Critical reflections on Dewey’s Democracy and Education
In defence of 'aristocracy'
The June Education Forum is our annual examination of a major book on education as a taster for the The Academy, the Institute of Ideas’ summer university. Professor Dennis Hayes will set us off with a critical introduction to the book and we will have time to discuss aspects of it in depth.
John Dewey’s Democracy and Education (1916) is the third in the great triad of educational books that link ancient to modern thought. Dewey compares and contrasts his ideas throughout with Plato’s Republic and Rousseau’s Émile.
However, today there are many rhetorical attacks on Dewey as the person responsible for every evil in education. These are rebutted by those who see Dewey as the ‘One True God’ and have read Democracy and Education closely enough to see that he was not a simple advocate of the philosophy of ‘child-centred’ education and letting children ‘follow their own interests’. Who is right?
Dennis Hayes, professor of education, University of Derby
Democracy and Education is available free as a Project Gutenberg e book.