The Routledge Companion to Education

The Routledge Companion to Education

The Routledge Companion to Education

The Routledge Companion to Education


Who are the key thinkers in education?

What are the hot topics in education?

Where will education go from here?

The Routledge Companion to Education presents the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide available to the key theories, themes and topics in education. Forty specially commissioned chapters, covering all aspects of education, introduce you to the ideas, research and issues that have shaped this most diverse, dynamic and fluid field.

  • Part one provides an introduction to the key theories, thinkers and disciplines within education
  • Part two covers ideas and issues about how, what and why learning takes place
  • Part three includes analysis on particular approaches to education and explores the issues that attract much contemporary interest.

Written by an international team of expert contributors, the chapters all include a descriptive introduction, an analysis of the key ideas and debates, an overview of the latest research, key questions for research and carefully selected further reading.

The Routledge Companion to Education is a succinct, detailed, authoritative overview of the topics which are at the forefront of educational research and discourse today. This classic collection is a bookshelf essential for every student and scholar serious about the study of education. 


The idea of a liberal education is so central to educational discourse that it is almost
necessary to grasp what it means in order to understand the concept of education itself.
Predating schools and universities as we now know them, its beginnings are usually
traced back to classical Greece. There it is associated with the education Plato
envisioned for his idealized ruler, the philosopher king, for whom it was considered
essential, and with the philosophy of Aristotle (Hirst, 1971; Carr, 2009). With the rise of
the university in the Middle Ages, studying the liberal arts and sciences which had
become the recognized content of a liberal education was seen as both worthwhile in
itself and foundational to further studies. Although it lost some favor over time, liberal
education is still widely viewed as the measure of what it means to be an educated
person and as the best preparation for employment and further studies. Yet, while the
contrary impression exists, what is now variously termed ‘liberal education,’ ‘liberal arts
education,’ and ‘general education,’ is a contested concept that continues to evolve
(Kimball, 1995). It is as such that I shall treat of it here.

The historian Sheldon Rothblatt wrote of Cardinal Newman’s Idea of a University that it “remains the singlemost influential book on the meaning of a university in the English language” (Rothblatt, 1997, p. 7). One might add that by virtue of the issues it addressed and the justification it presented, it also provides the basic language of the conversation surrounding liberal education. It is, accordingly, an appropriate point at which to begin examining the idea in its more recent evolution. Here one detects several differing points of view. The general position adopted by Newman remains widely held, and I shall treat of that first. Second, I shall treat departures from this view, ranging from those that reject the idea entirely to those that . . .

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