TAS221 Democracy and Education

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Paula Olearnik

Brief course description:

Course enable students to be able to appraise the political and legal dimensions of the social groups and international organizations.


Students will acquire the ability to understand, analyze and take an active part in international projects and agreements. Students learn how to affect meaningful social change, they acquire the tools and conceptual framework to launch a new social ventures.


Part I: Democracy, Citizenship, Education: Philosophical Perspectives. This part of the course examines the tests of three seminal political philosophers – Plato, Rousseau and Dewey. In analyzing their texts, students will focus on the author's admonitions to make learning active, practical and tailored to the individual.

Part II: Issues in American Education. The second part of the course focuses on specific problems in the American schooling system – for example standardized testing, tracking and the problems associated with teacher tenure. In this part of the course we will watch and discuss the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman'.

Part III: The University and Higher Education. The final part of the course examines contemporary critiques of modern research universities. Topics include the excessive focus on professional training to the detriment to educating the whole person, the narrow specialization and fragmentation of the disciplines and the increasing expense of a university education.

Reading list:

Plato. Meno
Plato. The Apology
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Emile
Dewey, John. Democracy and Education
Guttman, Amy. Democratic Education
Nussbaum, Martha. Non-For-Profit – Why Democracy
Requires the Humanities
Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University
MacIntyre, Alasdair. God, Philosophy and Universities