Democratic Pedagogy

Gilbert Burgh


The ideas contained in this paper were first formulated as part of a chapter in my doctoral dissertation, which was completed in 1997.  Some years later I added to my initial thoughts, scribbled some notes, and presented them at the 12th Annual Philosophy in Schools Conference, held in Brisbane in 2002. This presentation surfaced as a paper in Critical & Creative Thinking: the Australasian Journal of Philosophy in Schools (Burgh 2003a). Soon thereafter I revised the paper (Burgh 2003b) and it appeared in abridged form in the Asia-Pacific Philosophy Education Network for Democracy (APPEND) Philosophy Series, Volume 4: Philosophy, Democracy and Education, edited by Philip Cam. It was once again revised, but also expanded, and appeared in Chapter 5 of Ethics and the community of inquiry: Education for deliberative democracy, a collaborative authorship with Terri Field and Mark Freakley (2006). Some sections have been further revised and appear in other publications (Burgh 2009, 2010; Burgh & Yorshansky 2011). These revisions would suggest that my thoughts on these matters are constantly changing. To some degree this is true, but each time the changes have built on previous ideas rather than new ideas replacing old ones. I welcomed the invitation to revise the original paper, which includes sections not included in later versions. However, with almost 11 years passing since the original publication, I found myself deleting sections and replacing others. Subsequently, this paper is a culmination of all the revisions and incorporates ideas from each.

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