Contextualizing Community of Inquiry as a Democratic Educational Environment within a Wider View of Other Progressive Educational Approaches

  • Richard Morehouse


This paper takes a three-pronged approach to answering the question regarding the relationship between democracy and community of inquiry and other progressive pedagogies. First, a definition of a democratic educational environment will be provided within the larger context of democracy in general. Next, I will explore a number of democratic educational environments within a community of inquiry framework. Then, community of inquiry and Dewey’s theory of democracy are examined together. This background leads to an overview of what a democratic community of inquiry looks like. I end by replaying the major themes of this paper.

In its perfect sense, democracy “is not a fact and never will be.” Nonetheless, without a guiding idea we would never engage in the work to eliminate the “restrictive and disturbing elements” which prevent a fuller flowering of democratic life.
[Citing John Dewey in The Public and Its Problems, 1927 (Boisvert, 1998, p. 57)].