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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EDUC5867M Children's family and personal relationships

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Hayley Davies

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will explore multiple notions of ‘the family’. It will consider emergent ideas which question a narrow concept of the ‘family’ and instead encourage a broader focus on personal life. Personal life does not describe an individual’s life, but rather their social lives; it emphasizes children’s connections with a range of others, and as such, you will study the significant relationships children and young people form in their homes, schools and communities including with parents, siblings, wider kin, friends, peers, teachers, neighbours and others. Personal life focuses on how children and young people feel connected to one another, ways of relating to - and maintaining relationships with others. We will look at a series of empirical case studies throughout the module, including for example, children’s views on and experiences of everyday relationships with siblings, parents and step parents, divorce and separation, friendships, death, bereavement and remembering, privacy and intimacy.


This module provides an introduction to the emerging field of personal life, with a focus on children’s relationships. Its objectives include to:
- Support students in exploring an emerging sub-field in the sociological study of childhood, youth and families
- Encourage students to consider the relevance of notions of family and personal life for understanding children’s relationships at home, in school and the community, and to policy and practice.
- Assist students in acquiring analytical skills for evaluating ideas about the family and personal life.
- Introduce students to real life case studies and engage them in critically analysing issues using ideas presented in the module.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:
• Explain why narrower ideas about ‘the family’ are criticised and replaced by broader ideas which focus on personal life.
• Critically evaluate theories and concepts within the fields of family and personal life and outline how these theories and concepts help us to understand children’s personal relationships.
• Identify issues or problems in children’s relational lives to which they can apply a personal life approach.
• Discuss with peers the merits and limitations of family and personal life approaches.
• Present a coherent written argument using theories, concepts and contemporary issues discussed on the module in the personal life biographical exercise.
• Develop an original visual map or diagram which can represent a personal community and the nature of relationships included in that community, and offer a rationale for their visual representation.


This module will introduce students to the study of children’s relationships, respectively exploring narrower and broader conceptions of ‘family’ and ‘personal life’.

Indicative content includes:
1. Introduction to the module: what meanings are given to the terms ‘family’ and ‘personal life’?
2. From family to personal life: this session examines one of the key components of children’s personal lives in more detail – the inclusion of significant relationships within and beyond the family and home.
3. The individual in society: this session will examine the key debates which present divergent ideas about the isolated and free individual, and the individual as embedded in the social and cultural world.
4. Personal life and a biographical approach
5. Peer relations and friendships
6. Children, parental separation and divorce- maintaining relationships
7. Children’s sibling relationships
8. Assessment support session
9. Negotiating family and relational troubles
10. Death, bereavement and remembering
11. This final session

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours275.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be required to undertake preparatory readings for lectures and seminars and they will be given lists of suggested follow-up readings. Students will be expected to identify relevant resources within the University of Leeds library and through electronic journals. Students will also be set tasks to complete in preparation for seminar discussions.
Independent study will:
- Enhance student knowledge about weekly lectures, and enable them to ask critical questions and engage in informed debates within the lectures and seminars.
- Enable students to develop knowledge specific to their areas of interest.
- Inform the development of both aspects of their final assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored in the following ways:
- Through student participation in lectures and seminars
- Through plans/drafts that students submit for feedback before their final assignment submission
- Through inviting informal student feedback on the module throughout.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Personal StatementPersonal life biographical exercise70.00
ProjectAn original visual map or diagram of a personal community, with an accompanying rationale.30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/03/2016


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