The Nature of Teaching and Learning


Student guidance on 5,000 word assignment for

The Nature of Teaching and Learning




Critically explore, analyse and evaluate how theories and ideologies influence good practice for educators. (5,000 words +/- 10%)


The question is assessed against the University’s Generic Assessment Criteria and the module learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes

Students will demonstrate critical understanding of:

  1. A range of theoretical perspectives on how learning takes place and the implications for how these theories are applied in the classroom
  2. A range of wider factors that influence the learning environment and how they impact on how teachers teach and learners learn
  3. The role of critical reflection in helping educators to make decisions about their practice


and demonstrate the ability to:

4.      critically analyse and evaluate what constitutes good practice in terms of teaching and assessment methods and approaches,

5.       critically appraise their own professional context and experience in light of the material presented

6.      use relevant academic literature beyond that provided in the module materials to support an argument Each is equally weighted.







There is a good deal of flexibility in terms of the way you structure and present your essay but all work should include the following:

·       An introduction that:


o   Explains and clarifies the question

o   Explains the relevance of the question

o   Describes briefly your relevant professional experience and explains the chosen context for your discussion of ‘good practice’ – e.g. this may be international schools in the Middle and Far East offering the IB curriculum, or it may be the state primary school sector in the UK where you work to the National Curriculum, or you may be drawing on both

o   Identifies key themes and issues that will be covered in the main body of the essay (route map)

The main body of the essay. This should be structured into clear themes and issues that present an argument. They should be ordered logically so that the thread of your argument is developed coherently and effectively. You need to demonstrate understanding of the issues raised in the module materials, but at the same time, you will not be expected to cover all the material presented in the five unit booklets. Rather, select the themes and issues that are most important to you and most relevant to your argument.

However you choose to present it, your argument should include:
o Critical analysis and evaluation of learning theories – which are the most influential to your practice/ ‘good practice’ and why. You will make reference to the module materials, relevant wider reading of theoretical literature and your own experience/observations of practice as your supporting evidence.

o Critical analysis and evaluation of how wider ideas about the purpose, value and methods of education influence teachers’ practice, including your own. These ‘wider ideas’ will include those that come from parents, the wider social and cultural norms in your setting, governments (their policy frameworks and the methods they use to monitor outcomes, etc.), the media, etc. You will again draw on the module materials, your wider reading and professional experience to support your argument.

• A conclusion that:
o Draws together and summarises your main themes in relation to the question – you can develop previously mentioned ideas a little further, but don’t introduce the reader to completely new material in this section o Comments, if you haven’t already done so above, on whether the wider ideologies that influence practice in your chosen context do so positively or negatively
o Comments on the role of critical reflection in helping you as an educator to make decisions about your practice – i.e. comments that demonstrate in some way what you have learned through the processes of analysis and reflection in relation to this question, whether/how your ideas have changed/developed, what have been the most useful insights, etc.

• A reference list that gives full referencing details of source material cited within the work, using the Harvard referencing system. You may also provide a bibliography after the reference list, i.e. a list of material you have consulted that is not directly referred to in the text.

For some very good guidance on how to structure an answer and develop an argument, see chapters 10 and 11 of the Good Study Guide by Northedge, which is an Ebook in My Module Resources.

A note on use of the first person

You may have been discouraged in the past from referring to yourself in academic writing, but in this essay, it is an integral part of what you are being asked to do. At the same time, try not to make yourself the central focus of the essay. For instance, while it may be legitimate to say ‘my own practice has been heavily influenced by theories of social constructivism’, the central issue is social constructivism and why it may be so influential today in the contexts in which you have worked, not a description of your personal journey for its own sake. Avoid subjective phrases like ‘I believe …’ and ‘In my opinion …’ and emphasize instead the evidence that supports your judgements, whether theoretical, practice-based, or both.




·       In this essay I am planning to include the unit 1 Theories of learning and unit 4 Transforming Learning with ICT. And relating the research on learning in ICT to behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism.

o   For unit 1 we need to compare and contrast the principles of cognitive, social constructivist, information processing and behavioural theories of learning and to use these in a critical consideration to a professional practice. Cognitive and constructivist theories of learning  (e.g. following Piaget or Bruner), Social Constructivist learning theory (e.g. followingVygotsky), Information processing learning theory (e.g. following Gagne), and Behaviourist learning theory (e.g. following Skinner).


o   For unit 4 we need to consider some of the factors that impact on the capacity of ICT to transform learning and teaching.

·       I am thinking to relating the above points to Covid-19 pandemic. At a sudden everything turned into large Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) which cater for tens of thousands of students across the globe, at any one time.






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