Philosophy of education in the UK: the historical and contemporary

Oxford Review of Education 35 (5):553-568 (2009)

Questions of a philosophical nature are central to every significant debate in the field of educational theory, policy, practice and research. Of all disciplines, philosophy is perhaps the one in which analysis, argumentation and critique are given most central, systematic and comprehensive attention. In addition, philosophy is connected with practice and policy through nurturing democratic conversation about education, and supporting practical deliberation at all levels and on all aspects of educational practice. In the UK, although systematically excluded from initial teacher education and much reduced in masters level programmes under the current funding regimes, the discipline has maintained considerable vitality and international reputation. Using data from the RAE and PESGB, supplemented with bibliometric data, the authors note that the important contributions from philosophy of education to education and education research do not, however, always reflect a thriving infrastructure. The authors conclude with a brief discussion of a number of key relationships which the philosophy of education community needs to develop further: with teacher education, educational research, ‘mainstream’ philosophy and educational policy communities.
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