Wilna A. J. Meijer
A 'cultural educational theory' (Dutch: cultuurpedagogiek) puts the issue of cultural transmission at the centre of educational reflection. There are two sides to this issue. The first is the question of culture as context of education, and of educational theory as reflection on this relation. This requires, as I will argue, that history of education and theory of education go together more closely than has become customary since the 1960s. Education and ideas on education (i.e., educational theory) vary in time and culturally. It is therefore necessary, in order to understand education and educational ideas, to incorporate the historical and cultural context in the discussion. The second question on the relation between culture and education concerns culture as content of education. This refers to the educational question of which parts of the existing culture ought to be passed on to the new generation. This second question brings the educational theory-practice problem into focus. Analogous with the argument that theory and history should go hand in hand when it comes to education, it can be argued that educational thought and action, theory and practice, ought to be linked.
In this chapter, I will first explore the relation between theory and history of education. Then I will dwell on the relation between theory and practice of education. These two relations that are of central importance to a cultural educational theory are themselves again entwined. In the analysis of educational concepts (i.e., the theory of education), the importance of historical and cultural context is emphasised; that does not, however, only concern the context of origin and development of these concepts, but also the contemporary context of educational thought and action. And this historical and cultural context is the arena in which educational action is set.
In a final section, I discuss environmental education as a case of the approach of a cultural educational theory. Clearly, both the aspects of culture as context of education and culture as content of education are present in this case: environmental pollution and the prevailing social and political awareness of it as a global societal problem induces, among other things, reflection on environmental education and its aims and contents. The case of