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Transcript: Education Pathway

Hello, I'm Mark Pulsford from the Education Studies Department at Warwick. I'm going to talk to you a little bit about what we do at Warwick in Education Studies, in particular focusing on the Education pathway through Liberal Arts.

Okay, so 'What is Education Studies?' really is what I want to talk about most in this short video. As you're all aware, of course, education is not just one thing, it's a multi-disciplinary area. It's varied and dynamic as a subject. When you take our modules, you'll be encouraged to wear different hats as a student of education. We come up with questions of education through sociological, psychological, philosophical, political, practical, and applied angles. In our modules, we're doing the sociology of education, the history of education, the philosophy of education, and so on. We're often doing all of these things on any one of our modules, which means that studying education is a truly interdisciplinary activity. It's important to say that we're not just talking about teaching and learning in schools. We encourage as wide a view as possible of education. We're thinking about education in formal and in informal settings and across the life course. We use a range of different lenses to ask critical questions about the role and purpose of education.

One of the most common views of that purpose of education is that it's useful because it will get you a job, but of course, education is not solely about acquiring skills and gaining qualifications. To do that, we have to think about the wider connections between education and society. In particular, the role of education in some of the biggest issues facing local and global communities today.

In the middle here (on the screen) we have a picture of the climate emergency school strikes from a few years ago. On the right is a picture from a Black Lives Matter protest. We need to think about the role of education in these issues. What's the role of education, the role of schooling, in averting a global climate crisis? What does education for anti-racism look like, for example? Now, this raises questions about the purposes of education. What are schools for and what should be prioritised in their curricular, for example? And that balance that education has to strike, between maintaining the status quo, sort of a passing on of knowledge and culture from generation to generation, and instead, seeking to challenge and transform society. Interrogating that fine line is an interesting part of what we do across our modules.

The other picture here, of course, represents the Coronavirus pandemic. We could think about public health education. For example, how does the public become educated about personal and community health? But it's also about how schools and other educational institutions approach the perhaps quite radical changes required when we can't teach in close proximity. That raises questions about online pedagogy, for example. How is teaching online different to teaching face-to-face, quite fundamental questions that we've all had to deal with in the last few years. But also I think it also prompts questions such as around learners identity and sense of belonging when we can't become educated in a physical place. We're thinking about questions of identity, belonging, community, inclusion there. I think that's where we start to think about culture and the arts and humanities, their role in illuminating these debates, and where those understandings fit into our sense of what education is all about. I could go on, but really the point is here that studying and understanding education is hugely important to get to grips with the present and the future challenges that we face both individually and society-wide.

Picking up on some of those ideas, this quotation (on the screen) describes what chemists and colleagues describe as the 'proper purpose of education' and that being "To prepare people to live well in a world worth living in". It's the quotation I've come back to all the time in my own teaching and in my own thinking about the purposes of education. What I like about it is that it gets to this dual purpose of education, because it's both individual and it's collective, and that relationship between the two is really important. So, of course, across all of our modules, across our course, we study this dual purpose of education, but I think it's important to say that we also try and live that through our teaching as well. So we're aiming to prepare you to live well in that we help you become successful, we help you develop your skills ready for your future as individuals, but we also want you to become aware of your capacity to make change, to make the world a better place, one that's worth living in for everybody. I think that idea, that purpose connects what we do across our modules on our Education programme and in this pathway.

Just to finish off, the very final slide is about the particular modules that we offer. Here's a selection of them, I've not included all modules on this slide, but I thought it useful to think about the thematic organisation of those modules, to help you think about what particular areas you're interested in when you consider studying Education. You'll see in these themes and in these individual modules the disciplinary areas that I've talked about, so the sociology of education, the psychology of learning, the philosophy of education, history of education, the politics, and so on. I think the themes help to clarify some of that as well. The things that we might say that are present in our modules, in our course: we have policy, we have children and childhood, we have theory, we have arts, literature and creative practices, we have global issues, and we have learning needs and child development. You can pause the video and look at some of the titles of the modules listed under each of those. Where they're particularly only offered to year one, I've listed year one. Similarly, if they're only available to year three I've just listed them as year three.

If you're considering taking the Education pathway through Liberal Arts you might consider curating a particular thematic route even within the pathway. You might have a particular focus on global issues, that might be where your interest is, or in arts literature, or in children and childhood or whatever. I thought this was useful just to show you there are themes to develop even within the pathway of Education.

So that's plenty from me as a little introduction I think. Please do be in touch, my name is Mark Pulsford. You'll find me on the Warwick website and on the email list. Look forward to seeing lots of you on modules in the future, thanks.