Skip to main content Skip to navigation

EQ112-15 Introduction to the Philosophy of Education

Education Studies
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Emma Williams
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module provides a starting point in the philosophy of education for first year undergraduate students. On the module, you will be introduced to key philosophical concepts and ideas. You will examine how historical and contemporary philosophical debates can shed new light on important educational issues. The module uses both critical and creative approaches to explore the nature of philosophy and its relationship to education. You will analyse and evaluate philosophical arguments about education. You will also design and trial teaching activities, to test different ideas of education and philosophy in practice. The module will provide you with in-depth theoretical knowledge, and skills in engagement and communicating theoretical ideas to different audiences.

Module web page

Module aims
  1. Explore the nature of philosophy and its relationship to education
  2. Examine key ideas and concepts in philosophy of education
  3. Apply philosophical ideas to contemporary educational issues and debates
  4. Critically evaluate philosophical arguments about education
  5. Critically and creatively explore different ideas of education and philosophy
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

This module provides a starting point in the philosophy of education for first year undergraduate students. It lays the groundwork for honours level modules in philosophy of education. The module asks you to consider: how far are the ideas presented in classical philosophical works (i) different from, and how far (ii) reflected in, education today? The module will introduce you to central philosophical concepts, ideas and debates, and encourage you to think about and engage with these in themselves and in relation to educational problems. You will have the opportunity to read selected excerpts from classical philosophical texts, and develop your skills in philosophical and textual analysis. The module will develop critical thinking skills, as doing philosophy involves evaluating the cogency and robustness of thinking and argument. The module also involves a creative task, in which you will put the philosophical knowledge you have learned into practice through designing your own teaching activity. This will provide you with a different perspective from which to approach philosophical ideas and concepts, and will encourage you to think about how the different approaches to education and philosophy encountered on the module translate into practice. You will develop skills in engagement and communicating philosophical ideas to wider audiences. Assessment for the module is in the form of an activity plan and reflection (800 words, 40%), and a critical essay (1200 words, 60%).

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • 1. Comprehend key topics and texts in philosophy of education
  • 2. Understand the value of philosophy to the study of education
  • 3. Construct and communicate philosophical arguments in relation to educational topics
  • 4. Evaluate philosophical arguments and concepts for their cogency and value
  • 5. Take different approaches to critically explore the nature and purpose of philosophy in the context of education
Indicative reading list

Annas, J. (2003). Plato: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Hobbs, A. (2019). Introduction to Plato's Republic. London: Penguin
Magrini, James, M. (2017). Plato’s Socrates, Philosophy and Education. Springer
Noddings, Nel (2011). Philosophy of Education. Westview Press. Chapter 1: ‘Philosophy of Education Before the Twentieth Century: Socrates and Plato’ pp. 26-42
Plato (2007). Republic. London: Penguin Classics
Plato (2005). Phaedrus. London: Penguin Classics
Rowe, C.J. (2007). ‘Introduction: The Simile of the Cave in the Republic.’ in Rowe, C. Plato and the Art of Philosophical Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 55-65
Smith, R. (2012). ‘The Play of Socratic Dialogue.’ In Vansieleghem, N. and Kennedy, D. Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects. Wiley Blackwell. pp. 52-65

View reading list on Talis Aspire


This module is interdisciplinary as it explores how philosophical ideas are relevant to the field of education and education studies, and also explores how education helps cast new light on the nature and purposes of philosophy, and the reading of philosophical texts.

Subject specific skills
  • Explaining the nature of philosophy and philosophy of education
  • Describing key philosophical arguments, concepts and ideas
  • Constructively critiquing educational practice, theory and research, using philosophical perspectives
  • Applying philosophical ideas in practical contexts
  • Communicating philosophical ideas to different audiences
  • Thinking critically about the importance of education to philosophy
Transferable skills
  • Active listening
  • Analysis and decision making
  • Character/personality
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Coordinating with others
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Initiative and also follow instructions
  • Intellectual ability
  • Interpersonal and communication
  • Judgement and decision making
  • Knowledge of chosen job/career
  • Literacy
  • Management of learning
  • Motivation, tenacity, commitment
  • Personal development skills
  • Persuading/influencing
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Problem solving
  • Reasoning
  • Self-management/resilience
  • Team working

Study time

Type Required Optional
Lectures 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 2 hours (13%)
Tutorials (0%) 1 session of 15 minutes
Private study 120 hours (80%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Activity Plan and Reflection 40% 15 hours

Students will complete an activity plan and reflection proforma document. There are a number of questions on the document and students are required to submit answers for the questions. It is similar to a worksheet.

Critical Essay 60% 20 hours
Feedback on assessment

Tutorials\r\nWhole group feedback\r\nAssessment feedback sheet\r\n


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UEQA-X35B Undergraduate Education Studies
  • Year 1 of UIPA-XL38 Undergraduate Education Studies and Global Sustainable Development