Learning and teaching in the primary years
This key introductory module covers a range of themes relating to primary education including children’s learning, inclusive education, play and creativity, home-school liaison, and the curriculum areas of English, mathematics and science. You will also develop the knowledge and skills needed to work collaboratively and equitably in a range of settings. These include evaluating and communicating information effectively to others, using digital technologies effectively for study, online collaboration and to support your continuing professional development, planning and managing time, identifying strengths and areas for development, and seeking and learning from feedback. This module will give you a sound foundation for further study relevant to a variety of roles within education.
What you will study
You will develop your understanding of the ways in which teachers teach, the curriculum that guides children’s learning, the activities that children do, and professional decision making in schools. In particular, the module will give you insights into learning and teaching in the curriculum areas of English, maths and science. However, you will also learn about approaches for supporting children’s learning across the whole primary curriculum.
Through studying the module you will acquire:
- knowledge of the nature of primary education today
- insights into how children learn, and what adults can do to promote their learning
- an understanding of the principles that underpin primary education policy and classroom practice
- an awareness of some current theories and research that support primary education
- insights into issues relating to race equality and social inclusion and the implications for practice
- an appreciation of the complementary nature of home and school learning and the role of parents and the family in children’s education
- skills related to academic reading and writing, including studying effectively online
- the ability to plan for and review your own academic and professional learning
There are no formal academic or experiential requirements to study this module.
However, we strongly advise you to arrange a practice-setting experience in a formal education setting1 for children aged between 3 and 12 – for example a school, outdoor learning centre or museum – for at least 10 days to observe learning and teaching and gain exposure to a practice context.
If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.
1Access to settings will require you to meet the ‘fit person’ criteria, in your country, to work with children. You and your setting are responsible for ensuring you meet these requirements, not the OU.
Print and online study materials including two module readers, 19 study topics presented in two books and online; a website where you can access a range of additional resources including audio-visual material, an online module guide, online forums and the module Assessment Guide.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (10.15 or higher).
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.