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Unit information: Pedagogies for Social Justice in 2020/21

Unit name Pedagogies for Social Justice
Unit code EDUC30033
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wenham
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit will examine key ways of thinking about pedagogies for social justice, and what they might mean for developing approaches to teaching and learning that can reduce social inequality and create a more cohesive society. The unit will review which learning theories lend themselves to being used in this way, and the kinds of structural inequalities they seek to challenge. Students will explore the work of some of the key theorists who have addressed social justice issues in education and critically reflect on the conceptual tools they have created for analysing other ways of organising education. The course will give students the opportunity to explore and evaluate a range of research studies that have applied these ideas in different contexts and consider the outcomes they have led to.

The aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • understand the contexts in which different pedagogies for social justice emerge;
  • develop a critical appreciation of the key theories that have become most influential in understanding and addressing issues of social inequality;
  • evaluate some of the ways in which these ideas have been put into action and their consequences for practice.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. compare and contrast conceptually difficult ideas;
  2. discuss how ideas change in and through practice and in different contexts of application;
  3. synthesise and clearly communicate areas of contestation and debate;
  4. summarise and critically assess individual papers, drawing them into a coherent argument.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, debates and group presentations. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis.

Assessment Details

Formative assignment:

a) ILO 2&3 : 15-minute group presentation to start class discussion: key ideas that have been introduced on the course and their potential for practical application.

b) ILO 1-4 : 500-word summary of key ideas for feedback from tutor.

Summative assessment:

ILO 1-4 : Reflective essay 3,000 words (100%)

Reading and References

Banks, J. (Ed) (2009) The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education. Abingdon: Routledge.

Chapman,T.K. & Hobbel, N (2010) Social Justice Pedagogy Across the Curriculum: The Practice of Freedom. Abingdon: Routledge.

Freire, P. (2000) Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition. London, NY: Continuum.

Moore, R. (2013) Basil Bernstein: The Thinker and the Field. Abingdon: Routledge.

Nussbaum, M.C., (2012) Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princepton, N.J.: Princeton University Press

Schweisfurth, M. (2015) Learner-centred Education in International Perspective: Whose Pedagogy for Whose Development? Abingdon: Routledge.

Wenger, E. (2000) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.