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Unit information: Theories of Learning and Teaching in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Theories of Learning and Teaching
Unit code EDUCM0056
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Lythgoe
Open unit status Not open


  • Creating inclusive learning environments: the role of the teacher
  • Special Educational Needs
  • The teacher as leader
  • Becoming a reflective practitioner (Reflective Journal/RJA);
School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit builds upon previous work on the theory of teaching, learning and research in their own main subject specialism in a practice-based setting, by concentrating on the application of theory to real classroom situations.

It supports participants in developing the skills they need to become effective practitioners and to make informed decisions about their teaching. It introduces them to examples of good practice and to recent research in relevant topics. It is taught through university-based sessions with colleagues in the same subject and school-based sessions in which they work on the skills they are developing with experienced practitioners. Subject-based work models good practice and introduces students to a range of research-based perspectives which enable them to make decisions about what constitutes effective teaching and learning, as well as their own professional identities. It encourages them to explore various teaching styles and evaluate their possibilities through systematic evaluation of personal experiences of planning, conducting and assessing pupil learning, with reference to a range of literature.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify the theories and models relevant to their own subject, and critically evaluate their effectiveness in a real classroom situation, with reference to the literature.
  • Develop a sound research and evidence based approach to their professional practice.
  • Use research and other professional literature critically and analytically, to inform their development as teachers.
  • Use their subject knowledge effectively to underpin their teaching.
  • Create effective learning resources that promote pupil progress.
  • Present well-structured accounts of their learning within their subject.
  • Advance their skills in setting objectives systematically, planning learning and delivering teaching as autonomous professionals.

Teaching Information

Teaching will take a variety of stimulating formats, including, inter alia, seminars, lectures, workshops, laboratory sessions, practical classroom experience of teaching, personal tuition with university- and school-based staff, and private and group study. Much of this study takes place during the school placement, and this experience provides an essential source of reflection and stimulation for the learning activities.

Assessment Information

Participants will carry out a range of formative activities which will provide feedback on the key issues addressed by this unit.

They will then complete a summative assessment task, drawing on their experiences. This will include documentation of planning, teaching and evaluation activities to illustrate their skills in a chosen topic. The task will be the equivalent of a 5,000 word assignment, but will take a variety of formats according to the varying needs of different subjects. In this assignment there is a strong emphasis on the link between theory and practice. Participants must identify further reading that develops their thinking around the subject of planning and teaching and learning theory.

Participants will also be required to achieve a satisfactory standard in their practical teaching. This will be assessed through observations by tutors during the school placement.

Reading and References

Claxton, G. (2002) Building Learning Power: Helping Young People Become Better Learners. Bristol: TLO.

Gardner J (2012) (Ed) Assessment and Learning, 2nd Edition. London: SAGE. (available as an e-book)

Hammersley, M. (1990) Classroom ethnography, empirical and methodological essays Milton Keynes, Open University Press

Howard-Jones, P. (2010) Introducing Neuroeducational Research: Neuroscience, education and the brain from contexts to practice. London: Routledge. (available as an e-book)

Mercer, N. & Hodgkinson, S. (Eds.) (2008) Exploring Talk in School. London: Sage.

Due to the focus on subject pedagogy in this unit, most recommended texts are subject-specific, a sample of which are offered as an appendix to this unit description. All texts are available via the Education Library.