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  • Writer's pictureEllen Y

How did the study of education evolve?

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

What is the "New Education Study" and how is it relevant to your daily life?


The term "education" refers to the process of learning and the acquisition of knowledge or skills in a particular field. Formal education means the knowledge is delivered in a classroom-based environment, provided by trained teachers; while informal education happens outside the classroom, in museums, libraries or at home. Nevertheless, education is a process existed throughout human history, from the learning of language as a baby to processing big data with computers.

Although education forms an important part of our life, it was until the 1950s that the study of education was developed. The "New Education Studies" was created from a range of subjects existing in universities, including Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy and the History of Education. The study, as declared in the Robbins Report (1963), intended to develop teaching into an all-graduate profession so that the demand of high-quality teachers after the Second World War could be met.

The New Education Studies was further developed when the effort was made to combine the theoretical and academic study together, including the knowledge of education, classroom management and control. This became what as known as the curriculum. The curriculum helped the education programmes to become more integrated at school. (Lawn and Furlong 2009)

Soon after the curriculum was developed, the study of education was affected by the political and economic pressures in the 1970s and 80s. Teachers were criticised for being too removed from classrooms and thus the academic side of education studies was removed from the teacher training programme. This led to the formation of Education Studies as a separate course.

Today, Education Studies has become a complete academic course which students can apply at different universities. Some students would prefer to take on board with another subject while the others would complete a separate PGCE (the teaching qualification in short).

Education Studies will continue to evolve through time. Recently, the University of Cambridge has adjusted its programme to create more interaction between the studies and the academic subject the student picked. This movement may be a milestone for the evolution of Education Studies or a step back to the earlier approach of having the theoretical and academic knowledge together. Would this raise any conflict of interest in Education? We will wait and see.

Let me know your thoughts by commenting down below. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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