Values, Philosophy and Education

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Values, Philosophy and Education

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    At the end of the course students have gained an understanding and
    knowledge of:
    1. Central aspects and problems of schooling and how to position these according to various (cultural) assumptions, values and norms and moral propositions 
    2. Relevant theory and approaches (including the empirical and normative underpinnings) of the subdisciplines of the pedagogical sciences.
    3. Theoretical concepts from other disciplines, relevant to the study of education, particularly the philosophy of education. 

    At the end of the course students are able to:
    4. Develop and present a clear, cohesive and structured argument, using empirical research and theory, and showcasing a good understanding of both current societal and scientific issues and questions. 
    5. Structure their own learning of subdomains of the educational sciences (master level).

    In most countries around the world, but particularly in Western countries, we find diversity in ideas about the value of education. This
    module will introduce you to key debates in education with a particular focus on personal and institutional value systems in educational
    contexts and current normative debates on the purposes and values of education. These include (but are not limited to): What is ‘good
    education’ and what are ‘educational goods’? How can parent and teachers contribute to educational goods? What if there are differences between conceptions of childhood and educational goods of parents and the school? How much freedom should children have to develop their own conception of good education? What is the role of religion in schools? In this course we will address these questions.

    These questions have no right or wrong answer but rather require normative enquiry and a clear, sound and relevant argument which is
    located in context and related to educational practice as we observe and experience it. A good argument is inseparable from an analysis of
    context, and an awareness of who is arguing and how they conduct themselves. In this module you will therefore learn to develop an
    argument in the weekly masterclasses and in tutor groups. In both types of sessions, you will argue with peers to advance your own thinking and stance on matters of educational importance. We will develop both your oral and written skills as both of these are highly valued, not just in universities but in schools, business and civic life. In other words, the skills you learn on this module are highly transferable - they are life skills.

    The course has a ‘Capita Selecta’ structure where each session covers a specific topic, taught by an expert in the field from various
    disciplinary backgrounds; philosophy of education, developmental psychology and education science. Each week will see an online
    masterclass of 4 hours (combined lecture and group work) with a 2-hour online tutor group later in the week to discuss the topic of the
    masterclass. During these tutor groups you will discuss a question with peers and learn to develop a structured and coherent argument. You will need to prepare for these tutor groups through a structured assignment which is posted on Canvas a week in advance of the session (or sooner). These assignments and active participation in both masterclass and tutor groups are a requirement for passing the module.

    4 hour masterclass and 2 hour tutor groups every week

    The exam consists of an academic position paper of 3000 words +/- 10% including references.
    An academic position paper is:
    an essay that presents an arguable opinion about an issue – typically that of the author or some specified entity. The goal of a position
    paper is to convince the audience that the opinion presented is valid and worth listening to (source: wikipedia).

    There are no entrance requirements. However, students are reminded that this is a third-year course in the bachelor programme ‘Pedagogische wetenschappen’ thus are expected to have a basic knowledge of education and educational theories as well as philosophy and philosophical theories.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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