EDUC 758 : Winners and Losers? Social Theories of Education

Education and Social Work

2024 Semester One (1243) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines education as a contested site by applying selected critical social theories to current practice and policy issues in a range of educational sectors, from early childhood to tertiary education. Asks whose interests are being most served in the ways in which we currently arrange education and imagines how education could be arranged otherwise.

Course Overview

The idea of ‘theory’ can be frightening because it suggests both difficult language and detachment from the ‘reality’ of the practice of education. But, for those interested in thinking critically about education, theory is a potent source of new questions about what happens in education as well as new answers to old questions. Theory, then, is a fruitful resource for anyone who wants to engage in researching education.

'Winners and losers: Social theories of education' is designed to introduce new graduate students to a limited body of important theories in some depth. These theories are selected because they have been – or are coming to be – influential in education research and scholarship in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere.

This graduate course is reading and discussion-based in mode. There is room to follow your own interests in assignments within the broad scope outlined here, and we share food and companionship during class.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically reflect on a range of sociological concepts, terms and theories and apply these to examine selected issues or problems from an educational sector. (Capability 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.3, 5.2 and 6.1)
  2. Understand, and give examples of, the generative possibilities of theory for education research. (Capability 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 6.1)
  3. Critically analyse and explain the arguments presented in readings discussed during the course. (Capability 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 6.1)
  4. Have made progress towards developing a strong scholarly voice for their academic writing. (Capability 6.1 and 8.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Review of readings 20% Individual Coursework
Reflection on theory 30% Individual Coursework
Essay 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Review of readings
Reflection on theory

To pass this course students must submit all assessments and achieve at least 50% for the overall course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30-point postgraduate course and students are expected to spend 20 hours per week on each 30-point course they are enrolled in.

This course comprises 12 weeks of semester time, plus 2 weeks of study time in the middle of the semester. Each week of semester, you are expected to commit to 3 hours of face-to-face seminar-style classes, 12 hours of independent reading, thinking and note-taking about the content, and 5 hours of work on coursework assignments. During study weeks, there are no classes but the expectations of time on independent study remain the same.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at the weekly seminar-style classes in order to be able to complete components of the course, especially the first assignment (Review of readings). The classes will not be available as recordings because they are reading and discussion based.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

In the middle of semester, my regular practice is to invite anonymous formative feedback on your experiences of the course with suggestions for tweaks to the pedagogy as we go into the second half. This allows your feedback to shape the course as you experience it.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 07/11/2023 07:07 p.m.