Ref: C2523767

This Philosophy course is called Big Ideas. It is a course which takes in politics, philosophy, sociology, psychology and many sciences. It takes the ideas and work of a specific thinker and uses these as a framework for discussion and examination -- with special relevance to how we live our lives in the 21st Century. The course takes in lots of discussion and is very participative.

Course aim

a) Familiarise participants with the major concepts concerning politics, philosophy, science, sociology, anthropology and education b) Develop skills in clear discussion and debate.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Students need a Level 1 qualification in English to join this course
  • Please note: A Level 1 English qualification is desirable but not essential as long as the student can read and speak English competently.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Broadly outline the content of three of the topic areas that we discuss during the course
  • Discuss how the work of individuals covered has impacted on society
  • Generally contribute to group discussion by asking questions and making constructive comment.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time
  • There will be emphasis on participation throughout, especially through small group tasks, discussion and focused debate. You will be encouraged to read outside of class time, but this is not essential.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Via verbal feedback from the tutor and peers, and their own self-assessment on a periodic basis.

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Access to the Internet (via computer or mobile device) would be greatly advantageous. Also an email account.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Reading materials are circulated via email three days before the relevant session. See also handout resources at: (Click 'Handouts' at top of page, and the click the category 'WEA')

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Students may progress on to Level 3 (and above) courses in philosophy and/or politics offered by local FE or HE institutions. For further progression options, needs should be discussed with the tutor.

Download full Course information sheet



You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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