AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractDewey 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.
CitationHopkins N. (2014) 'The democratic curriculum: concept and practice', Journal of Philosophy of Education, 48 (3), pp.416-427.