Objectives:1. What is the role of formal education?2. For Dewey, how are democracy, society, and education linked?3. How does Dewey view the nature of the child and the nature oflearning?4. What is the role or function of the teacher, according to Dewey?
John Dewey Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not a preparation for life but is life itself.
Dewey’s on Formal EducationFormal Education– Dewey believed that successful democracy depends upon theeducational development of its people– How else can people rule themselves unless they have theintelligence to produce good laws and make sound judgments?His answer to this is: Education, of course, is not merely "formaleducation," as Dewey points out at the books beginning. Education isgrowth and development throughout life, both before and after anyformal component.– Dewey says that democracy should be an educating social systemand that life in a democratic society should contribute to the growth anddevelopment of its citizens. The very act of self government should bothrequire education and lead to further education; it is a reciprocalarrangement.�
For Dewey, how are democracy, society, and educationlinked?•Democracy is not merely a system of government; it is a pervasivesystem of social organization. That system promotes an open society inwhich people can merge their activities with others and experience astimulating mixture of cultural perspectives and human interests. It is theultimate social experiment in that sense that individuals have theopportunity of challenging values and aims, working collectively towarduncertain results, and discussing new approaches when the results are in.Formal education is only a part of this lifelong process and its roles are,first, to set us on constructive paths and, second, to show us the processthat should become habit. Educational practice, then, is really equivalentto philosophical methodology in Deweys mind. It is in educationalinstitutions that we should learn as habit the "love of wisdom" thatphilosophy is -- not love for any particular subject area or body of contentbut rather love for the process, for engagement with others in seriousdiscussion.
JOHN DEWEY How does he view the nature of the child and the nature of learning? Nature of the child: curious, social, constructive, expressive
“Experiential learning takes place“Experiential learning takes placewhen a person involved in an activitywhen a person involved in an activitylooks back and evaluates it,looks back and evaluates it,determines what was useful or important to remember,determines what was useful or important to remember,and uses this information to perform another activity.”and uses this information to perform another activity.” John Dewey John Dewey
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education”-Philosophy needs to define what education is, moreover, any“ideal that is a genuine help in carrying on activity must rest upona prior knowledge of concrete actual occurrences”- Education is “a process of development”, but it is a “directedgrowth,” which is meant to be directed by educators. His book isimportant because it represents the way Dewey thoughtphilosophy should be done. When we have separated philosophyfrom systems of authority and from rationalized systems ofmetaphysics and from all other versions of thought-by-first-principles, and when we have committed philosophy to the activediscussion of collective activity, we need to make discussionthoroughly articulate.
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education”-the student possesses, inherently, the “raw material and thestarting-point of growth”, however, “the environing conditions to befurnished by the educator are the indispensable means of theirdevelopment”-thus educators must modify environment to provide direction ofstudent growth-each student possesses innate possibilities and properties forgrowth and, as such, an ideal education is characterized bycontinual growth
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education”-“the educational end and the ultimate test of the value of what islearned (in the method described above) is its use and applicationin carrying on and improving the common life of all”-thus, by experiencing growth in education in a democraticenvironment, students will learn how to reform society-we need to expand language and create distinctions, arrangesubdivisions and issues, formulate points of view, and suggestdirections. Taking two large subjects like democracy andeducation, this commits us to quite a long and complex text.
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education” Dewey wants to make individuals more capable of self-support, but he also stresses connections and commitments to others. Schools should not just use activities, but select activities that connect to democratic life, the classroom as a community. Education is a process of development, an educated person has the power to go on and get more education, to grow. Grow like a seed? [Not exactly.] Not as deterministically, as say a tree. Humans have great potential to grow in many directions. The environment for growth matters. Traditional schools fail to recognize the diversity of capacities, the need to initiate growth must come from the needs and powers of the pupil (not a blank slate, not teacher-centered). (Need for a Philosophy of Education, Dewey, 1934)
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education”Toward “more effective techniques, greater self-reliance, a more thoughtful andinquiring disposition more capable of persistent effort in meeting obstacles.”EXPERIENCE A PROBLEM, TRY TO SOLVE IT.Dewey wants to connect interest (NATURE OF THE CHILD: CURIOUS,EXPRESSIVE, SOCIAL, AND CONSTRUCTIVE) and effort (motivate studentsto SOLVE PROBLEMS, ANSWER QUESTIONS)? If successful, it leads to thestudent-curriculum integration that Dewey desires. KNOWLEDGE THAT ISUSEFUL, that supports further growth and expansion of interests.Does Dewey provide a clear vision of the ideal democratic society?“For education to be most successful, it is necessary that people participate indemocratic forms of life.”“A society of free individuals in which all, doing each his own work, contribute tothe liberation and enrichment of the lives of others is the only environment forthe normal growth to full stature.” (“Need for a Philosophy of Education” Dewey,1934)
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education” What does he reject about traditional education? Dewey believes that faculty psychology, behaviorism, and teacher-centered approaches to curriculum do not capture the correct psychology of learning. He rejects the idea that rote learning and memorization are “learning”. “The educational center of gravity has been too long in the teacher, the textbook, anywhere and everywhere except in the immediate instincts and activities of the child himself.” Schools should not be “static in subject matter, authoritarian in methods, and mainly passive.” Dewey fears that society and traditional schooling are promoting: Selfish, egoistic, competitive views where we learn to “outwit others and get on” for ourselves…
What is the role or function of the teacher, according to Dewey?It is the democrat who conceives of education as a processleading to individual growth and development rather than tobrainwashing or purely training for some limited tasks. It is theeducator who conceives of democracy as a social system that notonly encourages individual growth but, in fact, offers the individuala context of free and stimulating intercourse with others, in whichthat growth is possible. Democracy is not merely a system ofgovernment; it is a pervasive system of social organization. Thatsystem promotes an open society in which people can merge theiractivities with others and experience a stimulating mixture ofcultural perspectives and human interests.