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Chicago and John Dewey

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by Holly Rocke on 1 July 2013

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Transcript of Chicago and John Dewey

John Dewey
1859-1952

"The trouble is that instead of taking the act in its entirety we cite the multitude of relevant facts only as evidence of influence of mind on body and of body on mind, thus starting from and perpetuating the idea of their independence and separation even when dealing with the connection. What the facts testify to is not an influence exercised across and between separate things, but to behavior so integrated that it is artificial to split it up into two things."

-- excerpt from "The Barrier of Habit" Human Nature & Conduct
A Young John Dewey at Graduation
University of Chicago Lab School.


As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning.
In 1896, John Dewey founded
the University of Chicago Laboratory School in the Hyde Park Neighborhood of Chicago.
Education through experience formed the foundation of the Laboratory School curriculum. Students learned practical skills from weaving to woodworking to sculpting.
The school has over 1,700 students currently enrolled, though there are plans to increase the size. It is considered one of the top preparatory schools in the United States, reflected in the Wall Street Journal's findings that the school is among the top five feeder institutions in the nation for elite colleges.
Dewey and Alexander
Dewey wrote introductions to Alexander's Man's Supreme Inheritance (1918),Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (1923) and The Use of the Self (1932). Alexander's influence is referenced in "Human Nature and Conduct" and "Experience and Nature."

"If there can be developed a technique which will enable individuals really to secure the right use of themselves, then the factor upon which depends the final use of all other forms of energy will be brought under control. Mr. Alexander has evolved this technique."
--- From Dewey’s introduction to Use of the Self.
It (the technique of Mr. Alexander) bears the same relation to education that education itself bears to all other human activities.

-- John Dewey, from his Introduction to F. M. Alexander's third book, The Use of the Self
Dewey met Alexander in during World War I when Alexander was visiting New York and he had his first lessons from Alexander at that time. Dewey was then in his fifties, and he continued taking Alexander Technique lessons for the next 35 years.
"More eyes are now fixed upon the University Elementary School at Chicago than upon any other elementary school in the country and probably in the world."
---Dr. A. B. Hinsdale, 1900, National Council of Education.
John Dewey was the most significant educational thinker
of his era and, many would argue,
of the 20th century.
F.M. Alexander gives a lesson to John Dewey c. 1917
John Dewey and F.M. Alexander
c. 1918
Intellectually, Dewey said, he found it much easier, after had had studied the technique, to hold a philosophical position calmly once he had taken it or to change it if new evidence came up warranting a change. He contrasted his own attitude with the rigidity of other academic thinkers who adopt a position early in their careers and then use their intellects to defend it indefinitely.” - (from a chapter titled “Dewey and Alexander” in Freedom to Change by Frank Pierce Jones.)
John Dewey and his wife Alice Chipman
c. 1918
Science was mastered in the garden as well in the classroom, where sandboxes offered opportunities for individual experiments in landforms and erosion.
Photo c. 1918
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