Whenever I tell people that I’m studying Education at Cambridge I’m met with the ever-infuriating response ‘so you’re training to be a teacher then?’ No, I say with a sigh – in fact a lot of people on this course find themselves giving a similar response on almost daily basis.
I think this misconception largely comes down to the fact that very few people who aren’t actually studying it understand what our course is about. To be honest, I’m not even sure I have all the facts – but I’m going to try my best here to explain some of the key things you should know about studying Education as an undergraduate.
- It’s extremely multidisciplinary ?
One of the reasons it can be difficult to describe what we do in Education is because the undergraduate course covers such a breadth of disciplines and specialisms. Through pursuing one of the 3 ‘tracks’ available, you are able to combine learning about the key issues which shape education as a whole with in-depth subject knowledge in your area of interest.
As a student on the English, Drama & the Arts track (EEDA) I am able to explore my love of literature and literary criticism, alongside thinking about literacy development in the wider contexts of educational policy.
The core modules we study have also introduced me to new and challenging disciplines which I hadn’t encountered before coming to university – sociology, philosophy, psychology… the list goes on!
- It involves thinking about why and how education exists
Different from teacher training programmes, a lot of the work in the undergraduate course – especially in first year – starts from a theoretical standpoint. The modules you take are all about understanding what education is, how it works and what kind of impact it can have in practice.
These ideas are introduced in lectures, then explored and expanded upon in the independent research & reading you undertake in preparation for discussions with your peers.
There’s also a chance in first year to complete coursework – a great opportunity to apply the ideas you’ve been grappling with to reflect on your own educational experiences.
- It is highly varied, immersive and collaborative
One of the best things about studying Education at Cambridge is that it’s a course which brings together people with such a vast array of educational experiences – different perspectives which spark some incredible discussions and present so many opportunities to learn.
Coming into Cambridge I was worried that as a student from a working-class background I would feel out of my depth, but over this first year my course has helped me realise that these differences mean I always have something new to offer a discussion.
For example, in supervisions (smaller group discussions) for core modules, my partners come from across the 3 ‘tracks’ – meaning we have the chance to share what we’ve each decided to write about, what we’ve found interesting and how certain ideas have resonated with our personal experiences of education.
It’s this diverse range of disciplines, subject content, and people which I feel makes the Education course here at Cambridge so dynamic. It also means that there are routes into lots of different professions including policy, academic research, publishing, international development and so much more.
So, although Education is still a bit tricky to describe in such a short space, I hope this has helped. If you have further questions about the course or want to know more about the admissions process, check out the Faculty of Education website!