While philosophy is a discipline of ideas and concepts, education is a practice that demands being fully present, in a complex and dynamic human world. By using fiction and narrative, the literary utopia allows writers to articulate educational creed in a sterile condition, “to do” educational work based on pure educational philosophical ideas, without being tied to the dynamics and complexities of reality. In addition to Korczak’s School of Life (1906), I found two other works that are both educational and obey the rules of the genre of the utopia: the monumental educational book by Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Emile or On Education (1762), and The Jewish People and Its Youth (1919) by the forgotten Austrian-Jewish philosopher, educator, and psychoanalyst, Siegfried Bernfeld. The three are texts in educational philosophy that aim to “translate” abstract ideas into concrete narrative stories. These three pieces are utopias in the sense that they criticize the existing education in society and describe ideal alternative educational frameworks. However, each of these works has a completely different educational-utopian vision. I present the utopian vision described in each of the works mentioned above, but I will mostly compare the functions of each utopia. The educational utopia can have a large scale of functions for its author: from replacing the educational practice itself, as in Rousseau’s case, to outlining a guiding and motivating vision, as in Korczak’s.
School of Life (1906) Emile (1762) The Jewish People and its Youth (1919)