Graduate Letters and Comments
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Last updated 16.03.11.
The following are extracts (some amended) from letters we have received from Education Studies graduates, commenting on various aspects of their degree.
Hayley Goldring (2.2) graduated 2010
Before we begin, I have to add that this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to write. The experience Education Studies at Winchester has given me is beyond anything I could fully explain. Each and everyone’s experience is personal and different. No soul is the same. A Lecturer once taught me to not overcomplicate things, sounding academic isn’t always the way, but to talk from within, from the heart. Making my ordinary journey everyday, I never once paused for thought, not properly anyway. I wonder how many of us truly do. I joined the University with no expectations or perception of what was to come. Maybe you are feeling somewhat anxious yourselves. This is a good feeling, and it is one that is needed to be embraced!
For me in reality, the end of my journey became evidently, my new beginning. (T.S.Elliot, 1942). I came to University a nobody but with the help of Education Studies I left a somebody. Education involves a much wider participation than I had imagined. All in one, I was taught an education I had not experienced before. Education Studies at Winchester puts your mind in the centre of education. It becomes the time of new adventure where in particular for me I learnt something new. An education of me.
Being taught the current issues as they stand today and how they have developed through time involves relating to a wide variety of criteria which are experienced in everyday life. Elements of philosophy, ecology, feminism, childhood, diversity, sociology all combine together throughout this degree. This is what makes each and every hour overwhelming. It is amazing how many contradictions you can be faced with but it is these that bring out your judgement and views. The first year is all about your experiences. This is vital to the beginning of your degree as it is what has led you to this stage today. The second year brings together these vital experiences and relates them to theory. This enables a better understanding of ourselves, of who we have become and why. The third year develops this even further by our voices being born!
You are about to embark on a remarkable course which words cannot do justice. This degree was my struggle, but a struggle I needed to become what I have become today. It brought out me and it can do so for you too.
Jon White (1st) graduated 2010
Doing Education Studies as a degree was like being thrown on to a bouncy castle. You bounce up and down, your life being shaken and transformed after every bounce. It can be a confusing, dizzy experience, it can feel like you’re struggling to maintain the momentum, or even cope with the sensation of having your world being bounced around. When you bounce up, you can see greater distances than before; the horizons of life broadening, the vast reality of life becoming clear...you begin to see the world in a larger perspective. This in itself can become a dialectic tension between enlightenment and transcending awe, where you feel like you understand so much more, but then realise that you understand less. As you bounce you wrestle with the sights you see, trying to comprehend the depth of the scenes that you are presented with, while trying to manage the rhythm and occasional stress of the bouncy castle. But as you continue this difficult and demanding experience, confidence is quietly manifesting, sometimes unnoticed. As a result you bounce higher, seeing more wondrous sights and scenes for you to admire and struggle with. And as you see more and more, you begin to see that the horizon is not the end of the challenges, marvels and miracles...but only the beginning.
There are others around you who are bouncing with you, some bouncing at different heights to you. But all of these people, no matter how high they are bouncing, are watching you...they watch each other, supporting each other, encouraging each other, wrestling with the many sights that they see individually as one.
And of course, it’s a whole load of fun.
Sammy Pickard (2.2) Education Studies and Dance, graduated 2010.
I came to the University of Winchester with only 4 GCSE’s (A-C) and 1 A-level. I felt honoured to be accepted onto my degree combining Dance and Education Studies. I originally only took Education Studies as a means to filling my degree for the first year, with the intention of changing to 100% Dance in my second. Little did I know that that Education Studies would become my lifeline and my favourite subject.
If I had to pinpoint my favourite modules in the degree it would be studying inclusion and disability. When I started my degree I had recently diagnosed with Dyslexia. It was something that had always been overlooked at school and college. I was anxious about how people would view me, what support I would get and how on earth I was going to succeed alongside my peers. Studying on the inclusion modules enabled me to understand that every individual should have measures adapted and implemented so every individual had the chance to shine. Another favourite module was Holocaust Education. It gave me deeper insight and the opportunity to question and attempt to answer what my own true feelings were on such a horrific event.
The degree was very well structured and this helped me greatly. Assignments were well planned, so they rarely overlapped, meaning I could put all of my focus on one assignment at a time. The study resources available to students were a great support. All of the lecturers were always readily available to advise and support me in their own unique ways, helping me to reach answers without telling me what to think. The Learning Cafe was my saviour in my final two years. I think I lived in there! The endless supply of coffee and food when needed whilst madly writing essays helped me to stay focused. It made essay writing so much more relaxed.
I have left the university with a much extended knowledge of philosophy and of education. I certainly never look twice at someone with learning difficulties or disabilities and am easily able to communicate with them. I feel I understand much more now thanks to the education I have received about myself and about others. I have develop a great deal of confidence, I no longer see myself as a ‘thick’ individual but as someone who, with a bit of support, can do many things. I am now happy in life and strive to continue with my plans for the future. I still want to dance professionally but I want to go on to open a dance school in which everyone can be included and everyone, with the right support can achieve to the best of their ability and above all, have fun, because that’s what education is really all about learning in a fun and happy environment.
I would like to thank all the staff on the Education Studies team for their help, their support and the friendship over the years and Education Studies now takes pride in my life... without Education Studies, I would be a completely different person and maybe not for the better.
Amy Barrett (2.1) graduated 2010
I remember sitting in quite a large lecture room, not knowing anyone and thinking to myself, “why am I at University, and why am I taking this degree?” I did not know what was in store for me over the next three years.
It is very difficult to put the experience of Education Studies that I had into words. Not one person will have the same experience of this degree and each will face their own challenges which they, in time will overcome. Education Studies is a degree where, what you get out of it is not only a result at the end, but where you find yourself as a person and come to believe in yourself and what you can achieve in life.
I never had a clear vision of what education meant, that is until I found myself studying this degree. The question ‘where does education start and end?’ is one which a student will find themselves thinking about more often throughout the degree. It is one where you reflect on your own education of the past, and education of the future. A very wise professor once said “to become what we are is to gain a mind of our own” (Tubbs, 2004: xxvi). Education Studies develops your mind and soul in a way you thought education wouldn’t be able to. By the time year three approaches, you are able to have more of a relationship with theories you are working through, and become passionate about something which is part of us as living beings. The degree offers a unique journey of oneself, it is demanding and challenging but that struggle is worth it every time an assignment is handed in.
The passion which the lecturers have for their work and for their students is beyond anything I have experienced in education before. To see that there are people willing you on and helping you to develop your own growth as an individual really makes the experience of Education studies worthwhile. It has been more than a degree to me, it has moulded me into the type of person I want to be today and for the future. It will be an experience I will never forget and which I am truly thankful for.
Sara Schulz (2.1) Psychology with Education Studies (2002-2005)
I have been asked to write a short reflective piece about my experiences on the degree. A few weeks have passed since then and in the meantime I thought about what to say and how to write it. Like other graduates who have written a few paragraphs about their experiences to put them on the Bulletin Board I deem it a difficult task - for several reasons. I assume that the Graduate Letters and Comments section on the Bulletin Board will be predominantly consulted by current education studies students and perhaps prospective students and that assumption is the main reason why I find writing a reflective piece about my experiences on the degree so difficult.
It is my belief that current students or prospective students who read the pieces in the Graduate Letters and Comments section will be influenced by them in such a way that they will unconsciously try to make their experiences somewhat fit ours, resulting in their studying experiences being distorted and not truly their own. It is my belief that my experience is different to yours and your experience is different to your friend’s and so on. Throughout the years we might all have attended the same lectures and read the same material but our experiences of that are all different. This was the topic of my dissertation. As a reader of this section you are able to discern for yourself just how different we all have managed the same task, namely that of writing a small reflective piece on our experience - our experiences are just as different as our written pieces. You might identify similarities between our written pieces and therefore our experiences - you might want to call it a common strand - and I would agree with you because education studies has influenced us all and influences gradually became changes. But the changes and influences have been different for all of us and it is this different nature that makes our experiences personal, unique and therefore not transferable!
Your experience, in what ways and how much the course will influence you, depends on your character, your personal disposition, your engagement with the material, your mental flexibility and your struggle. The outcome of that will be just what is right for you and constitute your own experience on the degree; an experience that might come to be one of the best you will have throughout your lifetime.
Patricia Venman (1) Education Studies with Psychology 2003-2006
Where does education begin and end? From a personal perspective, the ‘end’ of my degree was by no means a conclusion. My dissertation amounted to a great deal more than the culmination of accumulated facts of my four years at University. It bore witness to my personal discovery of the challenges and possibilities that exist in philosophical thinking and how it enriches the educative and moral experience. The Education Studies programme encouraged me to reach into the past and reflect of my own educational journey to higher education in terms of the social, moral and political framework in which my experience and understanding of education continues to be formed. Introduction to the philosophical thinkers such as Plato, Rousseau, Marx and Durkheim began unfolding of the aporetic nature of education. The iconoclastic ‘What is a Child’ and the subsequent module ‘Loss of Childhood’ disturbed our notions of what it is to be a child; a parent; a teacher in the light of science, philosophy and iconography. Increasingly I found the boundaries between past present and future blurring in a Nietzschean style circle in which ‘all things are bound fast together in such a way’ that each moment draws after it future things and therefore draws itself too. It was exiting, perplexing and challenging. By Year Three the relationship to the work changed. I felt empowered to express my own voice through the theoretical perspectives that had been offered. Above all the Tutors practice what they preach. There are no quick fix answers; no resolutions, just a commitment to the ‘personal, social, ethical and spiritual development of the student’ in the pursuit of experience as education. After going to nine schools in eleven years I left at 16 with 2GCE’s and the belief that I was not academically minded. I fought hard over the next quarter of a century to reinstate the notion that I could be academic but it took Education Studies and their commitment to thought as education for me to finally recognise that illusive prize was always in my grasp. I now understand my education as a continuous process, a process of existential commitment to the possibilities of thinking as praxis. I recognise the significance of my relation to the experience of education. As I stood in the Cathedral on that perfect of graduation days I thought ‘No Nigel…no way would I take the degree and run. Not for all the tea in china would I have missed the last four years. Thank you; all of you - tutors and students alike for supporting me and bestowing me with a belief in myself. As the philosopher Gillian Rose once said ‘I want to stay in the fray exploring the difficulties in which I engage as a means to articulate my life’. 
P.S. in the words of a certain tutor ‘Rock on’ Ed Studies!
 Nietzsche, F. (1961) So Spake Zarathustra,
, Penguin London
 Education Studies prospectus
 Rose, G. (1999) Paradiso,
, Menard Press London
India Crewe (1) Education Studies with Social Care Studies 2002-2005
Having agreed to write a few lines talking about what Education Studies has meant to me, I now have no idea where to start! It was enjoyable . . . interesting . . . challenging. I’m grateful . . .changed . . .sorry to leave; none of these come near to an accurate description of the last two years.
I joined the Education Studies course at the beginning of the second year. I was nervous. Had I done the right thing in transferring? I had left the Primary BA at the end of the first year – a decision that I did not take lightly. I was one of those people who had always wanted to teach; I saw it as a vocation. The fact that I was quickly bored on the course and unhappy on my placement felt like a great failure on my part.
However, as I tackled my first Education Studies assignments, grappled with new and complex theories and still had time to squeeze in a weekly pub quiz (we always did appallingly!), I soon settled into the rhythm of my new course. Whilst the tutors demonstrated a wide variety of teaching styles, they were united in their obvious enthusiasm and the support and genuine care that they showed their students was unfailing. I became more certain that I had made the right choice.
I think it was Postmodernism that ‘broke’ me. Having previously kept my faith and my education in separate boxes, I looked at them both together with new eyes. If post-modern thought was right then I was wrong and if I was wrong then everything that I held to be true was, at the very least, seriously questionable. Education suddenly became about risk-taking. As I started reading for my dissertation I discovered that I could no longer take comfort in my faith, an experience that I found extremely painful. Frustration, struggle, uncertainty, utter bewilderment intermingled with excitement, immense satisfaction and a new-found drive to work defined the year that I spent studying for and writing my dissertation. Nigel pushed me to read a huge variety of texts that challenged me from all angles but he sensitively supported me throughout.
After careful consideration I applied to do a Secondary RE PGCE at
Southampton, which I will be starting in September. The teaching ‘bug’ refuses to leave me and the enthusiasm of the Education Studies staff has only helped it to develop into a passion for the excitement to be found in the difficulty of education. If I can give to my own future students a fraction of the support and, perhaps most importantly, fun (albeit in a slightly bizarre form!) that I have experienced on Education Studies then I’ll have done well.
If there is a god to call me then I am called to teach. If there is no such god then the call comes from within. In either case, Education Studies has left me ready, willing and able to respond.
Kimberly Griffiths(2.1) Education Studies and Theology and Religious Studies 2000-2003
It is with both ease and difficulty that I write this. On the one hand it is extremely easy to reflect upon my time as an Education Studies student. However, the difficulty emerges when trying to convey in words, the wonder and sense of discovery that I experienced during my degree course.
My plan had always been to study Religion and Theology, areas that I felt I knew well and had always held a fascination for me. However, after a talk given by Nigel about the course, a subject that I had never once considered before, I knew that it was something I had to study. Prior to starting the course, I had tried to imagine what it would be like and thought that I had a good idea of what it would offer me. I am more than happy to say that I was wrong in my predictions and very quickly realised that what Education Studies was offering me was much better than anything I could ever have been capable of knowing beforehand.
The course offered a unique journey that was full of uncertainty, challenged my thinking and encouraged a deeper examination of my own ideas and values, as well as the work of the thinkers that I was studying. The course demanded things of me that, although difficult, seemed to contain a truth that spoke to me in a way that nothing else had before. It was difficult and unsettling to find that the wall of ‘understanding’ that I thought I had built was being demolished brick by brick but at the same time I found this to be a thoroughly liberating experience.
I also realised that my preconception of what a lecturer would be like was challenged. Throughout my time as a student it was a great comfort to know that all of the Education Studies lecturers were always available to seek advice from or simply to talk to. The holistic approach to Higher Education that the department takes is something that is felt immediately. Education Studies is more than a course, the lecturers are dedicated to the development and growth of individuals in every sense and I feel privileged to have had this unique experience. I am currently coming to the end of my NQT year as an RE teacher and know that every aspect of my role as a teacher is shaped and informed by the experience that I had with Education Studies and continue to have.
Lee Lampard (2.2) Education Studies Single Honours, 2000-2003As a recent graduate on the Education Studies degree at University College Winchester, I amdelighted to have been invited to say a few words about my personal experiences on my 3 yearjourney. I chose Ed Studies to learn some of the notions and ideologies within education. Also to reinforce my own knowledge of 'Education' to co-inside with and benefit my long-time aspiration to become a Primary Teacher.Firstly, I did not know exactly what I would be learning on this journey or indeed what relevance to teaching this degree would offer me. Therefore, I chose to "suspend my disbelief!" Believe me, I'm glad that I did so! Like most students I thought that University confronts the student with a rigid intellectual authority where lecturers expect students to adopt a formal learning process to achieve. However, from day one, it was clear that this was not the case. The Ed Studies team were welcoming, understanding, caring and extremely supportive! As a mature student with young children, I sometimes struggled with various pressures outside and indeed inside Uni, but the team of Nigel, Janice, Stephanie, Jane and Derek were never far away for guidance, support and most of all faith. There was always a solution in the 'corridor of uncertainty.'I cannot recall one module that I failed to enjoy and take something from. The content, the relevance and the informality that held it all together was truly important to my personal development as well as the dialogue and constant interaction with lecturers and peers during lectures and seminars was always vital to my progression. Lastly I would like to comment on the structure of the programme by expressing that all modules which I studied inter-linked with each other in a remarkable way and bonded together perfectly right the way through to the final module where everything mysteriously came together!I am now on the PGCE at Winchester and I would be willing to speak personally to any of you who are considering joining the Ed Studies Programme.
BA Hons. (2.2) Education Studies with Theology and Religious Studies, 2000-2003
My Experience of Education Studies
The whole experience of doing a degree in Education Studies was both challenging and liberating! I have excellent and unique memories of my time doing education studies. It is, however, quite difficult to reflect and write about such a personal experience in a few paragraphs, though I will attempt to do so.
The biggest challenge was learning new concepts about education, coming to terms with educational theory and undoing pre-conceived ideas about education before starting the degree. Initially it was difficult to understand the theory and, at the beginning, it appeared as if all the modules were working in isolation from one another. It was only during the latter part of the second year and into the third year that I could begin to make sense of the theory and see how all the individual modules interlinked and how and why they were relevant to education. Studying different aspects of education, such as gender, race, social class and early years education, was fascinating and really made one think about wider educational issues. I have found that examining education in its widest sense is very useful in the work place, especially if you are in a people-facing role.
The greatest challenge (until the very end anyway) was standing up in front of an audience and participating in debates and presentations, as they seemed pointless and meaningless during my studies. I am now very glad that they were part of the degree, as the experience gained doing them, has proved invaluable. I learned how to overcome this fear and polish my presentation skills, whilst doing the degree. I am now able to give presentations confidently within my role at Sure Start, something that I would not be able to do if I had not had the opportunity to build my skills in this area, during my studies.
Education Studies, is perhaps seen by some, as a less demanding degree, than ‘so called’ traditional routes to teaching, such as BA QTS and BEd. Yet, I would argue, that Education Studies is equally demanding in terms of content and workload as the traditional routes. I have memories of working into the small hours to complete essays that were due in the next day! Doing education studies is not for those who shirk away from a challenge, as it is all encompassing! It encourages you to juggle and examine who you are as a person and really (towards the end) helps you to home in on and perfect time management skills!
There were a number of challenges throughout the three years but I found the staff very supportive, as they were always available if you needed them to offer constructive criticism, listen and encourage you. The Education Studies website and the little blue (essay) writing book were also invaluable resources throughout my degree.
The best part of all is realising that the three years hard slog is over and that you are about to graduate! Suddenly the all nighters, ripped up rough drafts of essays and daunting presentations are all worth while!
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and Religious Studies, 1998-2001
It is difficult to put into a few words what the degree meant to me. At the beginning it meant a lot of hard work and essay deadlines, and although this didnt change it meant more as the degree continued and more again in hindsight.
The degree in Education Studies did what it said on the box we began with our experiences in the 1st year, shut up and listened to what others had to say in the 2nd year and in the 3rd year we tried to bring the two together, with varying amounts of success. I remember being asked, if we were offered the degree in one hand and 3 years of work in the other, which would we pick. Even then I recall picking the 3 years, but without realising how valuable the 3 years would be.
From a short distance away, the degree meant the luxury (yes, luxury) of being able to think, to question, and think some more. It meant being able to follow the thoughts through the struggle while certainty was stripped away, leaving what came to be known as the abyss. It also meant finding out that the abyss was not so bad, and teetering on the edge could be exhilarating and despairing at the same time.
The degree meant to me, a realisation that I could do this, not always, but sometimes and in the end I did do it. It taught me not to be afraid to follow the thoughts, even when I did not always like them. It showed me some wonderful thoughts of those I had not even known existed and thoughts that I had not realised had been thought. It also taught me not to be afraid of philosophy, it is only thoughts. It also found answers and no answers, or answers that changed.
I look back on my time struggling with the degree with a sort of gratitude. The sort of gratitude that realises that I was lucky to have the time, the space and the encouragement and stimulation that allowed me to have 3 years of learning and thinking. I feel it answered the question what is education.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies 1998-2001
Julie decided to represent her own experience of the course using more visual means:-
to Julie's account of the course.
BA Hons. (2.2) Education Studies and Religious Studies 1998-2001
When Nigel asked me to write a piece about the degree course, a mixture of thoughts came to mind! Mainly because my opinion of the course content has changed since embarking on a PGCE course this year.
While I was at King Alfreds I found the philosophy behind the education system, and the course, fascinating. I found that modules such as Citizenship Education, Philosophy of the Teacher and Power of the Teacher provided a solid foundation into understanding the education system both in England and globally, from Ancient Greece to present day!
The many debates over what education really is and how can we teach it, at the time (although often heated and mind-blowing) did not really seem to be directly linked to the classroom in which I hoped to be teaching one day. However, as soon as I set foot in my first school experience classroom, I realised how much the Education Studies course had changed and developed my way of thinking. Not just in the area of educational philosophy, but overall as an individual.
I began to notice how Plato and Socrates have influenced the way in which children learn. Also how pioneers such as Montessori, have made their mark in daily education. I also found that I have a balanced view of the National Curriculum and other such Government schemes, which has aided me in becoming an individual teacher.
In conclusion, I would have to say that I am glad I followed the route into education that I did as I feel that I have an advantage over my peers who studies straight BA courses. This is not just due to the course content but the people who believe enough in education to teach with the enthusiasm and support that they do.
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and English 1998-2001
It is difficult to describe how profound an effect the Education studies degree has had on me personally. What I found in Education Studies took me by surprise. It was as though Id stumbled across, quite by accident, the very thing Id been looking for if Id been able to define it.
Here is a course which recognises and works with the gap we experience between ourselves and society and ourselves and our own thinking. Education Studies does not compartmentalise itself as merely another academic exercise but includes the whole person within its agenda.
This gap which tells us there is something missing a longing for certainty in the midst of uncertainty, a thirst for knowledge, a longing for meaning and significance in a story larger than ourselves, is where our learning takes place.
In a world where the emphasis is so much on performance, efficiency, competence and control., Education Studies touches on a deeper aspect of the human spirit where I feel as least our longing for transcendence is given voice to.
I do not think that it is all our outward successes and achievements which make us educated in the true sense but, rather, our own failures and incompetence make our education possible. An important lesson which I have learnt is that no question or thought is insignificant.
After graduating last summer (2001) all that I learned on the degree has very much remained with me, impacting all areas of my life. I am due to continue my studies this September as I wish to explore in greater depth, the thinking which I started on the degree.
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and English Studies 1998-2001
To begin with, I didnt choose Education Studies, Education Studies chose me. I had originally applied for a place on the QTS course. However, this was over-subscribed and I transferred to Education Studies. It did not take me long to settle in and realise that the decision to transfer was the right one.
Looking back now., I would have been easy, too easy, to enter into a teaching degree straight away after finishing my own education. There were questions still left unanswered, both from my own education and from work experience training that I had carried out in a local primary school. My experience in Education Studies helped me to realise and face those difficult questions in three stages:
Year One Reflecting on my own experience in education, how it made me feel as a person, as a student, how the Government had decided the course my education should take. We also examined Great Educators people such as Socrates and Buddha and their own thinking behind being a teacher (or not, as in Socrates case.)
Year Two My own experience was abandoned as we examined theories behind education. We explored Plato, Marx, Montessori and their ideas on childhood, social construction and education. Here were theories which we could react towards, against and compromise with. In summary, Year Two continued my reflection on education but on a much wider level than Year One.
Year Three Perhaps the most challenging as experience and theory became combined to produce a new experience. We could now address issues concerning education today such as race, ethnicity, gender. I now felt equipped to deal with those difficult questions from Year Thirteen.
And what of those difficult questions? Two which stand out the most from my experience of Education Studies are What is a child? and What is Education? I remember Nigel noting that on teaching course these questions were never really asked. To me, these are the most important questions to ask when becoming a teacher and I am glad that we considered these concepts in depth. Previously, I had thought of children as vessels to be filled with knowledge. However, I realised that they were people with their own agenda, who have a world to explore and who need to explore it in their own time. The teacher, to me, is no longer a supplier of knowledge but someone who can support a child through their exploration of the world. This, to me, is education.
My own experience of Education Studies reflects this. Nigel, Janice, Derek, Jane and Anne have all supported my education in some way. When we began lectures, there was a sense that our own educators were also learning, that everyone, including the lecturers, was exploring together. In this way, we explored more possibilities than we could have ever done if it was just a teacher and a lesson transcript. The tutor group always had time to answer any questions both in and out of lectures (and even during QAA inspections) and became friends as they realised our struggles were the same. Their ideas on life-long learning have become my own and through the graduate education studies, I can keep on learning and questioning education.
I am currently taking a year out, working in a local primary school on a voluntary basis. This has been beneficial for two reasons. One, I was no longer sure if I wanted to teach. My experience in the school, has made me aware that teaching, or at least some involvement in education, may still form part of my life. Two, I was concerned about the theory I met in Education Studies would be compromised in teaching. Luckily, I work with an excellent teacher who has shown me that it is possible to be a reflective practitioner.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies (1998-2000)
I greatly enjoyed the historical element of my studies, seeing how educational thinking and theories link in together. Also discovering how ideas and philosophies began, and watching them unfold before me, whilst coming to the realisation that this unfolding process was still continuing today. Seeing how ideas of the past link in with current educational practice, and wondering where these would lead in the future. There was never a sense of standing still and assessing education past, but always the excitement of linking the past to the present, and then the anticipation of the future of education. This was particularly pronounced when, in my final year, we looked at Higher Education, and reflected on the process we were just completing.
Furthermore, the course structure allowed me to develop my own ideas further. For me, the Education Studies Degree was a personal journey, which lead into an individual pathway of study. My own struggles and beliefs were not swept under the carpet or counted as irrelevant, but I was positively encouraged by tutors to explore these issues.
For example, my personal struggle with some elements of philosophy was explored through a Private Study Module. I was encouraged by tutors to address these struggles and, in my final year, took the difficult step of putting my own thinking to paper and challenging these philosophies. This was really hard to do. My studies at this point became extremely personal and often painful, but now I am really pleased that I had the courage to do it.
(The learning still continues today)!!!
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and English 1998-2000
When I first started King Alfreds College in 1998, taking a course in English and Education Studies, I had no idea just how challenging and fascinating Education Studies was to become.
My education up until my time at king Alfreds College had never given me the inclination to apply myself 100% to any given subject. To my great surprise I found a course, in Education Studies, that proved to be totally absorbing. The lectures were so stimulating that my brain often went into overdrive (something that doesnt often happen!). The quality, encouragement and support of the Ed. Studies Departments inspirational staff were pivotal in enabling me to achieve a First Class degree.
I am presently undertaking a PGCE secondary course in English at Southampton University and the Education component of my first degree has yet again proved invaluable. The emotional demands of this course have been eased by my philosophy of education that I was able to build through my time with the Education Studies department. On a daily basis, in the classroom, I find myself striving to recognise the individuality of each pupil and to make every effort to make their learning experience my top priority (something that isnt always easy in a system governed by results). Learning to see and treat the students as 30 individuals rather than a single body has proved fundamental, particularly in my second school placement, where the behaviour of some students has often been challenging and whereby different teaching methods have been required to cater for the needs of all in the classroom.
One thing that Education Studies has taught me is the need for the teacher to continually learn from their students. My time in school so far has shown me that no two lessons have been or ever will be the same. It is this that makes every day so challenging.
It is these principles that I hope to take with me through my career in teaching and my thanks go to all in the Education Studies Department for giving me the chance to really think about what education means before entering a classroom.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Sports Studies, 1997-2000
Last summer, after finishing my degree I received a letter from Nigel asking me to put my experiences of Education Studies on the web. At first I thought this seemed easy. However, it was difficult to explain just how much the course taught me, both educationally and personally.
On the first day of my degree, Nigel asked the group 'if I held your degree certificate in one hand and three years hard work in the other, which would you choose?' Of course we all said the first option. However, three years later the risk of challenge has radically changed both my views of education and of myself.
Year 1 was a time for reflection on my own educational experience. This gave me the chance to voice my own opinions and feelings about education, while learning to listen to others. Important skills such as presenting and partaking in debates were also learnt during this year. During this time I also has the opportunity to discover the many different educational issues, such as power, gender, race etc., and it was here that my interest in educational philosophy began. Year 2 gave me the choice of more theory-based modules that enabled me to follow my chosen path. These modules focused mainly on the philosophical theory of education. Here I learnt the ideas of both modern and post-modern theorists among many others, and as the year progressed I found myself starting to become critical of the theories I was learning about. Year 3 was a time for the critique of both familiar and unfamiliar theoretical ideas. This year was the most challenging but at the same time the most rewarding. I was able to bring together my own experiences alongside the theory I'd learnt in order to begin critiquing. From my interest in theory and its practice within education I decided on a theory based dissertation, which after progressing through a number of stages resulted in a dissertation concerned with the ever-returning practice to theory.
The entire course, and in particular the dissertation gave me the opportunity to risk learning about learning. Every theoretical idea studied gave me the opportunity for questioning, an opportunity that allowed me not only to broaden my own educational ideas, but also to question myself and my role within education. This risk of having to question education and myself was at times both daunting and exciting.
Since graduating I have embarked on a PGCE course at Oxford Brookes University. Having just completed my first teaching practice with a Year 6 class I have begun to fully understand just how much as degree in education studies will and is helping me to become a teacher. I feel I have learnt the skills that ensure I recognize both my needs as a learner and those of the children I teach. I want to be able to give the children the education they deserve and I believe education studies has given me the best foundation for this. Rather than education being a narrow and restrictive experience I want to open the barriers to ensure that each individual child 'captures' the love of learning that I have.
This love of learning would not be anywhere as easy to 'catch' if it weren't for the lecturers. The staff's enthusiasm for their subjects was infectious and never failed to keep me enthusiastic. There were always there to help and guide me, while giving me the space to create and develop my own ideas (even if this was scary at times!). For a soon to be newly qualified teacher I can only hope that I offer my pupils the education that I was privileged to have enjoyed. It is now time to put my theory into practice.
BA Hons. (2. 2) Music and Education Studies 1996 - 99
Now that I have finished college there are a few modules that stay in my mind... These modules are the ones that covered topics such as racism, gender equality and power. When I first left college I worked for a sales company. The workforce was the most culturally diverse that I have ever witnessed... What I had learned during my time on the Education Studies course became important. I was quickly moved from sales to the administration department where I helped recruitment and personnel understand a bit more about the people who were working for them. There were many problems that the company faced with such a diverse workforce , and what I had studied at college came in helpful for me and my employers.
I believe my time on the Education Studies course has made me very critical. I now find myself listening closely to the news etc and forming strong opinions and also telling anybody who is near about them.
Since leaving college, knowing that I know nothing in philosophical terms has been daunting yet reassuring at times. Understanding the world of contradiction is really what I have taken from the Education Studies course. There are also many positive things I have gained from the course such as the ability to stand up confidently and make presentations, the ability to work by myself and good communication skills.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and English 1996 -99
My modular degree in English and education study approved to be the most in relating and rewarding experience of minor.
Year one of Education Studies enabled me to reflect on my own educational experiences
In Year 2, philosophical and theoretical perspectives were explored for me personally these were extremely difficult issues and I struggled with the module content and reading. During the year I was also considering my own future as a teacher and I changed direction and decided not to pursue this path as a career. Directly or in directly due to the philosophical issues raised in the modules, it is difficult to say, but it directed me towards making a change in my degree as I changed the pathway structure
Overall, it is my opinion that some modules in year two proved critically and analytically more difficult than some offered in year three, but this is very much a personal issue. I very much enjoyed the structure and subjects addressed within the year one modules, exploring the various disciplines and their impact on education, as well as the variety offered by the assessment structure
I have veered away from teaching as a future, and pursued a career in recruitment. I have approached my employer as to his thoughts on my skills brought from my education experience. He felt the degree showed tenacity, staying power and learning capability. Personally, I feel that the whole experience has given me greater confidence, analytical skills, made me more aware of topical issues and given me an inquiring mind and further confidence to analyse theoretical issues.
BA Hons. (1st) Religious Studies with Education Studies 1996-99
The Education Studies programme helped me to consider and reflect upon education in a variety of ways that were most helpful. I particularly enjoyed the modules on educational social theories, teacher/student power theories and educational philosophy. These modules challenged my preconceptions, and forced me to look at education in ways that, for me, where new and diverse. Yet, at the same time, the study of certain theories and arguments helped to further confirm my own views and beliefs... This all led to a greater awareness of educational issues and viewpoints past and present, which in turn leads to a more balanced and informed capacity to reason.
As a mature student I found to that I could come to the table with strong views and well thought out ideas and concepts, as well as a propensity to chew (or spit out) before swallowing everything we heard. Education Studies encouraged us to question, challenge, and critically analyse everything from Plato to post modernism and back again.
A module that dealt with spiritual and moral education was also very helpful in that it complemented my main degree subject - religious studies, whilst adding an educational dimension with its implications for teachers, students and schools. Likewise, in the third year educational philosophy module I was able to tie education and religion together in a written essay assignment. It was interesting and rewarding to see how Education Studies complemented other subject areas within the Combined Honours Programme, often adding extra depth and contour to concepts that appeared throughout undergraduate study...
The objectives of the programme certainly seemed to build year upon year, so there was a real sense of development and continuum which allowed for deep reflection...
In more generic terms, Education Studies has helped me to debate and argue rationally and (hopefully) more sensitively, to research widely and thoroughly beyond the prescribed text, and to make links across the denominational boundaries of academic discipline. It was a valuable opportunity to step back from the learning of something and consider the process of learning itself, the why of education. Vocationally, I hope, within some context, to teach, and therefore Education Studies has been invaluable, but it has also been of personal benefit as a student, a thinker, a communicator, as well as a teacher. I embarked upon the course not quite knowing what to expect, but was not disappointed - if anything, it has left me wanting more!
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies with Biology 1996 - 99
The educational experience was one that gave us the freedom to choose which particular area to concentrate on, and what interested us in particular about a subject was often researched further during the essays as titles were not always set in stone.
The seminars were conducted in a relaxed fashion, with everyone feeling free to ask as many questions as they liked; even when these questions were slightly obscure the discussion was steered back to the original point and the questions incorporated in the theme of the seminar.
Whilst lecturers were always available, self-discipline was always encouraged. This transition to mature study was evident throughout the programme.
I felt challenged by often difficult subject matter, but once the initial fear and confusion was worked through it was a confidence boost to know you had read and understood difficult texts. The nature of education was explored using many different theorists. A commitment to learning and education was generated which I still have today.
The development and progression and aimed for was always made clear through summaries and learning objectives given to us at the start of each module.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and History 1996 - 99
This course encourages its students to extend their research into areas of education which interest them, and the range of modules offered are very challenging. Had I known how interesting and useful Plato's writings are I would have studied them much sooner. This course has enabled me to understand and evaluate my own educational experience and to see both its positive and negative aspects. It is not just what is taught on this course which is useful to students but also the process which many students go through when studying Education Studies because many of the methods taught are important to any undergraduate mode of study. The transferable skills, such as presentations, note taking, report and essay writing, and the debates are helpful in many walks of life especially in the workplace. Employers that I have encountered often don't know what Education Studies entails but the skills we have developed on the course are often of use to them. Overall the freedom to study which Education Studies gives its students allows people to use their initiative which is a skill many employers look for. Also the confidence in your own ability that this course gives it students makes many of us determined to succeed in whatever we do.
For me this course has rebuilt my self-confidence. It has enabled me to succeed but it has also encouraged me to continue my studies in education because there is so much research that I want to do. It is often said that once students reach the end of their three years as undergraduate Education Studies students they realise what the course was all about. This is a statement I believe to be applicable to my course of study because it's a process of discovery which affects not just the way students study but also how they live their lives. It is more of the philosophy than an education. It has also encouraged me to evaluate all areas of my life and to set new objectives and goals for myself. I am looking for a job in Hampshires local education office because I want to apply directly what I have learned on my course. This does not just include the philosophical, but also includes what I have learned about the application of education in schools. This includes the importance of history, gender and ethnicity in the school experience.
This course offers many different avenues of study and caters to almost all interests. The mandatory modules cover the basic issues associated with education whilst the optional modules allow students to follow their own research interests... One of the most useful aspects of this course is the opportunity for students to assess their own educational experience, an option that is not offered in many other courses...
If I had to pick one thing that I believed to be the most important thing that this course has taught me, it would be that education is a lifelong process. Overall this is one of the most valuable lessons a student can take away with them, the passion to learn more about the world.
BSc Hons. (2.1)Sports Studies with Education Studies 1996-1999
Although I only studied Education Studies as a subsidiary subject I found the topics to be informative and enjoyable.
The aim of my studies at King Alfred us was to provide a sound academic base in preparation for a PGCE in physical education (secondary level). To achieve this my choice of subjects was geared around providing transferable knowledge and skills.
Education and Social Theory was in fact my favourite module within Education Studies. I found it interesting and enjoyable on both an academic and personal level and I am sure that this is in part due to the tutors presentation of the subject.
The subjects studied in my final year, Race and Ethnicity and Special Education were both very informative and provided a good foundation for my transfer to the teaching profession especially as the school I am currently placed in has more than a third of its pupils on the SEN register.
Having read the list of aims and objectives I feel that the department has been successful in attaining all of these within the course. For me the time spent at King Alfreds was both educational and enjoyable and the quality of the staff was excellent. As a result I would not hesitate in recommending it to others.
Liz James, nee Reilly.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies with English 1996 - 99
I did not know what King Alfreds College had in store for me when I came five years ago but I knew, against all the odds and with the bit between my teeth, that it was something I had to do. Even then, the content of the Education Studies course in the undergraduate prospectus sounded the most interesting, flexible and one which I particularly warmed to. I know now that the teaching philosophy within the department is so very open - and this is borne out in so many areas - but in particular it is the hard working support and encouragement from all the tutors in our academic achievements/ struggles which strikes a very fond cord and which cannot be underestimated!!
As a rep. I have been lucky to hear the views of many students who have expressed their views in a positive way, yet those students, especially as third years, have felt confident to challenge matters which they would like to change and also use the lectures and seminars in a flexible way that complements their study. The rep. meetings have always been an open and honest forum of debate.
My own personal achievement has been huge academic rigour aside the experience is one that will always remain with me, and one that strikes a very deeply within. Even as a mature student at the ripe for age of 38, I have made unexpected discoveries and have reached a real sense of contentment and contemplation. Yet in my newly- found Socratic wisdom I am sure that lifes challenges will continue to assert themselves and King Alfreds has prepared me for that.
Robyn Malan de Merindol
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and Religious Studies 1996-99
I only completed years two and three of the course because I transferred from a teacher training degree with Religious Studies, of which I had completed one-year, to a BA (Hons) Religious Studies (main) and Education Studies (subsidiary). I transferred from the teacher training because I felt that aspects which I considered essential to the professional training of a teacher were absent and that I was likely to find some of them, having read the course prospectus, in Education Studies. I felt that the compulsory modules, Education and Social Theory and Theories of Teaching and Learning were particularly relevant for anyone wishing to enter the teaching profession. In addition they provided an essential framework for the other modules on offer enabling students to ground their thinking in education.
I would like to draw particular attention to the two modules Power of the Teacher and Dialectic of Enlightenment They gave me the framework from which to learn and reflect on the relationship between philosophy, politics and ideology and use this for critical evaluation. This input affected all my other modules in both fields and I feel contributed significantly to the fact that I obtained a First Class degree. Also in terms of my personal development I feel I have the tools of analysis to understand the world around me far better and have greater resources from which to draw in decision-making. I would like to add that that (the) style of presentation particularly in Dialectic of Enlightenment gave students the opportunity to immerse themselves in dilemma; for me this was one of the most valuable aspects of the degree.
My more negative criticisms of the courses I attended mainly concern assessment and dependence on IT resources for the promulgation of information.
I wish that the professional resources available to students of Education Studies were an integral part of teacher training. I believe that it would enhance the teaching profession beyond measure.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies with Psychology 1996 - 99
Since graduating I have been working for the department of Environment, transport and the Regions (DETR)
I have thought a lot about what I have gained from my degree apart from a certificate. I feel above everything else that I am completely different person. I find that I am constantly thinking about all sorts of concepts in a different way. When I first started at King Alfreds College and you asked us asked to write down what we thought education was for, I thought I knew. To be honest with you, I thought it was a pointless question to ask! Why would we be going to study Education Studies if we didn't even know what education was? I can now see, however, that what I believed in the first place was there to be challenged and throughout the whole degree course I challenged all my beliefs and thoughts on education and other subjects too. Having said that I don't think that I have arrived as a definite decision about what it is. So, although I have lost some knowledge that I thought I had I can now see the importance of thinking about the subject and the way that I did and still do.
The course as a whole was demanding. It encouraged us to think about our own education, was thought-provoking and exciting. The teaching staff were inspiring; the love for their subjects and their career was also so apparent. Particular aspects of the degree enabled me to develop crucial skills necessary for the workplace. The oral presentations, although initially really daunting, allowed me to gain confidence in speaking before others, facilitated the development of team working skills, and skills of constructive criticism - both giving and receiving. My ability to research a subject area also improved considerably. The essays allowed me to develop skills of written communication, critical analysis and written style. The content of the modules allowed us to examine both contemporary theorists and classical theorists... In addition... we were encouraged to think about education in terms of the implications of some theories of teaching and learning on educational practice.
BA Hons. (2.2 ) Geography with Education Studies 1996 - 99
My Education Studies course allowed me to develop as a person. My self confidence grew, I developed presentation skills, I was introduced to politics and developed skills in analysing and critically assessing my own work...
In the first year of the course I was asked to reflect on my own education and to take part in debates and presentations. This helped me to gather new skills in talking to people and in getting my ideas across in a better manner.
The final year is the most appropriate to what am doing now. This is because my appraisal are based on my own reflections of my own development.
During my time at King Alfreds I found the tutors easy to approach on most occasions. I was challenged throughout my time there and enjoyed the choice in modules.
BA Hons. (2.2) Education Studies and Religious Studies, 1996-1999
Having embarked on an PGCE course Education Studies has already proven to be an extremely good basis to build upon. A proportion of the course involves Education and Professional Studies covering topics from classroom management to race and gender which were covered within the Education Studies course, so I have found (my) subject matter knowledge in some fields is of a higher standard than many of my colleagues
Presentations formed a major part of the course and while there were reservations about standing up and talking in front of fellow students at the start, these worries were soon dismissed with more practice. Presentations gave me the ability to feel more confident about voicing my opinions and debating issues while also coming to terms with ICT. This type of assessment also gave immediate feedback from tutors and colleagues in terms of questions and peer assessment. Standing up and talking about something that you knew nothing about six weeks earlier and then talking about it for 30 minutes was an extremely good way of coming to terms with theorists.
My final year project in Education Studies enabled to me to engage in an in-depth study in an area of my choosing and I found myself constantly drawing upon key aspects and practices I had adopted in my first two years, (including) how to present and reference material. I was constantly challenged by my tutor and had constant support when required even during the vacation.
Being able to put my own and my fellow students views across in field meetings where I could openly discuss the progression of modules and reservations was just another part of the educational experience. Student views were given consideration and as in the lectures we could to some extent have control over our learning.
The progression of the course through the three years was paced extremely well. I progressed from just being challenged by tutors at the start to finally being able to challenge their ideas as well as theorists.
BA Hons. (2.2) Education Studies and Geography 1996 - 99
Year One of the Education Studies course give students the chance to build their confidence by taking part in group discussions and debates. The first year of the course helps students with basics such as how to conduct research for essays and how to write essays. Most of the first year's work is based on personal experiences which can be related to various educational experiences.
Year Two of the course is much more theory based and obviously the work becomes more in depth than the first year.
Year Three of the course is obviously the most difficult with students having to critically analyse most of the work that is done....
Throughout the three years certain things are expected of all students: ICT skills should improve over the three years; good referencing skills should be achieved; good relationships should be formed between students and also between students and lecturers; enjoyment should be experienced all the time!
The Education Studies course was incredibly challenging and I feel that I have gained a great deal from the course. The lecturers on the course were always helpful and always very approachable. The course was a well run and if they were ever any problems they always rectified quickly.
(I am now employed in the UKs head office of SpecSavers in Guernsey.) my manager believes that I have brought a great deal of social skills to the job. By being on the Education Studies course I had to give presentations, chair debates and gives more seminal. Because of this my manager feels that I have gained confidence and am able to talk confidently in front of a group of people. My manager also feels that are able to get along with everybody in the office because I had to work so closely with people at college and had to learn to listen to others
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Psychology 1995-98
I have learned from Education Studies:
The ability to critique an argument
To think critically about issues
Being able to read long texts/information selectively
Communication skills, presenting an argument and backing it up with sources
The quality aspects of the course were:
Viewing education as individual, understanding education in a broad sense
Being able to reflect and critique my own experiences
I found the course gave a broad and critical view of education from many viewpoints. In particular the module content seemed to relate well and, especially when researching in year three, I was able to use earlier modules. The tutors and staff are extremely helpful and approachable.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies with Philosophy 1995 - 98
I thoroughly enjoyed studying Education Studies at King Alfreds College and found it a rewarding and stimulating experience. When I arrived at King Alfreds I was interested in education and had thoughts about training to be a teacher. The course broadened what I believed education was and allowed me to reflect on this through a variety of theoretical perspectives. I particularly enjoyed the multi- disciplinary aspect of the course allowing us to study education from philosophical, sociological and historical viewpoints. I hope in the future to train to be a teacher and believe this course has been an excellent preparation for this as it has given me the skills to critically analyse the role of the teachers, pupils and the education system as a whole. I am currently undertaking postgraduate study and I feel that the course gave me the skills and the desire to undertake further study.
I found the staff in the Education Studies department friendly and approachable and always encouraged students to take an active role in decision-making and always listened to their thoughts and criticisms of the course.
In terms of practical skills... I feel that I have learnt to structure my thoughts more and think more deeply and critically about issues. An integral part of the course was open discussion between students and lecturers... I believed over the three years I gained confidence in formulating and expressing my views verbally.
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies with History of Art 1995-98
One of my overriding feelings about Education Studies is that it was the subject that really stretched me and encouraged me to push myself further than I had ever before. I began the course not really knowing what Education Studies was and not intending to study it after the first year of my course. However, once I had started it I simply couldn't give it up.
Initially the course enabled me to look at my own educational experience with an entirely new critical perspective, and I feel that this was an excellent foundation for the rest of the course. As students we were able to begin the critical process with a subject we knew very well: our own experience, and from that moved on to examine in greater detail the common themes that arose.
The course, for me, was about looking behind assumptions and truths, firstly to recognise that what I thought was the truth may not be after all, and secondly to look at how that concept had been constructed, why it had been constructed, and who was instrumental in that process. This form of critical deconstruction was something I had never been exposed to before and gave education a new depth of meaning. The skills that I developed through this have been very important within my current job. I work for the Charity Commission and my work involves considering applications with organisations wishing to become registered charities. I work very closely with legal advisors as I often have to deal with complex legal issues. I feel that if I didn't have the analytical and critical ability that I developed through Education Studies, it would be very difficult for me to do the job that I do now.
The style of the teaching on the course was new to me as it was much more interactive and participative than I had experienced previously. Whilst the lecturers provided clear guidance and were always willing to answer questions and direct debate, they did not control the learning. In this way we as students were able to take part in debates and discussions and felt that we were contributing to the learning process. It also encouraged us to do the background reading and research as we knew that we would be able to take a much more active role... Personally, it built up my confidence in being assertive in discussions which is a skill that I use now when I take part in meetings with clients. Presentations were an integral part of the assessment for Education Studies and I am very glad that I did develop this skills as I had to do give a presentation as part of my interview for my current job.
In Years Two and Three the work became much more theoretical which was both very challenging and very exciting. I appreciated the fact that the modular structure meant that I was able to pursue areas of study that I was particularly interested. At the end of my course I felt that I had only just begun to study education, owing to the depths of the subject, and I hope in future to be able to continue learning about education.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Religious Studies 1995 - 98
I think the most useful aspect of completing the course is the ability and skill with which I can now read educational papers, texts and reports, and know not only what they mean but also how to analyse and critically assess them. When first starting out on the course we would read various texts given and I basically had no idea what they meant or how to use the information given. This skill was developed over the three years and extended well beyond my expectations. This skill can now be used in all areas of life, not just at work.
Another aspect of the course which has given me tremendous self-esteem and confidence was the participation in a presentations. These were a regular part of the course and involved either working with others to present something before the whole group or presenting something on your own... Group work was brilliant preparation for the working environment which we were all preparing for. It showed us how to be a part of a group and take responsibility for that group as well as our own part to play within it. This is essential for future employment as most of us find ourselves within a work environment which is not solitary. Likewise when working alone, the presentations played a vital part in boosting self confidence not only in our own ability but also in being able to share our thoughts and arguments in whatever subject.
A further advantage gained from the course is the ability to organise and prepare in advance. These skills are proving vital to me now in my present job of teaching in a secondary school when numerous lessons must be planned in advance. My present employers commented on these skills when I went to interview. The fact that I have studied for four years despite some serious health problems and having three young children bears witness to the fact that the college did a lot to show us how to organise and plan. Without this, I would never have been able to finish the course.
On the educational side of things I feel a great advantage to many of my colleagues who have been teaching for years. King Alfreds taught us many vital things for careers in teaching, starting with reflection on recent historical events which have shaped modern educational practice, to the theories of how pupils learn. The dissertation which had to be completed in year three gave us the opportunity to study independently but the lecturers were always available with advice if we became stuck at any point. We were also given the opportunity to consider and reflect on our own educational experience this which in turn shapes our approach to education now.
In brief, the quality of the educational experience at King Alfreds and in particular on the programme for Education Study has been invaluable to me. It has given me a far greater insight into the work I am now doing and into the behaviours, attitudes and learning abilities of the pupils I now teach.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Philosophy 1994 - 97
In January 2000 I was awarded the degree of M.A. in literature, religion and philosophy by the University of Sussex following the completion of a one-year full-time course there. This choice of degree and arose directly from my studies at King Alfreds College and, in particular, from the area of study of my final year dissertation in Education Studies.
When I began my degree at King Alfreds I chose Education Studies as the third of three subject areas - the other two being English and Philosophy - which together made up a modular degree. It was my intention at that time to make English the main focus of my degree. At the end of the first year, however, as a result of the quality of the educational experiences to which had been introduced in Education Studies, I decided to pursue my studies in this area and combine Education Studies and philosophy in a joint honours degree.
The educational experiences offered by Education Studies was one in which rigour and high expectations together with challenging and wide ranging course content provided the opportunity for students to develop both intellectually and personally. I found the environment to be supportive, whilst at the same time leaving me space to explore ideas for myself. My preconceptions about education were challenged and I was encouraged to examine and question my views and attitudes and to reflect on them in the light of different and frequently conflicting perspectives. As well as providing an introduction to numerous and varied texts and viewpoints, Education Studies stressed the importance of developing a high standard in essay writing and referencing, and encouraged the development of skills in group discussions, research, and use of ICT. Opportunities were also provided for students to gain first hand experience of different educational institutions in organised visits to schools.
I believe that the quality of the educational experience offered by Education Studies can be expressed by saying that the students education is not separate from his/her study of the question of education. In other words, Education Studies is both the study of education and the education of students through this study. What is studied encompasses history, sociology, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion... as well as contemporary educational issues and questions of power, gender, race, etc, but the student does not exist as a passive observer in this process. By engaging with the various arguments and perspectives, and thinking through ideas for myself, I found that my own views were challenged and underwent many changes - this was, at the same time, both a disconcerting and an immensely valuable educational experience - one which lasts far longer than the duration of the degree course.
Education Studies has given me the opportunity to consider the question of what counts as education and how the experience of learning may be understood in the wider sense. To see oneself as still learning and to view encounters with others, both personally and in the workplace, as occasions for continued education and personal development is, I believe, to remain open to new ideas and to treat difficulties and challenges as opportunities to explore alternative approaches and outcomes.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies, Music and Religious Studies 1994 - 97
Since obtaining my degree as a mature student I have noticed a subtle change in the way some of my husbands male colleagues listen to me. They seem to be more attentive, more prepared to discuss serious issues and no longer assume an expression of amused indulgence.
BA Hons. (1st) Education Studies and History of Art 1994 - 97
I remember that I took Education Studies as my third option. I had chosen psychology and art history and needed a third subject. However, although it was chosen as an extra, I found it so challenging/interesting that at the end of the first year I dropped psychology to focus on Education Studies.
In terms of career options, Education Studies does not necessarily qualify you for a specific career. Within education, the powers that be still see a specific teaching qualification as the necessary requisite for being involved with education. This is a real shame as Education Studies does provide an invaluable insight into the ways that we perceive learning/knowledge. It certainly provoked many students understanding of what education is and challenged them to question their own beliefs/perspectives. As such, it is a subject that would be invaluable to NQTs alongside learning how to meet targets and teach the national curriculum!
For me personally, it helped extend my own beliefs about the narrowness of the education we receive as young adults and probably aided the clarity of my thoughts. One of the key elements of the course for me was the move away from a didactic approach to student learning towards a constant provoking of students mindsets. This opening up of the mind as opposed to closing it down is, for me, one of the best memories of King Alfreds and something that I continue to strive for in my own studies and work since. I would strongly recommend Education Studies to all level 1 students almost as a prerequisite to developing critical learning a higher level.
Nigel, I have to say that much of the above was down to the style of the tutoring in Education Studies. Being involved as a lecturer now, and hopefully striving (if not always achieving) to provoke students learning and questioning skills, I know that your style of teaching was perfect and provoking me in my studies, a quality that is sadly lacking in most academic courses.
I am still lecturing at the Institute... I enjoy the students but I don't think I can bury myself in academia... I am getting more involved in training school governors and also going into schools that are deemed to be failing and guiding their governing bodies to improve their effectiveness. I have also applied to DFEE to be involved as a national adviser to governing bodies and head teachers.
BA Hons. (2.2) Education Studies with Psychology 1994-97
During my studies at Winchester I was able to develop a good understanding of education and in particular the philosophies surrounding current legislation and past schools of thought. I really enjoyed the course and I feel the experience of Education Studies has enabled me to bring many skills and abilities to my current employer Advanced Training Ltd.
At the end of the course I was delighted to have achieved my objective but gradually realised how much it was going to miss the challenge of research.
I am now working for a training organisation in the South West of England....I have been able to bring excellent organisational skills and communication skills to the Company and find that my previous experience at King Alfreds College assisted my own personal development.
BA Hons. (2.1) History and Education Studies 1993-96
Since graduating in 1996 with a degree in History and Education Studies, I went on to complete a PGCE at King Alfreds and am now in my the third year of teaching at Hiltingbury Junior School. I am just about to embark on the mentor training course at King Alfreds and have a PGCE student in my class this term - so it is a good time for me to think back to how well prepared I felt when I began the PGCE course.
Many aspects of the Education Studies programme helped to prepare me for the PGCE course and my career in teaching. One of my earliest memories of the course is that I had the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences of education and consider my educational values...
My growing awareness of current educational trends and issues and the various theoretical perspectives we explored later in the course also provided me with a valuable insight into the teaching and learning process. I was particularly interested in gender issues, and still find the analysis of test results and how we teach boys and girls fascinating!
As the PGCE course is so condensed, I feel that the Education Studies programme gave me the opportunity to really consider what education means to me and has helped me to become a more reflective teacher.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies with Social, Economic and Political History 1993-96
For me, returning to higher education, having first worked full-time for several years before hand, has been educational. It has been exceptionally difficult adapting to the change in culture but simultaneously all the more rewarding. For me, Education Studies, as it is practised at King Alfreds College, has allowed me to take account of my experience prior to my return to higher education and to rethink the very meaning of experience itself. It has forced me to challenge some of my own preconceptions and to see that challenge as both educational and as a stimulus for radical change.
Educational Studies has not only introduced me to the subject of critical thought and its social and political implications - it has also nursed within me a passionate and everlasting love of learning. In addition to teaching the academic skills it has also taught me to have more faith in myself as a person, to develop that faith in the face of failure, and to encourage in others a similar faith in themselves. I have learnt to laugh and cry and to accept moments of happiness and sadness as part of the very process of education that Education Studies provides. I have also learnt invaluable lessons in trust and friendship which I think the intimacy of the comparatively small institution of King Alfreds College itself - while it may have its disadvantages - has at the same time enhanced.
Education Studies has not only provided me with the opportunity to explore avenues that I might otherwise not have explored, and in ways that I might not have considered, but it has also given me the time and space to develop my own interests. While, for me, Education Studies fundamentally questions the typical understanding of education, offering a less means oriented concept of education and offering in its place a more deepened understanding of what is to count as education - which I can only equate with the meaning of the Greek word Paideia - it nevertheless, at the same time, recognises an important role for education. I have begun to think more seriously about what I would like to do in the future, commensurate with my abilities, in the light of the lessons that I have learnt both about myself in my experience as a student and from the subjects to which I have been introduced. Through Education Studies I have learnt to increase my expectations of myself, to accept the disappointments that arise when those expectations contradict themselves, and to enjoy the uncertainty that both precedes and succeeds the risk of new endeavours. I would hope that a prospective employer would benefit from the skills and insights that I have acquired since returning to higher education and at the same time encourage me to develop them further.
As prejudiced as I am, I consider myself fortunate to have been party to an experience that I think only studying at King Alfreds College in general, and Education Studies in particular, could have given me. As demanding as it has been and, at the same time, yet still promises to be, I would not forego my experience as either an undergraduate or postgraduate student at the College: the way in which education is formulated within Education Studies means that, wherever I may be, I will not have to.
BA Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Religious Studies 1993 - 96
Reflecting back on the three years spent studying at King Alfreds College and in particular the Education Studies modules I now realise how much the course has assisted and played a part in my life.
The Education Studies modules confirmed and encouraged me to apply to do the PGCE and ultimately to enter the teaching profession. This was reinforced throughout the course and in particular by a number of visits to both primary and secondary schools.
Various modules which focused on theoretical perspectives within education, for example, Power in Education and Educational Thought, have given me a deeper understanding of the different aspects of education and I have been able to apply a number of strategies learnt to my teaching on a day-to-day basis. They have assisted me in critically analysing the theories put forward by people such as Rousseau, Durkheim, A.S. Neill and Freire who I still refer to a number of years later after reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
After the three years of study I felt much more confident to critically self- evaluate myself and my own values and principles in education, in particular the role of education within children's lives. The compulsory ICT module has proved to be invaluable as it has given me a starting block to work from...
Many of the objectives and learning outcomes on the Education Studies course were brought to life due to the teaching staff and their abilities to make individuals question and research in a deeper and critical way. It was during the third year of the course that I noticed how much I had progressed. I extended myself way beyond my own expectations and only wish I could have carried on for a couple more years.
BA Hons. (2.1)Education Studies and American Studies 1993-1996
My reason for undertaking the degree course was for personal fulfilment, without any object of obtaining remunerative employment at its conclusion. In some respects the subjects I choose to study were secondary to my desire for personal development and to prove to myself that I could do it. However, at the time my son was at primary school and I found that his experiences of education were very different from my own and there were many things about modern education that I did not understand. This was an important factor in my decision to embark on the Education Studies programme, which in turn provided me with valuable insights into the ideology that underpins modern educational practice.
The course required the completion of a specified number of modules and inevitably some were more appropriate to my interests than others. I particularly enjoyed, contrary to what I might have thought at the outset, those where the students were given the opportunity to participate in debate and to enter into discussion. These were often those relating to theoretical perspectives relevant to Education Studies.
At the outset the assignments seemed daunting but gradually I learned how to research appropriately and looked forward to stretching myself to present work of increasing depth. In all instances staff were available to give advice.
BSc Hons. (2.1) Education Studies and Psychology 1992 - 96
Some time has passed since I engaged with the process of the Education Studies programme. It was a struggle, a struggle of major importance in my life. I fought myself as I reached various hurdles but came to realise the importance of stepping into fear - and of accurate referencing!!.
I learnt to appreciate contradiction, mostly the contradictions within myself. I now value experience rather than the end gain but I know the importance of the goal in defining a task and the satisfaction that comes with the completion of it. I appreciate that freedom requires the boundaries introduced by structure and discipline, particularly self-discipline.
At present I work with young adults who have underachieved at school and have various barriers to employment. My learning, through Education Studies, helps me to have the expectation that our clients will step outside of their comfort zone. This is vital to our way of working, in a unique programme delivered for the Employment Service.
At the end of those years of study, with lifelong friends made along the way, I was ready to begin. I stopped worrying about who I was and began to be myself and put myself into my work.
I continue to be motivated by the possibility of self- development and shall remain in lifelong learning as teacher and student.
BA Hons. (2.1) History with Education Studies 1992 - 96
Is what I learnt of use to me in my current job? In terms of subject matter, educational theory doesnt play a major role in technical recruitment! In terms of my development as a person that took place whilst I was at King Alfreds College I am 100% certain that the pre-KAC me wouldnt even have applied for this job in the first place.