Mapping the Territory: Critical Concepts and Issues
This unit enables a critical exploration of theory and practice and the ways these inter-relate and extend each other, for practice. There is an emphasis on participants exploring (re-looking), analysing and reflecting on theoretical, conceptual and contextual lenses and evidence salient for their own practice settings and professional priorities, to ask challenging questions, and make judgements about what is going on, where they sit, and how they might respond. Typical content might include analysing educational and social policy, identifying and examining influential ideological perspectives, an introduction to concepts of professionalism and practitioner identity, and diversities/inequalities, but will be shaped by students' own interests, and articulated in and for students' own practice and practice contexts.
Specialist Supported Project: Education
This unit supports students to undertake a project that has particular relevance to their professional practice. Students identify and explore significant themes, issues or challenges, select a relevant focus for their project, and appropriate approach/tools/methods. Projects might be desk, practice, or enquiry-based, but in all cases enable students to develop and demonstrate specialist knowledge through the use of evidence, analysis, reflection and evaluation, as appropriate to their project. The unit provides an introduction to the nature of knowledge, knowledge generation for practice and enquiry/investigation approaches.
Shaping the Future
This unit asks students to address critical challenges, tensions or contradictions, and professional dilemmas within their own practice, to think forward and develop possible ways of re-framing, re-imagining, or innovating for future practice. This provides opportunities to work at the leading edge (of thinking/practice) to rethink services or approaches/interventions, to plan forward and/or to consider specific changes and new innovations.
Research and Practice
The unit aims to develop a greater understanding of the relevance of research to professional practice. Students examine different approaches to conducting research, and their limitations and possibilities for generating knowledge in their own practice area. The unit also explores the ethical tensions and dilemma inherent in the research process, especially those particular to practitioner research. As part of the assessment of the unit, students produce a research proposal (that can be taken forward to final dissertation) to demonstrate understanding and capacity to carry out a coherent and credible small research project.
This unit is designed to support and facilitate students in planning, conducting and evaluating a significant, practical and coherent (practitioner) research project. Participants finalise a research proposal for approval and for ethical clearance, and will then undertake the research project. Whilst undertaking the project students are offered tutorial support, this constitutes a blend of group tutorials as well as individual supervision. The entire process is supported by a suite of online resources as well as on-site activities that are aimed at enriching the student's experience and improving the quality of the final dissertation.
The focus of the dissertation is self-selected. Students may choose to research any area of interest as long as it relates to the field of education. Whilst many MA in Education students choose to conduct practitioner research projects, this is not a requirement of the course. The terms and content of the dissertation are negotiable, with supervisors working closely alongside students to ensure that areas of personal professional and academic interest can be pursued in ways that satisfy the unit's assessment criteria.