Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Reading the Classroom: from the Nursery to the University
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assignment  3000-word essay or a 2000-word creative response and 1000-word critical commentary.  100%
Supplementary Assessment Assignment  3000-word essay or a 2000-word creative response and 1000-word critical commentary.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of a diverse range of texts that include depictions of formal and/or informal educational settings.

Engage in comparative discussions of texts that span a range of genres and time periods.

Produce critical and/or creative responses to the set texts that engage with relevant critical debates, themes and contexts.

Demonstrate developing skills of independent thought and research.

Brief description

This module considers representations of education in literature from the long nineteenth century into the early years of the twenty-first century, from depictions of teachers and teaching institutions, pupil/student life, and the role of education in society and in individuals’ lives, to attempts to capture the actual processes of learning. It is divided into three sections – the early years, school life, and university days – in order to consider the full spectrum of the schooling years and to think about the differences between formal and informal settings. We will compare texts from across quite different time periods to examine how ideas about education have changed (and not changed) over the years. Some of the texts we consult will be examples of children’s and/or crossover literature, but many target adult readers, and we will consider the different ways in which readership affects the representation of education in each instance. The module may be of particular interest to those considering careers in teaching, but it will also be an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the enduring appeal of the fictional classroom across a variety of genres and periods.



Session 1: Introduction

Early Years
Session 2: Rational Education - Maria Edgeworth, ‘The Purple Jar’ (1789)
Session 3: The Governess - Ann Bronte, Agnes Grey (1848)
Session 4: Workshop: Close readings

Time for School
Session 5: The Birth of the Girls’ School Story - L.T. Meade, A World of Girls (1886)
Session 6: The School Set: Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
Session 7: Workshop: Schools on Screen

University Days
Session 8: Educational Barriers: extracts from Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (1895)
Session 9: The Campus Novel - Zadie Smith, On Beauty (2005)

Session 10: Module Conclusion

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Working alongside peers in group discussions in seminars, and the preparation of informal oral presentations.
Critical and analytical thinking Through close analysis of literary texts and engagement with relevant critical debates, themes and contexts.
Digital capability Use of online resources such as journal databases.
Professional communication Through participation in seminars and informal oral presentations, and through the careful preparation of written assignments.
Reflection Critical reflection and comparative discussion of literary texts in the context of a central, unifying theme.
Subject Specific Skills Detailed critical and contextual analysis of literary texts and evaluation of theoretical concepts.


This module is at CQFW Level 5