EDUC42980 History of Childhood&Learning

Academic Year 2023/2024

One of the most rapidly-growing areas in research is the history of childhood. Much of childhood includes the experience of formal and informal learning. This module draws on some of the best sources and writings, and examines how children experienced education and learning in the past. Additionally, the module looks at other aspects of the history of learning, including where it was delivered, and how. The module therefore helps participants to develop an understanding of our education past, and its impact on the present. The module is a Core module within the MA (Mentoring, Leading and Global Learning).

PLEASE NOTE: The module does not run every year, and will next run in the academic year 2023-2024, as an online module.

The module uses a multi-media and multi-source teaching methodology, and students will look at film, photographic collections, archival sources, document collections, literature and secondary sources (academic books and articles), to develop their understanding of how children engaged with learning in many contexts, between the 18th and 20th centuries.

childhood and the school: school buildings, classrooms, and learning contexts
children's voices: finding children's voices in historical documents
childhood mental health: understanding discourses from the past
the physical diseases of childhood in the context of schools
the materiality of education
schooling, image and film
pupils and teachers: relationships and influences
how children learned during periods of crisis

The module provides a fascinating and important backdrop to the study of education, and the study of childhood

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

- undertake research that draws on the history of childhood and education, and use this to provide context for
thesis/project work on contemporary issues.

- critically evaluate sources that provide information on the experience of education and the experience of childhood

- use library, archival and multi-media sources in research on the theme of education and/or childhood

- find and interrogate materials on childhood and our education past

- use fieldwork research to develop a compelling analysis of childhood in the past

- be able to research and write about the relationship between children and teachers, drawing on primary source

Indicative Module Content:

Module participants will read and discuss materials on themes including:

Understanding childhood in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Constructions of childhood in art, literature and film
Parents, children and teachers: changing relationships
Children and formal learning; types of schooling
Punishing children: what was it, who did it?
What is school anyway? Types of learning, places used for learning
Constructions of childhood: using sources
Images of children and their schooling: appraising and analysing sources

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)


Field Trip/External Visits


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module embraces the use of texts, primary sources (such as archival documents), images, film, podcasts, novels and Art.
The approaches reflect a creative pedagogy and an interest in learning design that draws on a range of sources and ways of working, and may include some of the following:
Discussion and debate in groups and pairs, including thematic debates on issues that arise
Independent reading and writing
Films, documentaries and podcasts
Online learning activities 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: There is an essay-style assignment at the end of the module, which draws on module content and/or field trip research. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Presentation: The student makes an oral presentation, summarising the focus of their chosen assignment topic, and the approach that they are taking in the assignment. Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback is available to students in two ways: they can arrange a feedback meeting (online or face to face) OR they can have written feedback on their submissions. The written feedback will be sent electronically.