John Dewey and Education

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John Dewey and Education

  1. 1. John Dewey and Education ECS Year 2 Knowledge and Power
  2. 2. “ The very process of living together educates”— John Dewey (1916) <ul><li>Dewey’s vision of Democratic education: </li></ul><ul><li>1. subject matter comes from learners' needs </li></ul><ul><li>2. grades and promotion should be eliminated, and </li></ul><ul><li>3. learners should be involved in planning, executing, and evaluating activities. </li></ul>
  3. 3. New Nation Began to Emerge in the 18th Century <ul><li>challenged the colonial schools patterned after the schools of Europe where classism, sexism, and racism were the norm </li></ul><ul><li>egalitarian ideas began to dominate politics and influenced education </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The continued evolution of the truly American school was greatly advanced by the First Amendment separation of church and state. </li></ul><ul><li>Under this provision of the Constitution, schools would be secular in nature and no religion would be allowed to advance its cause through the public schools. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Segue to Dewey’s Progressive Education Movement <ul><li>It was not until the 1830s that Horace Mann, who is often referred to as &quot;the father of the [American] public school,&quot; was really able to solidify the [new public education] movement. It was as a result of his leadership that the schools for the common person really took shape and became commonplace. </li></ul>
  6. 6. English Education System <ul><li>What does it look like? </li></ul><ul><li>What is it’s purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Describe some of the goals for students </li></ul><ul><li>Why is this? </li></ul><ul><li>Who decides what children learn? </li></ul>
  7. 7. The School System Dewey Sought to Change (and that still exists): <ul><li>The philosophical character of American education is idealistic, in that the education establishment believes that the purpose of education is to: </li></ul><ul><li>1. prepare the student for later life; </li></ul><ul><li>2. make the student efficient in terms of </li></ul><ul><li>existing institutions; and </li></ul><ul><li>3. mould the student's personality to </li></ul><ul><li>established societal norms </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The resulting school program is organized around so called &quot;basic&quot; studies such as reading, writing, and arithmetic taught in sequential grade levels. </li></ul><ul><li>It is assumed that the basic skills are both necessary and equally useful to all students and that they must be taught by a teacher if they are to be mastered. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The methods of instruction are authoritarian, subject matter and content-oriented, and aimed at arbitrarily established group norms. </li></ul><ul><li>Within such a framework the individual becomes secondary to the group. This is clearly antithetical to democratic values. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Maintain an Unsuccessful Education Status Quo? <ul><li>The authoritarian model has seemed until recently to work fairly well </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers who have been successful in authoritarian schools as students do not have the desire or understanding to change them </li></ul>
  11. 11. What did Dewey propose to create change in the educational system? <ul><li>Represents growth in the individual's capacity to deal with situations </li></ul><ul><li>Is a continuous process and cannot be terminated by the completion of course requirements, promotion, or graduation </li></ul><ul><li>Demands self-direction as opposed to authoritarian imposition </li></ul>
  12. 12. Why were Dewey’s ideas radical? <ul><li>Dewey believed that students should be involved in real-life tasks and challenges: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>maths could be learnt via learning proportions in cooking or figuring out how long it would take to get from one place to another by mule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>history could be learnt by experiencing how people lived, geography, what the climate was like, and how plants and animals grew </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does this differ from the English education system? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Dewey’s Analysis of Subject Matter <ul><li>Subject matter is what a student needs to know in order to do what one is interested in doing. </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas and a knowledge of relevant facts are necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Facts may be observed, recalled, read about, or acquired in any way </li></ul><ul><li>The curriculum ie. reading, writing, arithmetic, nature study, drawing, signing, language, is only &quot;potential subject matter&quot; ----the curriculum becomes actual subject matter to the learner when, if, and as it is used in purposeful activities. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the situation, not the teacher, school or recitation schedule that makes subject matter of vital concern to the learner (Dewey, 1916). </li></ul><ul><li>How is subject matter determined in the English education system? </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Role of the Teacher Is Just As Important As The Subject Matter <ul><li>To see in what direction an experience is heading </li></ul><ul><li>There is no point in his being more mature if…he [teacher] throws away his [sic] insight </li></ul><ul><li>The mature person, to put it in moral terms, has no right to withhold from the young on given occasions whatever capacity for sympathetic understanding his own experience has given him [sic] (1916, p. 31). </li></ul><ul><li>What is the role of the teacher in the English classroom? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Progressive Education <ul><li>The Progressive education movement began in the 18th century as a reaction against what was conceived as educational practices that focused too narrowly upon intellectual development alone.   </li></ul><ul><li>John Dewey broadened this perspective still further, seeing the purpose of a Progressive education lying in its preparation of the student for participation in a democracy . </li></ul>
  16. 16. Two Key Tenets <ul><li>Continuity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we learn something from every experience, whether positive or negative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ones accumulated learned experience influences the nature of one's future experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>every experience in some way influences all potential future experiences for an individual </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>past experience interacts with the present situation, to create one's present experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>any situation can be experienced in profoundly different ways because of unique individual differences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one student loves school, another hates the same school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The teacher with good insight into the effects of past experiences which students bring with them better enables the teacher to provide quality education which is relevant and meaningful for the students. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Dewey’s Viewpoint <ul><li>Dewey was critical of completely &quot;free, student-driven&quot; education because students often don't know how to structure their own learning experiences for maximum benefit. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><ul><li>Progressive education, according to Dewey, was a wild swing in the philosophical pendulum, against traditional education methods.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In progressive education, freedom was the rule, with students being relatively unconstrained by the educator.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The problem with progressive education, said Dewey, is that freedom alone is no solution.  Learning needs a structure and order, and must be based on a clear theory of experience, not simply the whim of teachers or students. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Your Thoughts <ul><li>What did you discover in reading Dewey’s work that startled you? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there anything with which you disagree? </li></ul><ul><li>What, if anything, do you question? </li></ul><ul><li>In the United States, the failure to separate church and state was clearly seen by the framers of the Constitution as a threat to universal religious freedom as well as the emerging democracy. Can England promote Progressive Education or Democratic Education when many schools are religious based? </li></ul>

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