module specification

ED7145 - Social Justice Education (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Social Justice Education
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Coursework
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

The module aims to:
• introduce students to multiple perspectives on theories of social justice;
• encourage students to develop and articulate a standpoint with respect to theories and models of social justice education;  
• provide knowledge with which students can consider socio-political and professional contexts for social justice;
• explore conflicts within curricula, pedagogy and practice with respect to concerns for social justice in education


The module discusses notions of social justice in education from philosophical, sociological and political perspectives and explores how they script curricular responses.

Focus is given to the three-dimensional approach to Social Justice, described by Fraser (1998), based on Redistribution of resources, goods, services, and capabilities; recognition - cultural respect and valuing differences; and, representation – involving inclusion in education practice and policy. Necessarily it involves exploration of the affects of social class, ethnicity, gender etc., on actors (both learners and educators) in formal education.

It explores theories that conceive education as a key variable in the creation of fairer societies and the implication that these necessitate commitment of all actors involved in the teaching-learning process. With respect to this, students are encouraged to articulate their own vision of social justice in education and reflect on how this may lead to contestation within the education system.

Learning Outcomes LO1 - LO4


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures and seminars delivered, once a week, in three hours blocks in the evenings. These contact sessions will be accompanied by some opportunities to extend understanding and analysis of key ideas and issues in the virtual learning space for the module and reading some academic educational research to deepen parts of the theory.

Learning outcomes

On completing this module, the students will be able to:
1. identify and understand key theories in social justice education;
2. appreciate a range of perspectives on social justice in education;
3. demonstrate understanding of how the concept of social justice is applied in different contexts
4. articulate a personal standpoint with regard to social justice in education and use this to analyse policy and practice in context

Assessment strategy

Indicative assessment task:
An essay that sets out and problematizes a vision of social justice in education
Summative Assessment:
• 100% by coursework: one 5000 word essay to be submitted in week 14.


Core reading.

Apple, M. and Beane, J [eds] (1999), Democratic Schools: Lessons from the Chalk Face Buckingham :OU Press

Banks J. A. (2014 5th edition.  Introduction to Multicultural education. London: Pearson

Fraser, N. (1998). Social justice in the age of identity politics: Redistribution, recognition, and participation. In L. Ray y A. Sayer (Eds.), Culture and Economy after the Cultural Turn (pp. 25- 52). London: Sage Publications.

Gillborn, D (2008) Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy, Abingdon: Routledge
Leach, J and Moon, B (2008) The Power of Pedagogy London: Sage

Additional Reading

Apple, M. (2004) Ideology and Curriculum, 3rd edition, London: Routledge.

Brighouse, H. (2006). On education. London New York: Routledge

Cummins, J. and Swain, M. (2014). Bilingualism in education: Aspects of theory, research and practice. London: Routledge

Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and Education. NY: Touchstone.

Dewey, J. (2004). Democracy and Education. NY: Dover Publications.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Continuum.

Gewirtz, S. (1998). Conceptualizing social justice in education: Mapping the territory. Journal of Education Policy, 13(4), 469-484.

Lee, J. (2002). Racial and ethnic achievement gap trends: Reversing the progress toward equity? Educational Researcher, 31(1), 3-12.

McGregor,G.,  Mills, M., Thomson, P. And Pennacchia, J (2018) Alternative Educational programmes, School and Social Justice, London: Routledge

McNamara, O. and McNicholl, J. (2018) Poverty Discourse in Teacher Education, London: Routledge

McDonald, M. (2005).The integration of social justice in teacher education: Dimensions of prospective teachers’ opportunities to learn. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(5), 418-435.

Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Oxford: OUP.

Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice. London: Penugin.

Walker, M. (2003). Framing social justice in education: What does the ‘capabilities’ approach offer? British Journal of Educational Studies, 51(2), 168-187.

Wiedeman, C. (2002). Teacher preparation, social justice, equity: A review of the literature. Equity and Excellence in Education, 35(3), 200-211.

Young, I. M. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Young, I. M. (2000). The five faces of oppression. in M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, R. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, and X. Zuniga (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 35-49). NY: Routledge.

Zeichner, K. M. (2009). Teacher education and the struggle for social justice. NY: Routledge.

British Educational Research

British Journal of Educational Studies

British Journal of Sociology of Education

Journal of Philosophy of Education

Educational Review

Critical Studies in Education


The Sociological Review -