• The democratic curriculum: concept and practice

      Hopkins, Neil; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley Blackwell, 2014-06-20)
      Dewey continues to offer arguments that remain powerful on the need to break down the divisions between ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ in terms of his specific theory of knowledge. Dewey's writings are used to argue that a democratic curriculum needs to challenge such divisions to encompass the many forms of knowledge necessary in the contemporary classroom. Gandin and Apple's investigation of community participation (Orçamento Participativo or Participatory Budgeting) in the curriculum of the Citizen School in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will be explored as an example of democratic structures informing educational planning. The work of Paul Hirst, Atli Harđarson and Chris Jane Brough is analysed regarding the issue of curriculum aims and student negotiation. Dewey's emphasis on learning as a collective enterprise will resonate here. Brough offers innovative research on student-centred curriculum integration that suggests even very young children are able to participate in debate over their own learning. Hirst and Harđarson provide contrasting views on the issue of curriculum aims—Hirst arguing that a curriculum cannot exist without definable aims while Harđarson challenges the very notion of settled aims if students are to be reflexive regarding their education. The article also refers to the work of Alexander on the use of dialogic questioning in the classroom. Such questioning, it is suggested, enhances and encourages collaborative forms of enquiry necessary for a democratic curriculum through discussion between teachers, students and other stakeholders.
    • Dewey and the democratic curriculum

      Hopkins, Neil (Emerald Publishing, 2018-05-14)
      This paper uses Dewey’s seminal Democracy and Education (1916) as a key text to investigate the concept of the democratic curriculum. I argue that a democratic curriculum is one where a series of educational innovations or procedures are followed. These are: a removal of the exisiting division between ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ education; pedagogy in the form of discussion and dialogue; negotiation of curriculum aims and objectives with students and other local stakeholders. The focus of attention will be on the English school curriculum (both primary and secondary), especially concerning the National Curriculum, and the debate over ‘standards’ and testing . A tentative link between the democratic curriculum and increased student motivation and participation is made.
    • Dewey, Democracy and Education and the school curriculum

      Hopkins, Neil; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2018-03-04)
      This paper will investigate Dewey’s Democracy and Educationin 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. Alongide 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.