ArticlePDF Available

Dewey, Democracy and Education , and the school curriculum



This paper will investigate Dewey’s Democracy and Education in relation to the curriculum. There are two overarching themes to the paper: the concept of the democratic curriculum and the academic/vocational divide. Dewey is seen as a pivotal thinker in relation to collaborative learning and the child as a vital voice in any learning that takes place in the classroom and beyond. The paper explores whether issues such as school governance and pupil voice facilitate Dewey’s notion of democratic education. Alongside this is the issue of the academic/vocational divide within English education. Acknowledgement will be made of Dewey’s theory of knowledge which emphasises the connection between concept and application and how this can influence the incorporation of the theoretical and the practical as part of children’s learning in a given curriculum.
Dewey, Democracy and Education, and the School Curriculum
Education 3-13 (Special Edition)
Dr Neil Hopkins
School of Teacher Education
University of Bedfordshire, UK
This paper will investigate Dewey’s Democracy and Education in relation to the
curriculum. There are two overarching themes to the paper: the concept of the
democratic curriculum and the academic/vocational divide. Dewey is seen as a
pivotal thinker in relation to collaborative learning and the child as a vital voice in any
learning that takes place in the classroom and beyond. The paper explores whether
issues such as school governance and pupil voice facilitate Dewey’s notion of
democratic education. Alongside this is the issue of the academic/vocational divide
within English education. Acknowledgement will be made of Dewey’s theory of
knowledge which emphasises the connection between concept and application and
how this can influence the incorporation of the theoretical and the practical as part of
children’s learning in a given curriculum.
Dewey’s Democracy and Education is a landmark publication in education generally
and philosophy of education in particular. Hence, the tributes and appraisals of the
book as part of its centenary (includsing this special editaion of Education 3-13). My
focus in this chapter will be on the relavancy of Democracy and Education to the
contemporary curriculum. Does a book published over one hundred years ago still
speak to educational practitioners, adminstrators and policy-makers? The curriculum
in state education in the United Kingdom (as with many other countries) has been
increasingly politicised over the past thirty or forty years. In the UK, the introduction
of the National Curriculum in the late 1980s standardised (to a greater or lesser
extent) what children were expected to learn and when they were expected to learn
it. There have been various government strategies and policies since then (for
example, the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies in the late 1990s and the
debate over synthetic phonics over the last decade or so). So how does Democracy
and Education relate to this educational landscape?
I will be looking sepcifically at Dewey’s interpretation of democratic education and
how this can and does apply to current issues in English primary and secondary
education. Does Dewey’s ideas have any connection with the recent introduction of
Fundamental British Values? What the the implications for pupil voice of Dewey’s
views of the child in Democracy and Education? Where do Dewey’s thoughts
resonate in an era of standards, deregulation and national benchmarks? I will be
endeavouring to explore these questions alongside the other key element of this
paper: the academic/vocational divide in English education. I argue that this division
has been a key weakness of English education over many decades and Dewey
offers important insights into how this weakness can be addressed. I will offer his
theory of knowledge in Democracy and Education (in relaion to pedagogy) as a
means to overcoming such divisions in the curriculum.
It is important to emphasise, as part of this chapter, how important democratic values
and practices are for primary school practitioners (as well as their secondary
counterparts). I hope to show here how the current educational landscape (especially
the focus regarding ‘Britishness’ and PREVENT) relates clearly to the work and
expectations for teachers in both primary and secondary schools. These issues
remind us of Dewey’s contemporary relevance in the area of democracy, citizenship
and the curriculum for practitioners from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key
Stage 3.
Democracy and the democratic curriculum
It is important to state from the beginning that Dewey found the notion of state-
controlled education problematic. In this sense, he was close to liberal thinkers of the
nineteenth century such as John Stuart Mill. Dewey states:
Is it possible for an educational system to be conducted by a national state
and yet the full social ends of the educative process not to be restricted,
constrained or corrupted? (Dewey 2007: 75).
Dewey was concerned that state control of education (and, by implication, the
curriculum) could lead to situations where emphasis was placed upon the needs of
the nation rather than the needs of the individual child. This is a particular concern in
times of national strife and conflict where education is often viewed as a vehicle for
social cohesion or improving national pride and performance. It could be argued, with
the advent of the PREVENT agenda on radicalisation, the simmering issue of
Scottish independence, and the tensions created by Brexit, the UK is currently
encountering a climate of strife and conflict. Dewey was very aware of the tensions
between democratic values and nationalist sentiment in relation to education. He
argues in Democracy and Education: ‘One of the fundamental [tensions] of education
in and for a democratic society is set by the conflict of a nationalistic and wider social
aim’ (Dewey 2007: 75).
A key issue regarding the government, the curriculum and a sense of nationhood has
been the introduction of ‘Fundamental British Values’ and the PREVENT duty for
teachers in schools and colleges. Fundamental British Values (FBV) were introduced
by the Department for Education in 2014 and comprise of ‘democracy, the rule of law,
individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and
beliefs’ (DfE 2014: 5). Schools are encouraged to integrate FBV as part of pupils’
spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development (as stipulated in the
Education Act (2002)). On the surface, FBV could be seen as relatively benign – a
statement of values that most ‘reasonable’ people would conform and adhere to as a
means of working and living together within a multicultural society. However, the
labelling of these values as ‘British’ has caused considerable debate (see, for
instance, Elton-Chalcraft et al. 2017). There is little that is inherently ‘British’
regarding the values themselves and it is often taken as read what the concepts
mean. Fundamental questions occur over whether the curriculum is a place to induct
pupils into a sense of what it means to be British and the relative lack of consultation
prior to formulating these particular values as being ‘Fundamentally British’. For
Dewey, there is an inherent tension between education-for-national identity and
democratic education as a social activity and aim. He would be sceptical of
government interpretations of democracy in an educational context.
Dewey had a very deep attachment to the concept of democracy and what this
looked like within the classroom. Most people are familiar with Dewey’s famous
phrase of democracy being more than a form of government; it is primarily a form of
associated living, of conjoint communicated experience’ (Dewey 2007: 68)’. For
Dewey, democracy and democratic education was an inherently collective affair. He
states: ‘In order to have a large number of values in common, all members of the
group must have an equable opportunity to receive and take from others’ (Dewey
2007: 66). What is interesting when comparing FBV and Dewey’s views on
democracy is the relative absence of collectivity and equality regarding FBV
(although the reference to ‘democracy’ in FBV does hint at collective decision
making). Dewey viewed the classroom as a place where people discovered and
constructed knowledge together as relative equals (the teacher having a particular
responsibility due to her/his role). Education, for Dewey, is a shared enterprise and
this is what made him seem dangerous and radical to those educationalists and
politicians who had a traditional view of the curriculum and the child’s place within it.
If democracy was to have any meaning beyond the dry practice of electoral
procedures and the knockabout ‘Punch and Judy’ of parliamentary discourse, then it
should occur as part of the educational process itself. Democracy is not something
that happens (as if by magic) when a student turns into a citizen at eighteen. Children
learn to work together, discuss and argue over common themes and problems
encountered daily as part of their educational experiences. The teacher’s role is
critical but does not ‘trump’ the children’s voices within the learning environment. In
Experience and Education (1938) which was, to some extent, a follow-up to
Democracy and Education, Dewey says:
it is not the will or desire of any one person which establishes order but the
moving spirit of the whole group. The control is social, but individuals are part
of a community, not outside of it … the teacher exercises [authority] as a
representative or agent of the interests of the group as a whole (Dewey 1950:
The sense of collectivity and equality is clear in this passage. However, it also
presents challenges for teachers, pupils and policy-makers. If, as Dewey indicated in
Democracy and Education, there is a concern with state-controlled education, how
can we also advocate education as social participation without that being a
contradiction? Where do we draw the line between the classroom as a community
and the ‘national community’ controlling the classroom? Is the classroom a ‘sealed
unit’ where participation and discussion occur without inference from outside or is the
classroom an essential part of the wider community? Dewey appears to suggest the
An undesirable society … is one which internally and externally sets up
barriers to free intercourse and communication of experience. A society which
makes provision for participation in its good of all its members on equal terms
and which secures flexible readjustment of its institutions through interaction
of the different forms of associated life is in so far democratic. Such a society
must have a type of education which gives individuals a personal interest in
social relationships and control, and the habits of mind which secure social
changes without introducing disorder (Dewey 2007: 76).
As is evident, Dewey did not want to sacrifice the individual in pursuit of collective
experiences in education. In that sense, his views match the emphasis on the
individual liberty element of FBV. Much has been made in the past century of Dewey
as an advocate of ‘child-centred’ education by both his supporters and critics. Dewey
was very sensitive to such labels and how they could be misinterpreted. In
Experience and Education, Dewey was critical of those educationalists who took the
child-centred approach to mean they were absolved of curriculum planning or
organization: ‘Failure to develop a conception of organization upon the empirical and
experimental basis gives reactionaries a too easy victory (Dewey 1950: 22). Although
Dewey could see the dangers of taking such ideas too far, he believed in education
as a means of facilitating and enhancing children’s individual growth. He had a
complex view of how such growth occurred, critiquing education as form of
‘unfolding’, ‘preparation’ or ‘formation’. For Dewey,
The idea of education … is formally summed up in the idea of continuous
reconstruction of experience, an idea which is marked off from education as
preparation for a remote future, as unfolding, as external formation, and as
recapitulation of the past (Dewey 2007: 63).
Children’s experiences were to form a critical aspect of a given curriculum. It is
through experience that concept and context can work together to support and
develop a child’s understanding:
An experience, a very humble experience, is capable of generating and
carrying any amount of theory (or intellectual context), but a theory apart from
experience cannot be definitively grasped even as theory (Dewey 2007: 110).
Dewey provides here important criticisms of rote and didactic forms of pedagogy.
Without children being able to make connections between ideas and their basis in a
child’s sense of reality, the ideas remain abstractions without meaning or applicability.
These notions embody Dewey’s philosophical pragmatism and have had important
consequences regarding the curriculum and how children learn. After Democracy
and Education, it became increasingly difficult for educationalists to argue for a
curriculum where children were largely passive and seen as the recipients rather
than participants in the construction of their knowledge.
The Common School as a form of democratic education
How might Dewey’s views in Democracy and Education translate in practice? An
interesting example is provided in Michael Fielding’s paper, ‘On the Necessity of
Radical State Education: Democracy and the Common School’ (2007). In this paper,
Fielding takes the historical example of St. George-in-the-East Secondary Modern
School in Stepney, East London in 1953. According to Fielding,
St.George-in-the East had the most sophisticated formal democratic structure
I have ever encountered in a secondary school, with multiple, organically
related democratic constituencies operating on a weekly and monthly basis in
the three arenas of staff, students and school (Fielding 2007: 548-549).
Alongside this democratic decision-making structure were what Fielding terms as
‘existential frameworks for democratic living’ (‘Our Pattern’). These include values
and principles that underpin the work of the school. As part of ‘Our Pattern’, a far-
reaching set of beliefs and attitudes were formulated within the school body:
No streaming/setting heterogeneous, sometimes mixed-age grouping
No punishment restorative response
No competition emulation
No marks or prizes communal recognition
(Taken from Fielding 2007: 550)
These values and principles at St.George-in-the-East supported what Fielding calls
‘radical collegiality’ in relation to the school curriculum. Fielding depicts this idea in
the form of a table:
Radical collegiality
Emergent curriculum Dialogic engagement
School study
The community as a resource
Residential camps
Animating dynamic of mutual
learning between students and
Weekly reviews
Continuity of relationships
Form meetings, pupil panels,
pupil committees, joint panel and
whole school council
(Taken from Fielding 2007: 550)
With regards to the ‘emergent curriculum’, Fielding takes each element in turn and
described it in relation to his views on radical education:
(a) the School Study – school-wide thematic work interpreted differently by
different groups and individuals within different classes but communally
interrogated and appreciated in a variety of often mixed-aged settings; (b)
widespread use of the community, of London, not just the local district as a
learning resource; (c) daily electives in which the afternoon curriculum was
chosen by the pupils themselves; and (d) residential camps in which
intergenerational, exploratory learning was much in evidence (Fielding 2007:
This portrayal of the curriculum is a refreshing antidote to the frequent concerns and
complaints that the primary and secondary curriculums in England are too closely
linked to measurements, standards and performance in relation to external bodies
and indicators. There is a degree of curriculum choice and pupil autonomy that is
difficult (but not impossible) to create in the current school environment. I personally
found it very encouraging when staff and students from Hockerill Anglo-European
College discussed (at the Democracy and Education centennial conference at
Homerton College, Cambridge) how values and principles very similar to St.George-
in-the-East are integrated into their own curriculum as part of a conscious effort to
encourage and facilitate democratic structures and beliefs within the school.
Certainly, St.George-in-the-East epitomized the Deweyan philosophy regarding the
curriculum in its incorporation of the wider community as part of the learning
environment and the importance of students’ own interests and experiences as
central elements of the learning process.
What is particularly interesting in Fielding’s portrayal of St.George-in-the-East as a
‘common school’ is how closely many of the processes are closely to what
contemporary educators would term as ‘pupil voice’. One of the criticisms of pupil
voice in the contemporary school and classroom is how effective it is in genuinely
allowing and encouraging children to participate in their own learning. The danger is
that pupil voice becomes tokenistic or a ‘tick box’ to satisfy inspection regimes.
St.George-in-the East’s emphasis is on a dialogical relationship between teachers
and pupils, encapsulated in the phrase, ‘Animating dynamic of mutual learning
between students and staff’ (Fielding 2007: 550). This prevents pupil voice lapsing
into the tokenistic because the dynamic between teacher and students is ongoing
and pervasive. As Robin Alexander has pointed out in relation to dialogic teaching in
practice (from his work in schools in Yorkshire and Barking and Dagenham in 2001
and 2002):
There is more talking about talk, by children as well as teachers
Teachers and children are devising ground rules for the management
of discussion
Children are speculating, thinking aloud and helping each other, rather
than competing to spot the ‘right’ answer
There is greater involvement of less able children who are finding the
changed dynamics of classroom talk provide them alternative
opportunities to show competence and progress, and of those quiet,
compliant children ‘in the middle’ who are often inhibited by unfocused
questioning, the competitiveness of bidding and the dominance of
some of their peers
Student contributions are becoming more diverse. Instead of just
factual recall there are now contributions of an expository, explanatory,
justificatory or speculative kind
There is more student-student talk
(Adapted from Alexander 2008: 115-117)
Dewey and the academic/vocational divide in the curriculum
A critical area where Dewey’s Democracy and Education challenged contemporary
assumption on the curriculum was the idea that children and knowledge could be
categorized as ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’. Such divisions have straitjacketed British
education for the last 150 years both institutionally (eg. grammar and second modern
schools; sixth-forms and FE colleges) and in terms of qualifications (eg. O
Level/CSE; A Level/BTEC). These divisions have often replicated class divisions
within society-at-large to the extent that schools have often been seen as the
nurseries of inequality and social injustice.
Dewey attacked the academic/vocational divide in terms of both knowledge and
education. As a philosophical pragmatist, he was skeptical of purely abstract
knowledge, stating that ‘the separation of “mind” from direct occupation with things
throws emphasis on things at the expense of relations or connections’ (Dewey 2007:
109). These relations and connections are vital – once mind is separated from body,
we lose the vital thread that ties ideas with standard notions of reality. Knowledge is
an interaction of key concepts with the world as we know it. It is this sense of
application and practicality that distinguishes Dewey’s work from some of his
contemporaries. He was critical of
intellectualism [where] [p]ractice was not so much so much subordinated to
knowledge as treated as a kind of tag-end or aftermath of knowledge. The
educational result was only to confirm the exclusion of active pursuits from
school, save that they might be brought in for purely utilitarian ends – the
acquisition by drill of certain habits (Dewey 2007: 197).
This separation of intellect and practice, mind and body is often mirrored within the
education system itself:
To these two modes of occupation, with their distinction of servile and free
activities … correspond two types of education: the base or mechanical and
the liberal or intellectual’ (Dewey 2007: 188).
To this extent, education replicates and prepares children for the division of labour
that exists within a capitalist society. This state of affairs deeply concerned Dewey in
two ways. Firstly, as I have alluded to above, the partition of learning into academic
and vocational gives a false depiction of how knowledge is conceptualized and
transmitted. Secondly, the use of academic and vocational routes for students does
not allow each to develop their faculties to their fullest extent. In England, this divide
was formalized with the creation of grammar schools and secondary moderns after
the 1944 Education Act. The curriculum for each type of school was geared explicitly
towards the function students were expected to play once they had left the education
system. This, it could be argued, had the benefit of specialisation, allowing students
to develop their perceived strengths in tandem with others of like minds and abilities.
However, the downside of such specialization is the focus on certain areas of
education and life at the exclusion of others at an early age. Dewey, in Experience
and Education, states:
A fully integrated personality … exists only when successive experiences are
integrated with one another. It can be built up only as a world of related
objects is constructed (Dewey 1950: 43).
Such integration cannot occur effectively when the curriculum is biased towards
either the academic or the vocational. According to Dewey, the relation between
people, concepts and objects is a holistic relationship – we lose something when we
study any of them in isolation from others. Dewey was concerned that creating
different ‘pathways’ or ‘routes’ for children was preventing them from viewing
knowledge ‘in the round’ and this, in turn, would have a detrimental effect on their
overall development as students and as human beings.
The move towards comprehensive schools in the 1960s and 1970s was an attempt
to soften or eradicate these social and educational differences. Some educators saw
opportunities to transfer comprehensives into Fielding’s depiction of the Common
School (2007) (as discussed in the section above). Whilst there were notable
attempts1 at common schools, the bipartite division in the secondary examination
system (GCEs and CSEs) tended to replicate the academic/vocational divide found
in grammar schools and secondary moderns – the difference being that the students
were now studying within one institution. The movement towards GCSEs was an
attempt to remove these barriers and ensure all children took one qualification at the
end of compulsory schooling. However, even within the GCSE system itself there has
been a tendency to draw distinctions that are not dissimilar to the GCE/CSE situation
of the 1960s and 1970s in England. It could be argued that the focus on national and
local benchmarks for GCSE A*-C2 and the introduction of the EBacc have created
similar distinctions between students and subjects even within a system that is
purportedly uniform.
The introduction of the National Curriculum in England in the late 1980s provided an
entitlement for children (in terms of curriculum aims and programmes of study)
across England. What has been a concern throughout the lifespan of the National
Curriculum is the creation of ‘core’ and ‘foundation’ subjects with priority given to
those ‘core’ subjects at the expense of other areas of study. Dewey argued,
The notions that the “essentials” of elementary education are the three Rs
mechanically treated … is based upon an ignorance of the essentials needed
for realization of democratic ideals (Dewey 2007: 145).
No one would suggest that Dewey’s depiction above is bourn out in contemporary
primary and secondary classrooms in England. However, Dewey’s point does carry a
wider charge – there is a danger, when we focus on certain parts of the curriculum to
the exclusion of others, that we jeopardise the social gains we could potentially make
1 Michael Fielding offers Countesthorpe Community College, Leicestershire and Bishops
Park College, Clacton as examples (Fielding 2007: 551).
2 It will be interesting to see if this process remains as the GCSEs revert to a numerical
grading system (9-1).
when education strives towards being more democratic. For Dewey, such an
education contained elements of both the academic and the vocational.
Does the ‘creative curriculum’ challenge this divide?
Over the past ten or fifteen years, many primary and secondary schools have taken a
more holistic, integrated or thematic approach to the curriculum. This has sometimes
been described as a ‘creative curriculum’ although other terms have also been used.
I am going to look briefly at one instance of such an approach. The school in
question is Kingsholm Primary School in Gloucester. The school was the subject of a
Teachers TV broadcast entitled ‘Primary Topic Work – Customise Your Curriculum:
Giant Leaps’.
Kingsholm Primary made a strategic decision to move from a subject-based to a
thematic curriculum to meet the perceived needs of the pupils at the school. As can
be seen in Figure 2 below, the curriculum has been envisaged as a set of
interconnecting circles to incorporate aspects of the child’s world, specific
themes/curriculum areas, the geographical location and what the school has termed
‘the wider curriculum’. One particular theme that was concentrated on in the video
was ‘Earth and Beyond’. This was a Year 5/6 project that uses the idea of space to
explore different elements of the primary curriculum. The theme included
transforming the learning environment itself (see Figure 1) alongside work on the
creation of a space poem using ‘word stones’ and a collaborative dance interpreting
the concept of space in the form of bodily movement (as well as other activities).
It has to be acknowledged that such examples already build upon the excellent work
on themes and projects undertaken by schools throughout England. These examples
offer interesting opportunities to challenge the academic/vocational divide in the
school curriculum. It allows children to see and create the connections between
different aspects of knowledge so that concepts and their application become
concrete. As we have already seen, this dynamic between concept and application
was important in Dewey’s theory of knowledge. However, such innovations are likely
to be easier to undertake in Early Years and Key Stage 1 – the requirements of
programmes of study in Key Stage 2 and beyond make such thematic work more
challenging (although not necessarily impossible), It will be interesting to see if the
development of academies and free schools that can operate outside the parameters
of the National Curriculum will lead to radical curriculum experiments in secondary
schools. For Dewey, such curricular innovation needed to take this statement as a
starting point:
In just the degree in which connections are established between what
happens to a person and what he [sic] does in response, and between what
he does to his [sic] environment and what it does in response to him, his acts
and the things about him acquire meaning. He learns to understand both
himself [sic] and the world of men [sic] and things (Dewey 2007: 202).
Figure 1
Screen shot from ‘Primary Topic Work – Customise Your Curriculum: Giant Leaps’ showing a
Year 5/6 classroom based on the theme ‘Earth and Beyond’
© Teachers Media 2017
Figure 2
Screen shot from ‘Primary Topic Work – Customise Your Curriculum: Giant Leaps’ showing
visual representation of how Kingsholm Primary School moved from a subject-based to a
thematic curriculum
© Teachers Media 2017
Dewey’s Democracy and Education still has relevance and resonance for the
curriculum a hundered years after its first publication. His views on what constitutes
democratic education are as pertinent now as they were in 1916. English education
is currently debating how to facilitate identity, voice, nationhood and society into the
curriculum. I have explored above how and whether Fundamental British Values
supports this debate and the wider issue of a democratic school and curriculum.
Dewey demands a lot of educationalists and pupils to create and maintain
democratic ideals in the classroom but the returns are worthwhile for the child and
society. Allied to this is Dewey’s belief that education should not be
compartmentalised into the ‘academic’ and the ‘vocational’. This has been an
Achilles’ Heel for English education for at least two centuries. Dewey’s theory of
knowledge emphasises a deep relationship between theory and practice, concept
and application. When the curriculum separates these elements, it creates a
fundamental dislocation in a given curriculum with implications for the pupil, the
school and society. Those with an interest in education should take a pause and
reflect on Dewey’s concerns for the curriculum – the centenary of Democracy and
Education has been an ideal opportunity to do this.
Word Count: 4,458 (excluding references)
Alexander, R. (2008), Essays in Pedagogy, London: Routledge.
Department for Education, Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in
schools. Available at:
Dewey, J. (1950 [1938), Experience and Education, New York: Macmillan.
Dewey, J. (2007 [1916]), Democracy and Education, Teddington: Echo Library.
Elton-Chalcraft, S., Lander, V., Revell, L., Warner, D. and Whitworth, L. (2017), To
promote, or not to promote fundamental British values? Teachers’ standards,
diversity and teacher education, British Educational Research Journal, 43:1, pp. 29-
Fielding, M. (2007), On the Necessity of Radical State Education: Democracy and
the Common School, 41:4, pp. 539-557.
Teachers Media (2017), Primary Topic Work – Customise Your Curriculum: Giant
Leaps [video] [online]. Available at:
topic-work-customise-your-curriculum-giant-leaps#video_title_bar (Accessed: 5 May
Dear Neil
I think this is great and will fit in well with the other papers. I have a genuine question
for you to consider - I wonder if primary educationalists might welcome you making
the point early on that democratic values and practices are not just the reserve of
secondary education but are highly relevant to primary aged children too?
If you could do a final check on spelling etc ref the track changes I’ve made and get
back to me I’d be grateful - then perhaps give a final word count?
Many thanks for all your efforts on this – I really like the inclusion of the Primary
school example..
... They mention education "as a means for democratization and the development of liberate free-thinking individuals" (Hägg & Kurczewska, 2016, p. 703) which they relate to the American progressive education movement, amongst whose adherents they include Freire. Dewey's ideas of education arguably serve as a furhter foundation of the progressive education movement (Hopkins, 2018) and historically, the notion of liberate, free-thinking individuals in fact goes back to the Renaissance humanist ideals of education (Parrish, 2013), as well as the Humboldtian foundations of the modern university (Kuckertz, 2021). Critical Pedagogy is also discussed by Kakouris (2015) who reviews a range of pedagogical approaches as they relate to the notion of reflection in entrepreneurship education. ...
... Verduijn and Berglund (2020) draw here on Berglund and Johansson's (2007) earlier work where the notion of conscientization is used to explore discourses of entrepreneurship and how dominant discourses of entepreneurship may be challenged via the notion of conscientization. Berglund and Johansson (2007) expand here on the process of conscientization whereby the notion of critical dialogue with others is offered as an antidote to the banking concept of education, with foundations in Dewey's work (Hopkins, 2018). ...
Full-text available
The meteoric rise of entrepreneurship education in higher education continues apace. This expansion has however only recently begun to elicit a more critical approach as to its nature and purpose. Using Critical Pedagogy, and specifically Freire's work, we compare aspects of Critical Pedagogy to Entrepreneurship Education drawing attention to five commonalities. These commonalities relate to an action-orientation, transformational potential, freedom orientation, identity development and the power-relationship between educator and student. Overall, the conceptual comparison challenges uncritical assumptions that entrepreneurship education serves only as a means to consolidate rather than question existing socio-economic structures. It supports notions of entrepreneurship education's empowering and emancipatory potential. As one of only few studies to date that theorise the relationship between entrepreneurship education and critical pedagogy it presents a foundation upon which others may build in an expanded understanding of entrepreneurship education, its processes and place within existing educational scholarship. Practical implications are suggested.
... Elena andSuzana (2016) found that a teacher's role is to link students' personal experiences and characteristics to the material being studied and to the school life in general. Neil (2018) used Dewey's theory of necessity to explore whether issues such as school governance and pupil's voice facilitate Dewey's notion of democratic education. ...
Full-text available
After several years of existence of universal basic education programme in Nigeria, young children are still roaming about on the streets begging and hawking during school hours and school drop-out cases appear to remain intractable. Based on this premise, the study applied a descriptive survey to assess the perceptions of teachers on the implementation of the universal basic education programme in OgojaEducation Zone of Kogi State, Nigeria. This study was based on the theoretical framework of Dewey theory of the necessity of life which states that to live a successful life, the young ones need to be formally educated on the prevailing realities of their environment. The study population was 1800 teachers with a sample size of 360 teachers. The instruments for data collection were a questionnaire and checklist. It was found that materials for the implementation of the UBE programme are inadequate, and teachers differ in their perceptions on the supervision of instruction for the implementation UBE programme. These findings implicate curriculum implementation in the sense that there will not be effective curriculum implementation without adequate instructional materials. It is recommended that provision for all the materials needed for the implementation of the UBE programme in Ogoja Education zone should be made.
... As a pedagogic approach, Co-Creation has links with various educational theorists and their critique on traditional educational approaches, including Dewey [23] and bell hooks [24]. In 'Democracy and Education', Dewey highlights the importance of the learner 'having a vital voice in any learning that takes place in the classroom and beyond' (p.1) [25] and being an active contributor in their own learning and development, as opposed to children being passive participants in the didactic approach to education at that time. Similarly, bell hooks argued for a progressive and holistic approach to pedagogy, noting that a teacher's work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of [their] students. ...
Full-text available
Effective and culturally appropriate hand-hygiene education is essential to promote health-related practices to control and prevent diseases such as Diarrhoea, Ebola and COVID-19. In this paper we outline and evaluate the Co-Creation processes underpinning a handwashing intervention for young children (A Germ's Journey) developed and delivered in India, Sierra Leone and the UK, and consider the implications surrounding Imperialist/Colonial discourse and the White Saviour Complex. The paper focuses both on the ways Co-Creation was conceptualised by our collaborators in all three countries and the catalysts and challenges encountered. Qualitative data have been drawn from in-depth interviews with five key stakeholders, focus group data from 37 teachers in Sierra Leone and responses to open-ended questionnaires completed by teachers in India (N = 66) and UK (N = 63). Data were analysed using thematic analysis and three themes, each with three constituent subthemes are presented. In the theme 'Representations of and Unique Approaches to Co-Creation' we explore the ways in which Co-Creation was constructed in relation to teamwork, innovative practice and more continuous models of evaluation. In 'Advantages of Co-Creation' we consider issues around shared ownership, improved outcomes and more meaningful insights alongside the mitigation of risks and short-circuiting of problems. In 'Challenges of Co-Creation' we discuss issues around timing and organisation, attracting and working with appropriate partners and understanding the importance of local context with inherent social, economic and structural barriers, especially in low-and-middle-income countries. We consider how theoretical elements of Co-Creation can inform effective international public health interventions; crucial during a global pandemic in which handwashing is the most effective method to control the transmission of COVID-19. Finally we reflect on some of the methodological challenges of our own work and in managing the potentially conflicting goals of the ethical and participatory values of Co-Creation with pragmatic considerations about ensuring an effective final 'product'.
... For Dewey, thought and the material are irreducible, though the latter manifests meaning for the individual in ways that are often overlooked in favour of social aspects of learning (Meager 2018). Dewey emphasised education as process and the curriculum as emergent out of children's aesthetic, emotional and material engagement, arguing that reassembling all aspects of experience is what is required in research (Hopkins 2018). ...
Full-text available
Socio-materialist theories of education highlight the importance of material practices alongside social practices within learning experience. Little is known about inclusive pedagogy for autistic pupils, but this theoretical approach is of relevance since autistic people describe meaningful connections to material things. The aim of this study was to explore the nature of inclusive pedagogy for autistic pupils through the development of two case studies. Research questions focused on tracing the socio-material realities of learning, with information gathered in the form of video recordings. Three realities of learning are described: thinking about maths, asking sensitive questions about the social world, and doing ‘hard work’ and making mistakes. The analysis shows that materialisation per se does not benefit autistic pupils, but can be used to support learning in certain circumstances, particularly where inherent social meanings are more easily made visible. The analysis shows that supportive relationships are also important sources of support.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that reinforces autonomy and participation of students guiding their own choices and enhancing equal access to learning. The aim of the present study is to explore UDL as a framework to promote a democratic approach to music classes. The study attempts to link the basic principles of UDL with the three aspects of democratic pedagogy: freedom, justice and equity. Following a qualitative research design and deductive thematic analysis of data collected with video recordings, field notes, interviews, student answers in questionnaires and research journals from two UDL applications in music classes, various examples are highlighted from the design phase up to the evaluation of the applications. In conclusion, it appears that UDL promotes a democratic classroom environment, changing the classroom to a self-guided learning community which is based on equality and mutual respect.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This deliverable (7.4) focuses on creating a framework for the development and implementation of education and public engagement (EPE) programs. To accomplish this task, we begin by developing a generic framework that is applicable to any type of EPE program. Owing to the general nature of such an endeavour, our methodology rests primarily on a foundation of desk-based research in the form of an integrative literature review. This type of literature review gathers and analyses relevant documents from a wide variety of disciplines with the aim of creating new frameworks and perspectives on a topic. This literature review draws from peer-reviewed research in a number of academic journals in the disciplines of sociology, psychology, political science, public administration, education, environmental science, and multidisciplinary fields such as transition theory and management, science-technology-society studies, critical theory, and gender studies. After developing this general framework, we then apply it to the objective of creating a framework for EPE programs that focus on ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability with a focus on wave energy. The EPE framework for ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability programs was co-developed with stakeholders and value chain actors following interviews with key contributors conducted in the early autumn of 2021, as well as with a survey tool sent out to partners with whom the researchers had worked on earlier projects. In addition, tasks 7.2 and 7.3 of the SafeWAVE project detailed many lessons and much information which was gathered from both citizens and experts that were applied to the development of this framework, not least among them the necessity of utilizing an intersectional approach in the program’s creation and evaluation. The framework for ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability programs culminates in a documented methodological approach for the creation of tailored ocean literacy programs for individual ocean energy projects with a focus on wave energy. This task will be the objective of deliverable 7.5.
It is argued that the curriculum is one of the most politicised aspects of contemporary state education and has come under increasingly centralised control in many educational systems. This chapter presents the need for an element of local stakeholder control of the curriculum to foster greater democratic accountability on what is taught. In terms of the content of the curriculum itself, it will be argued that a common curriculum that encompasses elements of the ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ for all students (echoing Dewey) is preferable to a situation where students are ‘streamed’ into specific areas of learning. A democratic socialist curriculum will also emphasise the need for citizenship and collaboration as key educational aims that go beyond the striving for employability and qualifications.
Full-text available
p> With Digitisation, each of “democracy”, “education” and, consequently, and conclusively, “Education and Democracy” enters an exciting new dimension. Current considerations of how “government by the people” should be addressed, encouraged and embodied in schools are outdated, unless the realisation that nothing can ever be the same again becomes the starting-point. This paper explores the nature of that forthcoming and fundamental transformation, as made necessary and possible through contemporary technology and as embodied in The Global School. Just as piecemeal Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications are of limited significance, so also are isolated experiments with democratic educational initiatives now obsolete. Universal connectivity straddles schools worldwide and cuts across the institutional, societal and historical factors that gave rise to pernicious politico-socio-educational injustice. Propagating democracy is essentially undemocratic; moral education is the antithesis of morality. T he need from now onwards is for a convivial learning-supporting pedagogy, delivering the creative learner-driven curriculum, with the open, well-informed and on-going debate as the fundamental methodology. The substance, practice and consequences of education may now become much more equitable, ethical and enjoyable (and far less competitive, test-oriented and world-of-work-dominated). These and other implications for “Education and Democracy” of this ground-breaking “Education embodying Digitisation” reality are investigated and welcomed. </p
Full-text available
This book engages with the political, philosophical and policy debates around contemporary democratic socialism and state education. It examines contemporary education and education systems, as well as democratic socialism in the context of the complex political world we live in currently. It takes the reader towards a democratic socialist curriculum and pedagogy, and concludes by investigating democratic socialism and governance in education. Discussing the work of Axel Honneth, Chantal Mouffe and Norberto Bobbio, the book argues that contemporary democratic socialism gives a philosophical and political grounding to the notion of education being more than simply preparation for work or a series of qualifications. It makes the case for education as an exercise in democratic community, and learning as collective citizenship. Taking the curriculum, classroom pedagogy, and educational governance in turn, it offers a series of practical ways in which state education can be re-interpreted and re-applied to emphasise the democratic, collective and creative aspects of learning. "Hopkins contends, firstly, that twenty-first-century democratic socialism must reinvigorate itself by responding to the challenges of liberalism; and, secondly, that a socially just education system must be willing to learn from such a reinvigorated socialism. These twinned theses are clearly and concisely thought through in relation to urgent educational, and more broadly socio-political, issues: contemporary democratic-socialist thought; educational systems (and possibilities for reform); curriculum design; pedagogy; systems and mechanisms of governance. In just a few thousand words, Hopkins’s Democratic Socialism and Education manages to be that rare thing: a book that is both lucid introduction and original contribution. It will surely appeal equally to teachers, philosophers of education, and those engaged in educational action research." Dr. Oliver Belas, Lecturer in Education, School of Education and English Language, University of Bedfordshire, UK
Full-text available
In this article we seek to problematize the presence of the requirement within the teachers’ standards (DfE, 2012), that they ‘should not undermine fundamental British values’ in the context of initial teacher education in England. The inclusion of this statement within the teachers’ code of conduct has made its way from the counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent and raises questions about Britishness, values and the relationship between the state and the profession more generally. We argue that the inclusion of the phrase within a statutory document that regulates the profession is de facto a politicization of the profession by the state thereby instilling the expectation that teachers are state instruments of surveillance. The absence of any wider debate around the inclusion of the statement is also problematic as is the lack of training for pre-service and inservice teachers since it means this concept of fundamental British values is unchallenged and its insidious racialising implications are unrecognised by most teachers.
Experience and Educationis the best concise statement on education ever published by John Dewey, the man acknowledged to be the pre-eminent educational theorist of the twentieth century. Written more than two decades after Democracy and Education(Dewey's most comprehensive statement of his position in educational philosophy), this book demonstrates how Dewey reformulated his ideas as a result of his intervening experience with the progressive schools and in the light of the criticisms his theories had received. Analysing both "traditional" and "progressive" education, Dr. Dewey here insists that neither the old nor the new education is adequate and that each is miseducative because neither of them applies the principles of a carefully developed philosophy of experience. Many pages of this volume illustrate Dr. Dewey's ideas for a philosophy of experience and its relation to education. He particularly urges that all teachers and educators looking for a new movement in education should think in terms of the deeped and larger issues of education rather than in terms of some divisive "ism" about education, even such an "ism" as "progressivism." His philosophy, here expressed in its most essential, most readable form, predicates an American educational system that respects all sources of experience, on that offers a true learning situation that is both historical and social, both orderly and dynamic.
Democracy and Education. Teddington: Echo Library
  • J Dewey
On the Necessity of Radical State Education: Democracy and the Common School
  • M Fielding
Fielding, M. 2007. "On the Necessity of Radical State Education: Democracy and the Common School." Journal of Philosophy of Education 41 (4): 539-557.
  • J Dewey
Dewey, J. (1916) 2007. Democracy and Education. Teddington: Echo Library.
Essays in Pedagogy. London: Routledge. Department for Education
  • R Alexander
Alexander, R. 2008. Essays in Pedagogy. London: Routledge. Department for Education. 2014. Promoting Fundamental British Values as Part of SMSC in Schools. government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380595/SMSC_Guidance_Maintained_Schools.pdf.