Popper on education

David Corson
Vol 4, Number 2, p.41
Drawing from the writings of Karl Popper, published over a sixteen year period, this article extrapolates Popper’s attitudes to the institution of Education. These attitudes and positions are presented in a synthesis as if they were Popper’s own assembled views on education and supported by pertinent quotations. The many attitudes deduced are collated under headings which are helpful for appreciating the range of Popper’s comment and the relevance and coherency of his perspective: the nature of education; education and the State; knowledge and teaching acts; knowledge and the disciplines of the curriculum; education and philosophy; language and learning; educational policy and theory. Each section is followed by a critical commentary. A Bibliography of Popper’s works is included. There are no published books by Karl Popper which concern themselves with education or which are written with educationists in view as the intended and specific audience. Only four of his very early papers, written in Vienna, deal with matters bearing directly upon educational practice (1925; 1927; 1931; 1932) and the ideas expressed there in German are relatively recondite and have been much developed. Yet Popper’s influence on the academic world which produces educationists is immense by any standard, and it is an influence with a dynamic of its own. In one view, Popper’s work \"has a notably practical effect on people who are influenced by it: it changes the way they do their own work\" and \"changes their lives\" (Magee, 1973: 10).