Postgraduate taught 

Adult Education, Community Development & Youth Work MEd/PgDip

Working with Young People: Education and Learning for Change EDUC5415

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course draws on social, emotional, cultural and pedagogical theories and considers 1. the development and transitions of young people and their learning experiences particularly with reference to health and well-being, family, social and economic status, pedagogy, schooling and the curriculum, literacy and language, learning outside school and the various physical, social, emotional and educational transitions they experience. 2. Policy changes designed to influence the experiences of youth, the research and/or assumptions on which they are based as well as the research into the effects of the policies are also examined. 3. The ways in which those working with youth can draw on extant research, knowledge and understanding to develop their practice.




30% Weighting

Students will do a small group presentation in which they identify and critically analyse an item, photograph, poem etc. that depicts youth culture in a chosen context. Students will make reference to relevant literature and policy and include a critical discussion that identifies ways of working with young people that promote positive transformation.


70% Weighting

The students will write a 2000-word essay in which they apply the work of key theorists to empirical research on young people.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To enable students to understand and critically examine theories relevant to young people's learning and development, particularly in relation to transitions. Students will engage with concepts such as security (Water and Cummings), resilience (Werner), morality (Eisenberg) as they relate to adolescent development, and the work of educational theorists such as Vygotsky, Mezirow and Freire). Students will be able to examine some key changes in educational policy (eg Curriculum for Excellence) and consider their effectiveness in the light of the intentions behind the changes, eg inclusion, and the empirical research evidence.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


Critically examine and evaluate a range of contemporary social theories;

Analyse and articulate the complex interplay between theory and empirical research;

Identify the key ways in which young people's lives are changing;

Recognise the trends in youth policy in the UK and other advanced societies;

Demonstrate critical thinking and dialogical skills.


In order to do this successful students will need to:

delineate, from a critical review of the literature an issue of strategic importance to their field of concern

adopt and demonstrate an ethical approach to the research process and to research materials

develop from such a strategic issue a series of researchable questions which will act as the conceptual basis of the research

develop a research strategy, whether historical, philosophical or other, which is adequate to the research questions

develop rigorous methods of engagement with research material which are adequate to the research strategy

analyse research material in a manner consistent with its nature and the research questions posed

draw conclusions from the research process which are rooted in the research and are in proportion to its scope

reflect critically, in the light of the conclusions of the research, on the literature and, as appropriate, on professional experience or other relevant context where appropriate, arguing priorities for future development

present a text which conforms to the remit and guidelines for completion of the dissertation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.