Teaching and Learning with Children: A Psychosocial Approach

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
02 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L520 Childhood Studies,
BA L521 Childhood Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA L522 Childhood Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA L523 Childhood Studies (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The central concerns for this module is an understanding of what education is for, what facilitates learning and what gets in the way of learning.

Learning is evident both in the nursery and the classroom in a highly structured way, but its origins for each of us can be traced back to the earliest relationships and experiences with our parents or carers and the way these were made available to us within an environment in which we felt safe enough to be playful, curious and open to new experience. Learning also takes place for many children in the social institution of the school. This module will evaluate the relationships that facilitate or become barriers to learning as well as the place of education in wider society and as a key site of the experience and defining of childhood itself.

We will examine a number of factors in order to understand the social institution of the school and the nature of learning. For example, the capacity to face anxiety, to manage transitions, to cope with new experiences and relationships with adults and peers, and the role of social inequalities, educational policy and the dominant discursive models of childhood itself in shaping children's learning experiences We will consider the meaning of children's behaviour, the contribution attachment theory can make to the classroom and identify the forces at work leading to exclusion of some children. We will also ask about the role of education in shaping both society and childhood, what curriculum areas prompt anxiety, how space and place shape the learning encounter and the role of the children's rights agenda.

Finally, how can this understanding be translated into practice to support your future career endeavours? You will evaluate the role of education in the lives of individual subjects (teachers and learners) and society as a whole in the assessed podcast where you can also practice your oral presentation skills. In addition, you will chose a particular area of education that interests you and/or has application to your desired career path, from classroom design, to behaviour management to challenging curriculums, which you will critically evaluate in your final essay.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To recognise the complex factors involved in education, schooling, and learning from sociological, constructionist,psychosocial and psychodynamic perspectives
2. To develop an understanding of contemporary issues in education, such as identity, , anxiety, power, capital, and rights
3. To consider the research and theory surrounding inclusion and exclusion in educational settings
4. To engage with the practical and professional issues involved with planning learning activities , designing classrooms and building relationships with students
5. To evaluate the role of schooling in the social construction of childhood

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module:

1. Students will gain an understanding of sociological, constructionist and psycho-social perspectives which have been applied to issues around education and children’s learning
2. Students will gain an understanding of sociological and psychodynamic theories and their relevance to learning
3. Students will be able to critically evaluate education as a social institution Students will gain an understanding of contemporary issues in education, including notably children’s behaviour, social exclusion, children’s rights, and particular curricula.

Module information


Teaching week


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Introduction to Psychosocial perspectives on education

Canham, H. "Where do babies come from?" What makes children want to learn?' in Youell, B. (2006) The Learning Relationship: Psychoanalytic Thinking in Education. London: Karnac (7 – 19)

Brooks, R., McCormack, M. and Bhopal, K. (2013) Contemporary Debates in the Sociology of Education: An Introduction, in Brooks, R., McCormack, M. and Bhopal, K. (eds.) Contemporary Debates in the Sociology of Education, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-12

'A theoretical overview: an introduction to psychoanalytic concepts and their application' in Youell, B. (2006) The Learning Relationship: Psychoanalytic Thinking in Education. London: Karnac (20 – 33)

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Consider assignment and marking criteria
Introduce assessment(s)


Seminar 1 – Lecture Education as Emancipation
Moss, P. (2007) Bringing Politics into the Nursery: early childhood education as a democratic practice, in European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Vol. 15(1), pp. 5-20

Boronski, T. and Hassan, N. (2015) Sociology of Education, London: Sage, Ch 4 Critical and Radical Pedagogies

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Assessment Workshop 1
The Podcast


Seminar 1 - Lecture: Education as Social Control

Giroux, H.A. and Penna, A. (1979) Social education in the classroom: The dynamics of the hidden curriculum, Theory and Research in Social Education, 7(1), pp. 21-42

Illich, I. (19??) Deschooling Society, New York: Penguin, Chapter 1 – Why we must disestablish school

RSA Animate Video: Sir Ken Robinson -

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study:
The PREVENT agenda


Seminar 1 – Lecture: School Readiness and Early Childhood

'What is good day care' in Trowell, J. & Bower, M. (eds) The Emotional Needs of Young Children and Their Families. Oxford: Routledge (pp 221 – 234)

Cooper, H. (2013) The Oppressive Power of Normalcy in the Lives of Disabled Children: Deploying History to Denaturalize the notion of the 'normal child' in Curran, T. & Runswick-Cole, K. (eds.) Disabled Children's Childhood Studies, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Evans, K. (2013) School Readiness: The Struggle for Complexity, LEARNing Landscapes, 7(1), pp. 171 – 186, online at:

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Assessment Workshop 2
The Podcast Continued


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Classroom Relationships Part 1

'Behaviour has meaning' in Geddes, H. (2006) Attachment in the classroom: the links between children's early experience, emotional well-being and performance in school. London: Worth Publishers (pp 17 – 34

'Outline of Attachment Theory' in Geddes, H. (2006) Attachment in the classroom: the links between children's early experience, emotional well-being and performance in school. London: Worth Publishers (pp36 – 51)

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study
Planning activities for teaching and learning


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Classroom Relationships Part 2

'Anxiety' in Jersild, T. (1955) When teachers face themselves' New York: Teacher' College Press (pp20 – 64)

'Unconscious defence mechanisms: what is going on under the surface of our classrooms' in Delany, M. (2009) Teaching the Unteachable. London: Worth Publishing (78 – 100)

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study:
Planning activities for teaching and learning


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Inclusion and Exclusion

Marshall, W. 'Professionals, children and Power' in Blyth, E., Milner, J. (1996) Exclusion From School: Inter-Professional Issues For Policy And Practice. London: Routledge

'Ethos and Exclusion' in Munn, P., Lloyd, G., Cullen, M.A. (2000) Alternatives to Exclusion from School. London: Sage

Richards, S. (2018) Policy, provision and the historical context, in Boggis, A. (ed)Dis/Abled Childhoods? A Transdisciplinary Introduction, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 15-36

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study
What does inclusive education look like?


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Controversial Curriculums

Newby, K. and Mathieu-Chartier, S. (2018) Spring Fever: process evaluation of a sex and relationships education programme for primary school pupils, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Vol. 18(1), 90-106

Robinson, K. (2013) Innocence, Knowledge and the Construction of Childhood, London: Routledge, Chapter 3 Childhood innocence, moral panic and censorship: constructing the vulnerable child and Chapter 4 – Schooling the vulnerable child: power/knowledge and the regulation of the adult normative citizen-subject

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study:
Mandatory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in Primary Schools in England and Wales

Assessment Workshop 3
Addressing the Essay


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Landscapes of Teaching and Learning

Dudek, M. 'Play in an adult world: designing spaces with children' in Foley, P. and Leverett, S (eds) (2011) Children and Young Peoples Spaces: Developing Practice Milton Keynes: Open University Press pp.73-88

Holt, L. (2004) Childhood disability and ability: (Dis)ableist geographies of mainstream primary schools. Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol. 24(3) pp. 20–48, [online] available at:

Pike, J. (2008) 'Foucault, Space and Primary School Dining Rooms' Children's Geographies Vol.6(4), pp.413-422

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study:
Classroom Design using Dudek, M. (2000) The Architecture of Schools, London: Routledge, Part B – Case Studies


Seminar 1 – Lecture: Children's Rights in School

Boronski, T. & Hassan, N. (2015) Sociology of Education, London: Sage - 'Young People and Pupil Voice' in Sociology of Education. London: Sage Publications Ltd

Bragg, S. (2007) 'Student voice' and governmentality: The production of enterprising subjects? In Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 28(3), pp. 343-358

Seminar 2 – Discussion:

Case Study
The School Council

Learning and teaching methods

Seminar 1 is presentation/lecture on theory Seminar 2 involves discussion of theory and often the use of a case study to facilitate this Workshops – there will be a workshops placed periodically throughout the module to support students to begin developing podcasts which will be due for submission in the middle of the module, with feedback available to students prior to the submission of the 2nd module assessment the essay. Independent Learning During this module successful students are expected to complete at least 15hrs of non-seminar additional study for this module. This amounts to at least 3hrs additional study per week. The set readings which you must read to prepare for seminars are laid out in the weekly structure but we recommend a number of full texts that you should consult more fully


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Jessica Clark, email:
from Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student Administrator email



External examiner

Dr Claudia Lapping
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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