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BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

The degree aims to develop theoretical and practical knowledge about children and young people. It is designed for students working with or for children and young people, in a wide range of settings, and for students with a general interest in the study of childhood and youth.

The degree aims to:
  • provide the necessary concepts, theories, knowledge and skills base to understand the lives of children and young people 
  • encourage both critical reflection on and critical analysis of practices affecting children and young people 
  • give you the opportunity to examine your own value base in relation to wider views on childhood and youth 
  • develop appropriate analytical, research and conceptual skills needed to link theory, practice and experience 
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of children's rights 
  • deepen your appreciation of the diversity of children's experiences. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

When you complete your studies you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • different theoretical perspectives that contribute to the study of childhood and youth, including biological, anthropological, psychological, sociological, legal, cultural and historical accounts, and how these inform effective communication with children and young people 
  • the way ethnicity, religion, caste/class, gender, sexuality and disability shape childhood and youth; the impact of differentiation, inequality and exclusion; strategies designed to tackle these issues including safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people 
  • policies and provisions relating to regulation/promotion of children and young people's status, welfare, health and learning, including how these impact on home, school, work and other contexts, and an appreciation of the importance of multi-agency working 
  • the principles underlying a rights approach to childhood and youth issues and how these may be applied to a variety of situations within international and national contexts including how these can support transitions 
  • a range of approaches and methods used in research with children and young people. 

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • analyse critically and systematically concepts, theories, policies and practices concerning children and young people 
  • understand and comment critically on the contributions of different approaches to the study of childhood and youth 
  • critically understand the significance and limitations of theory and research 
  • formulate questions that can be answered through research, identify appropriate methods, analyse evidence and assess its significance 
  • identify and critically reflect on connections and discontinuities between knowledge and its application in practical contexts, and how this might impact on effective communication and welfare promotion with and for children and young people. 

Practical and/or professional skills

A degree in Childhood and Youth Studies will give you knowledge and analytical skills relevant to many careers in childcare, health and education; working with families; playwork, or working with young people. However, it is likely that most graduates will be required to undertake postgraduate training in specialist areas before progressing to employment in specialist fields. You should always check the relevance of your degree if you are considering teaching as this degree is not a qualifying programme for teaching.

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • learn from personal experience and apply theory to practice issues and dilemmas and learn from feedback to improve performance 
  • analyse features of contemporary childhood (and the cultural representation of childhood in different economic and socio-cultural contexts) in an historical and/or international framework including multi-agency working 
  • identify and reflect on your own values and position and those of others and assess their relationships to policy and practice 
  • carry out project-based work on aspects of childhood studies, critically evaluating approaches to enquiry, drawing on appropriate methodologies and disciplinary perspectives and paying due regard to the importance of information sharing
  • accommodate new principles, understandings and evidence and formulate and justify proposals for action in the light of these.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • organise and articulate opinions and arguments, taking account of appropriate conventions of academic writing 
  • communicate accurately and clearly in styles adapted to the purpose and context including interpretation of numerical and graphical data when appropriate 
  • read purposefully and critically, identifying and recording what is relevant from a range of resource material, and responding sensitively and critically to diverse viewpoints 
  • analyse tasks, plan and manage time 
  • learn from a variety of different media and different teaching methods. 

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding is taught through diverse study materials, including multimedia. You will develop your knowledge and understanding through critical engagement with the material. Audio-visual materials offer opportunities to observe and hear from children and young people and to hear from service users, practitioners and researchers. You will work independently with the study materials but are encouraged to form self-help groups with other students communicating face to face, by telephone, email, etc. Tutors support your learning in tutorials and day schools organised locally (where applicable).

The assessment process requires you to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and theories, to present arguments, to develop and evaluate ideas and to show how they apply these to practice. You are encouraged to assess your own progress frequently through activities in the study material.

Key skills are developed through study guide activities and tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that offer opportunities to practice and improve. Assessment is through TMAs and in some modules an end-of-module assessment (EMA).

Professional and practice skills are developed as part of an increased understanding and awareness of the experiences of children and young people, and what constitutes good practice. The assessment of practice on the relevant OU level 1 modules is via a virtual project designed as part of the EMA.