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Transcript of JOHN DEWEY
Experience and Education
So, why are there schools named after Dewey?
- Check out a brief summary of Dewey's views on education and experiential learning, addressed in his book, Experience and Education.
"Every school, as he wrote in The School and Society, must become 'an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society and permeated throughout with the spirit of art, history and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious.'"
"Dewey argued that curriculum should be relevant to students' lives. He saw learning by doing and development of practical life skills as crucial to children's education."
- Sounds perfectly logical, right? However, with the current focus on state testing and the need for students to learn very specific skills, how do we incorporate our students' lives into our curriculum? Is there a place for this in today's educational climate? How would this work if we are using a store bought, one size fits all, curriculum?
Dewey had this novel idea that the process of education should provide students with the necessary abilities to survive. He proposed a learning environment where the child was the center of focus as opposed to the material being taught. He encouraged curiousity and a focus on how students learned not what they learned.
But of course...the naysayers. "Some critics assumed that, under Dewey's system, students would fail to acquire basic academic skills and knowledge. Others believed that classroom order and the teacher's authority would disappear."
- What do you think? Does the development of a child centered and process centered curriculum mean the end of foundational education and classroom management? How could we secure these aspects while still integrating Dewey's ideas? Are those aspects really even that important?
The Waldorf School seems to be getting it right.
- How do you feel about the schools that embrace this type of philosophy?
- Would Dewey give the Waldorf school a
or a ?
Hear Noam Chomsky say it better than I ever could.
Is the issue really about the threat to foundational education or the threat of eradicating, as Baldwin writes in A Talk To Teachers, "...a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society” (220).
If we aimed to foster the natural instincts of children allowing them to discover learning naturally and through peaceful collaboration, how does that threaten the status quo?
“The belief that all genuine education comes about
through experiences does not mean that all experiences are
genuinely or equally educative”- John Dewey
A rewarding experience for one individual might be damaging for another-- this all depends on how it affects their present future AND how they can use that experience to contribute to society.
- With the inherent racism in our system, the false histories referred to by Baldwin and the issues of conflict with black and white teachers and the impact that has on instruction, how can we as educators ensure that our students are receiving those experiences that foster genuinely educative?
Who is John Dewey?
Who better to tell you than someone from Harvard!
"The conception of education as a social process and function has no definite process and function has no definite meaning until we define the kind of meaning until we define the kind of society we have in mind."
Democracy and Education, 1916
- Dewey contends that this model of education cannot exist until we have created a picture of the society we want and then aim to develop the characteristics within our citizenry to fulfill this vision. Is this an idealistic view? Can we truly realize this type of vision? Are the current progressive schools doing their students a disservice by creating the type of citizens they would like to see despite our society's conflicting views?
Progressive Education: Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find
Alfie , K. (2008). Progressive education: Why it’s hard to beat, but also hard to find. Retrieved from http://bankstreet.edu/school-children/admissions/progressive-education/volume-i/progressive-education-why-its-hard-to-beat-but-also-hard-to-find/
UNKNOWN. (1992). John dewey | philosophy and education. Retrieved from http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/centcat/fac/facch08_01.html
UNKNOWN. (n.d.). Schoolhouse Pioneers: John Dewey (1859-1952) . Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/onlyateacher/john.html
Wisdom, A. (2011). John Dewey: Experience and Education: a brief summary [Web]. Retrieved from
K2nsl3r. (2010). chomsky on dewey [Web]. Retrieved from
Christodoulou, J. (2005). John dewey: U.S. educator, pragmatist philosopher, u.s. educator, pragmatist philosopher, & psychologist & psychologist. Informally published manuscript, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Retrieved from http://gseacademic.harvard.edu/~hgsebio/presentations/johndewey_slides.pdf
Mitchell, D. (n.d.). Waldorf Education: An introduction. Retrieved from http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/index.asp
Special Thanks to Professor Cacciatore for the additional resources provided via PPT.