in Psychology in Education;
  5. evaluate different arguments and assess how different perspectives on a topic relate to each other.

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended online approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions.

Assessment Information

ILO 1-4, Class debate (40%)

Students will be asked to submit an individual summary (1,000 words equivalent) highlighting their key points for the class debate.

ILO 1-5, Essay (60%) Students will complete a 2,000 word essay outlining and evaluating the key arguments of a contemporary debate in psychology and education.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUC10004).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.