Boyd H. Bode, his life, work, and commitment to democracy and a democratic curriculum

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Toews, Sheila V. M.
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This study explores a significant contribution to democratic thought and practice in the field of curriculum by presenting the life and work of the American educator, Boyd H. Bode (1873-1953). Bode's own writings, including Modern Educational Theories, Democracy as a Way of Life, and Progressive Education at the Crossroads; articles, books, and dissertations written specifically about Bode; and archival materials obtained from the Ohio State University are used to portray this influential teacher-scholar and critic as accurately as possible. A historical and philosophical context for Bode's ideas is developed through the use of appropriate sources. The study traces Bode's life from his early years in the American Midwest to his post secondary education in Iowa and at the Universities of Michigan and Cornell. It explores his academic career at the Universities of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio State, during which time he abandoned idealism for pragmatism and philosophy for the philosophy of education. Bode's commitment to democracy and a democratic curriculum is emphasized through a focus on his writings, teachings, and mentorship of such individuals as Harold B. Alberty and Alan F. Griffin. His critiques of the educational trends of his era, including Progressive Education and Scientific Curriculum Making, are also considered. As Bode addressed complex questions that persist in the field of curriculum, this study concludes with a consideration of the current relevance of Bode's thinking on democracy and a democratic curriculum for educators in Canada, the United States, and even internationally.