What Education Studies is and what it might be

Patrick Ainley


Education Studies at the University of Greenwich is presented as an example of what Education Studies is – at least at one Higher Education Institution. As a field of practice to which a body of knowledge can be applied, Education Studies shares common features with other disciplinary fields of study. It is also unique in that its field – learning, is also what its students do – learn. What Education Studies isn’t is then discussed in relation to studies of schooling, the psychology of learning, sociology of education, traditional education degrees and teacher training. Lastly, what Education Studies could become is presented with reference to Ranson’s (1993) argument for the centrality of education as the common focus of all HE study. It is suggested that the subject could then contribute to expanding critical space in (higher) education through making research/ scholarship and creation an integral part of the Independent Study of all students at all levels of learning. This would be a necessary complement to the wider democratic transformation now demanded for human survival. It would also accord with what Marx called humanity’s “species being” as a “learning animal” (Morris). Such a social theory of learning can discriminate between information and competence at one level of learning and (corresponding terms) knowledge and skill at another more generalised level in relation to new divisions of knowledge and labour. Potentially these levels can be combined to create a new form of polytechnic learning, relating theory to practice, education to training and further to higher education.

Ainley, P. (2009) What Education Studies is and what it might be. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 2(1). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=469 [Accessed 15 Apr, 2024].