Creative Democracy and Teacher Education – The Task Before Us

Education and Culture, the journal of the John Dewey society, features an article by Mark LaCelle-Peterson and Phillip J. VanFossen that does a great job connecting the writing and thinking of Dewey on Democracy and Education from the 1930s and 1940s to our present condition. As Dewey notes:

The present state of the world is more than a reminder that we have now to put forth every energy of our own to prove worthy of our heritage….[T]he task can be accomplished only by inventive effort and creative activity… because the depth of the present crisis is due in considerable part to the fact that for a long period we acted as if our democracy were something that perpetuated itself automatically.

[T]he heart and final guarantee of democracy is in the free gathering of neighbors on the street corner to discuss… uncensored news of the day, and in gatherings of friends…to converse freely with one another…. [Everything which bars freedom and fullness of communication sets up barriers that divide human beings into…antagonistic…factions, and thereby undermines the democratic way of life.
(John Dewey, 1940 “Creative Democracy — The Task Before Us”, pp. 221-222 & 225)

Here’s the article citation: LaCelle-Peterson, Mark and VanFossen, Phillip J. (1999) “Creative Democracy and Teacher Education: The Task Before Us,” Education and Culture: Vol. 15: Iss. 1, Article 2.   You can download a copy here.

Along these lines, the present day work of the CRETE project (Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education)  is the kind of thing we need more of. Here’s a video to give you a sense of the project. Learn more at

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