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Social reconstructionism

Social Reconstructionism

Jason Kane-Seitz


Theodore Brameld (1904-1987) was the founder of social reconstructionism, in reaction against the realities of World War II. He recognized the potential for human annihilation through technology and human cruelty and the capacity to create a beneficent society using technology and human compassion.

Works of the founder
Works of the Founder

  • Ends and Means in Education (1950)

  • Patterns of Educational Philosophy (1955), Philosophies of Education in Cultural Perspective (1955)

  • Toward a Reconstructed Philosophy of Education (1956)

  • Cultural Foundations of Education (1957)

  • Education and the Emerging Age (1961), Education as Power (1965)

  • The Use of Explosive Ideas in Education (1965)

  • The Climactic Decades (1970)

  • Patterns of Educational Philosophy (1971)

  • The Teacher as World Citizen (1976)

  • Tourism as Cultural Learning (1977)

Other major contributors
Other Major Contributors

George Counts (1889-1974)

Wanted teachers to be leaders in society instead of followers.

Paulo Freire (1921-1997)

Wanted to remove the oppressions from certain groups in the education system.

Phrases commonly found in reconstructionist classrooms
Phrases Commonly Found in Reconstructionist Classrooms

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world" -Margaret Mead

"Our individual lives cannot, generally, be works of art unless the social order is also."

-Charles Cooley


  • Reflect democratic ideals and emphasize civic education

  • Opportunity for students to gain first hand experience in studying real social problems and controversial issues

  • Students consider societal problems such as place of ethics in improving quality of life, conserve natural resources, and issues of foreign policy and naturalism.