John Dewey’s Impact on Education Reforms in Turkey and the Soviet Union

Vučina Zorić


This theoretical analysis focuses on John Dewey’s ideas and activities regarding education reform and societal democratization in Turkey and in the Soviet Union, with particular emphasis on the period between the two World Wars. The springboard for the research was the fact that Dewey’s pragmatic conception of education represents one of the most influential tendencies in the development of pedagogy and education reforms in many countries all over Europe, and indeed the world. This research seeks to determine the essential features, forms, extents and outcomes of the influence that John Dewey’s activities and ideas have had on the educational policies and reforms in both countries. The circumstances and content of Dewey’s visits to both Turkey and the Soviet Union are analysed, alongside his reports, i.e., his own impressions of the visits he made, and his recommendations for the respective education reforms and thoughts on their application and their achievements. In addition, the wide scope and diversity of influence of Dewey’s ideas are also examined through the various translated editions of his books and articles, taking into consideration numerous studies devoted to his works. These methods of theoretical analysis and historical research led to the conclusion that John Dewey’s pedagogical ideas and activities made a significant impact among his contemporaries, and greatly influenced the education reforms in Turkey and the Soviet Union, where there is still significant interest in his concepts and the application of his ideas today. However, although Dewey’s conception of education was extensively examined, acknowledged and used in the aforementioned countries, albeit with certain modifications and developments, it ultimately became either too rigid or vulgarised through many superficial interpretations and manipulations.


John Dewey; Pragmatism; Democracy; Education; Turkey; Soviet Union


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