Dewey getting to the heart of things


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Mountain Plains Adult Education Association Presentation (April 2010)

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Dewey getting to the heart of things

  1. 1. Getting to the Heart of Things: John Dewey and the American Adult Education Movement MPAEA Conference April 23, 2010, Tempe, Arizona Michael Day & Cliff Harbour University of Wyoming Department of Professional Studies [email_address] ;
  2. 2. Purpose of Session This presentation challenges two current assumptions by leading adult education theorists: the irrelevance of the early years of the organized adult education movement in the U.S. (beginning in 1926), and John Dewey’s indifference to this movement.
  3. 3. Intended audience The intended audience for this session are those who identify themselves as adult educators – especially those who teach adults – and/or those interested in topics related to the historical foundations of the American adult education movement.
  4. 4. Sources Sources consulted for this presentation include the bulk of Dewey’s books written between 1922 and 1936 – the period in which the American adult education movement formed, as well as numerous Dewey essays, correspondences, and secondary sources written about Dewey and the movement. Also consulted were many writings (primary and secondary) about the early years of the American adult education movement, especially a specific work written by Everett Dean Martin. Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009
  5. 5. Organization We begin this session by sharing some background material on John Dewey (1859-1952) and the American Association for Adult Education (AAAE), commonly recognized as the body that organized and provided direction for the adult education movement during its formative years (1926-1937). Then we suggest why Dewey’s interest in adult education may have been more than what is commonly recognized. During this discussion we’ll also introduce Everett Dean Martin – recognized by some as the guiding figure in the AAAE during this period. Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009
  6. 6. Organization (cont) Then, we’ll suggest that Dewey and Martin (others as well) viewed the meaning of adult education in a specific way and that this meaning is generally overlooked in contemporary treatments of the adult education movement. Finally, we’ll share a dozen insights from Dewey relative to the teaching of adult learners. We conclude with a suggested reading list intended for those who wish to further examine Dewey and his writings. Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009
  7. 7. Dewey and the Movement? From the mid 1920s to late 1930s, Dewey was very productive. Also during this period, the American Association for Adult Education (AAAE) was formed. In fact, the AAAE became the driving force of a new field of education: adult education. Approximately ten miles separated Dewey’s work place (Columbia University) from the main offices for the AAAE, located on 5 th Avenue, though the literature suggests neither had much impact on the other. Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009
  8. 8. Dewey and the Movement? Leading adult education theorists such as Knowles, 1962, 1977; Merriam & Brockett, 2007; and Stubblefield & Keane, 1994, usually downplay the early years of the organized adult education movement in the United States, 1926-1949, and generally assign a bystander role to Dewey.   Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009
  9. 9. Dewey and New Movements in Education “ Those who are looking ahead to a new movement in education, adapted to the existing need for a new social order, should think in terms of Education itself rather than in terms of some ‘ism about education, even such an ‘ism as ‘progressivism.’ For in spite of itself any movement that thinks and acts in terms of an ‘ism becomes so involved in reaction against other ‘isms that it is unwittingly controlled by them.” John Dewey, Experience & Education (1938/1963), p.6 John Dewey (1859-1952)
  10. 10. Who was John Dewey? In June 1928, John Dewey appeared on the cover of Time magazine; he was nearing 70 years of age; retirement from Columbia University was on the horizon. He was moderately healthy, but likely still morning the loss of his wife Alice Chapman who died a year earlier -- they had been married for 41 years. We’ve also learned he liked a strong drink and was an early enthusiast of the Alexander Technique – efficient use of the body. But for the purposes of this discussion, John Dewey in 1928, was America’s best known “home-grown” philosopher. John Dewey (1859-1952)
  11. 11. Dewey – Brief Biographical Sketch In 1939, Sidney Hook published a superb book: John Dewey: An Intellectual Portrait . Hook studied under Dewey at Columbia University. Hook referred to Dewey as “America’s philosopher”, noting that “In America’s intellectual coming of age, no person has played a more important role than John Dewey.” (1939/1980, p. 4). Dewey’s rise to prominence was no doubt facilitated by an extraordinary intellect, a Yankee work ethic, and the benefit of great academic experiences (Ryan, 1995). John Dewey (1859-1952)
  12. 12. Dewey – Brief Biographical Sketch (cont) After completing his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in June of 1884, Dewey accepted a position at the University of Michigan as an Instructor of Philosophy. In 1886 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor and within the next month married Alice Chipman who was herself a recent Michigan graduate. Two years later, however, Dewey accepted a position at the University of Minnesota as Professor in Philosophy but then returned to Michigan as Chair and Professor of the Philosophy Department in 1889. John Dewey (1859-1952)
  13. 13. Dewey – Brief Biographical Sketch (cont) Dewey remained at Michigan until 1894 and during this five years was very productive writing many essays and making many presentations to university, professional, and civic organizations. Dewey’s departure for the University of Chicago in July 1894 marked a critical turning point in Dewey’s work. While in Chicago, Dewey published works on the application of psychology and anthropology to education and also co-authored his book, Ethics, with J. H. Tufts. During this period Dewey, “rose to prominence as the nation’s leading philosopher of education, a position he John Dewey (1859-1952)
  14. 14. Dewey – Brief Biographical Sketch (cont) occupied until his death a half century later” (Ryan, 1995, p. 119). After making a series of lectures at Columbia University in 1904, Dewey accepted a position at the institution in early 1905 as a Professor of Philosophy. Columbia was to be Dewey’s primary academic home for the next 25 years and the remainder of his professional life. During this era, Dewey would publish hundreds of works, many related to adult education, though not specifically written about adult education. John Dewey (1859-1952)
  15. 15. John Dewey and Adult Education As already noted, by the mid 1920s, Dewey’s influence as a philosopher and educational theorists was pervasive. The men and women who gathered to form the AAAE and who led the crusade for adult education had Deweyan ideas in their veins, whether they recognized it or not. Most did recognize Dewey’s influence, one example is Joseph Hart who published a book on adult education in 1927. John Dewey (1859-1952)
  16. 16. John Dewey and Joseph Hart Below is a brief excerpt from Hart’s book: “A … psychological advance having importance for education is the so-called Gestalt psychology. This point of view is not fundamentally new in America. It has been implied in the educational teachings of John Dewey for more than thirty years. But, in its experimental and organized form it is new to American educators. Its essential doctrine is that experience always comes to us in wholes – in configurations (Gestalten) – out of which we analyze the separate elements. Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  17. 17. John Dewey and Joseph Hart (cont) “ The whole , therefore, antedates the parts, and moreover, the whole is always more than, and something different from, the sum of all the parts that we have been able to segregate.” Hart, J. (1927) Adult education , p. 234. Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  18. 18. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) But what did Dewey think about adult education? Alvin Johnson (a very old friend of Dewey’s) shared in 1959 what he recalled were Dewey’s views of adult education: “ Not much. He hadn’t a consistent view of adult education. Sometimes he had the opinion that adults are after all children; and what applies to children applies to adults; and as with children, you have to spar around until you find that particular point in the child’s mind that has the germ of growth. So too with adults. John Dewey circa ~1930
  19. 19. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) Johnson on Dewey (cont) “ He had very little use for those early notions that we had to develop specific types of teaching for adults. With the adult it is of overwhelming importance that the teacher believe what he has to say; that if the teacher has a passion for it, you might catch the adult that way. “ Then at other times he thought that adult education was a kind of misnomer; it was a way of spending time. He’d lose his interest in it entirely.” (Lamont, 1959, pp. 114-115) John Dewey circa ~1930
  20. 20. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) When we confront Dewey’s views on adult education indirectly, through his emphasis on the education of youth, we catch another glimpse of why Dewey spent such little time thinking about or discussing adult education. In the Public and its Problems (1927/1991), Dewey writes, “The period in which education is possible to an effective degree is that of childhood; if this time is not taken advantage of the consequences are irreparable. The neglect can rarely be made up later.” (p. 63) John Dewey circa ~1930
  21. 21. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) Dewey seems to have felt that by the time individuals became adults, habitual ways of thinking and behaving had set in, both were terribly resistant to change. But this has not deterred some writers from seeing an adult education emphasis in Dewey. Shortly after Dewey’s death in 1952 a memorial issue of Progressive Education was assembled. One contributor was Herbert W. Schneider, professor of philosophy at Columbia University and a student of Dewey’s. The following comments seem particularly relevant to our discussion, John Dewey circa ~1930
  22. 22. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) “ My general conclusion about Dewey as an influence in progressive education is that his greatest contribution lies in the field of what might be called adult education. I mean here not the courses which are given here and there to adults, but the faith in a process of reciprocal education among mature minds or at least among minds that aim at maturing.” (Schneider, p. 12). John Dewey circa ~1930
  23. 23. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) An adult educator who had recognized Dewey’s contributions to his field was Kenneth D. Benne. Writing in the Adult Education Bulletin, 1949 (the year Dewey celebrated his 90 th birthday), Benne recommended Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems , viewing it as a worthwhile reference for adult educators. What Benne found of special interest was Dewey’s reference to conditions necessary for “democratizing modern life … “equally the conditions of an adequate adult education.” (p. 10) John Dewey circa ~1930
  24. 24. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) Another article about Dewey and adult education appeared in 1981. Angela Cross-Durant, attempted to connect Dewey’s theory of growth with emerging lifelong education initiatives. “The spirit of lifelong education may be traced in Dewey’s thought from the late 1890s through 1939.” (p. 123). John Dewey circa ~1930
  25. 25. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) And, a few dissertations have been written about Dewey and adult education, for example Bogner’s John Dewey’s Theory of Adult Education and Adult Development (1990), and Stein, John Dewey and Adult Education . But neither have much to contribute to this investigation. John Dewey circa ~1930
  26. 26. Dewey and Adult Education (cont) As noted earlier, only ten miles separated Dewey’s work place from the main offices for the American Association for Adult Education, yet little attention has been spent drawing some connection between the two. Even with this handful of references, for the most part, adult education theorists have ignored Dewey. Then an interesting discovery was made. John Dewey circa ~1930
  27. 27. John Dewey and Everett Dean Martin Recently, faculty and students at the University of Wyoming had access to the InteLex Corporation’s Past Masters database -- a massive collection of online materials. Included in this database was the complete works and correspondence of John Dewey. Access to Dewey’s correspondence was most compelling – a rare opportunity to meet the people Dewey corresponded with and to catch a glimpse of what they discussed. One person Dewey discussed was Everett Dean Martin – a bit surprising because the two individuals seemingly had so little in common. John Dewey circa ~1930
  28. 28. Dewey and Martin (cont) In March 1928, Dewey writes the following to Marie Meloney, editor of the New York Herald-Tribune Sunday Magazine , “I think the best educational books of recent publication are Bode, Modern Educational Theories … Kilpatrick, Education for a Changing Civilization … & Martin, The Meaning of a Liberal Education .” John Dewey circa ~1930
  29. 29. Dewey and Martin (cont) This was not the first time, Dewey recommended Martin’s book. In 1927, the editors of the Journal of the National Education Association asked Dewey, “What book have you recently found especially worthwhile? Something that you have read easily, eagerly, and with profit – either in the field of education or out of it.” Dewey named two books; one was Martin’s The Meaning of a Liberal Education (Dewey, 1927, p. 60). Martin poster designed by Michael Day, 2010
  30. 30. Dewey and Martin (cont) Why were the recommendations to Martin’s book so unexpected? To date, adult education writers recognize no connection between Dewey and Martin; this lack of recognition contributes to a variety of assumptions regarding the formative years of the American adult education movement, beginning in 1926. Unfortunately, Dewey does not elaborate upon his recommendation, either to the editors of NEA Journal or to Marie Meloney. So, why did Dewey recommend Martin’s book? Speculation as to an answer drove this investigation. Martin poster designed by Michael Day, 2010
  31. 31. Martin and Historian Harold Stubblefield One adult education historian who is particularly unkind to Martin is Harold Stubblefield. For Stubblefield, “Martin held a narrow definition of liberal education.” (p. 63) “Martin’s attitude toward common people was paradoxical. On the one hand he worked with them for almost a quarter of a century, and he held out adult education as their hope. But on the other hand, he held them in contempt, did not believe them capable of governing themselves, and wanted them governed by an intellectual leadership of the cultured.” (pp. 70 -71) “Openly elitist, Martin, nevertheless, believed that the common people had a natural desire for education; if given the Martin poster designed by Michael Day, 2010
  32. 32. Martin and Stubblefield (cont) opportunity they might stumble on the meaning of liberal education.” (p. 75) “In his desire to make liberal education a philosophy of living and to promote excellence as the goal of adult education, he achieved what he had feared. Liberal education, as he envisioned it, became a ‘cult or faction of the adult education movement in America.’ His vision was simply too narrow. “(p. 79) Elsewhere, Stubblefield writes, “ Advocates of liberal education for adults are often characterized as being concerned solely about the intellectual development of individuals to the exclusion of social change. The positions of Everett Dean Martin, Martin poster designed by Michael Day, 2010
  33. 33. Martin and Stubblefield (cont) Mortimer Adler, and Robert Hutchins provide ample evidence for this judgment.” (p. 99) In criticizing Martin, Stubblefield seems inclined to narrowly view the “liberal education tradition” as subject matter and “intellectual development” as discipline for the mind. Martin did promote these views but not as single mindedly as Stubblefield suggests. What Stubblefield seemed to miss, and what will be presented shortly, is Martin’s emphasis on adult education as a serious reexamination of life. Stubblefield, H. W. (1992). Towards a history of adult education in America: The search for a unifying principle. Martin poster designed by Michael Day, 2010
  34. 34. Dewey Primer on Education Back to Dewey, before going on, we provide a VERY brief introduction to some key aspects of Dewey’s views on education. John Dewey circa ~1930
  35. 35. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) We begin with a “early” classic quote from Dewey pertaining to experience and education: “When we think that we all live on the earth, that we live in an atmosphere, that our lives are touched at every point by the influences of the soil, flora, and fauna, by considerations of light and heat, and then we think of what the school study of geography has been, we have a typical idea of the gap existing between the everyday experiences of the child, and the isolated material supplied in large measure in school.” John Dewey, (1899/1980) The School and Society , p. 46
  36. 36. Connection Not Isolation: “Through this connection, extending from the garden into the larger world, the child has his (her) most natural introduction to the study of the sciences. Where did these things grow? What was necessary to their growth? What their relation to the soil? What the effect of different climatic conditions? And so on.” John Dewey, (1899/1980) The School and Society , p. 50 Dewey Primer on Education (cont)
  37. 37. of the school -- its isolation from life. When the child gets into the schoolroom he (she) has to put out of his (her) mind a large part of the ideas, interests, and activities that predominate in his (her) home and neighborhood. So the school, being unable to utilize this everyday experience, sets painfully to work, on another tack and by a variety of means, to arouse in the child an interest in school studies.” John Dewey, (1899/1980) The School and Society , p. 46 Dewey Primer on Education (cont) “ From the standpoint of the child, the great waste in the school comes from his (her) inability to utilize the experiences he (she) gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while, on the other hand, he (she) is unable to apply in daily life what he (she) is learning in school. That is the isolation John Dewey circa ~1940
  38. 38. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (From Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed) I believe that all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual's powers, saturating his consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions. Through this unconscious education the individual gradually comes to share in the intellectual and moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together. He becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization. The most formal and technical education in the world cannot safely depart from this general process. It can only John Dewey’s My pedagogic creed (1887). Reprinted in Dworkin, M. S. (1959/1975). Dewey on education , pp. 19-31 John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  39. 39. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) organize it or differentiate it in some particular direction. I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child's powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge from his original narrowness of action and feeling, and to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs. Through the responses which others make to his own activities he comes to know what these mean in social terms. The value which they have is reflected back into them. For instance, through the response John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  40. 40. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) which is made to the child's instinctive babblings the child comes to know what those babblings mean; they are transformed into articulate language and thus the child is introduced into the consolidated wealth of ideas and emotions which are now summed up in language. I believe that this educational process has two sides-one psychological and one sociological; and that neither can be subordinated to the other or neglected without evil results following. Of these two sides, the psychological is the basis. The child's own instincts and powers furnish the material and give the starting point for all education. Save as the John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  41. 41. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) efforts of the educator connect with some activity which the child is carrying on of his own initiative independent of the educator, education becomes reduced to a pressure from without. It may, indeed, give certain external results, but cannot truly be called educative. Without insight into the psychological structure and activities of the individual, the educative process will, therefore, be haphazard and arbitrary. If it chances to coincide with the child's activity it will get a leverage; if it does not, it will result in friction, or disintegration, or arrest of the child nature. I believe that knowledge of social conditions, of the present state of civilization, is necessary in order John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  42. 42. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) properly to interpret the child's powers. The child has his own instincts and tendencies, but we do not know what these mean until we can translate them into their social equivalents. We must be able to carry them back into a social past and see them as the inheritance of previous race activities. We must also be able to project them into the future to see what their outcome and end will be. In the illustration just used, it is the ability to see in the child's babblings the promise and potency of a future social intercourse and conversation which enables one to deal in the proper way with that instinct. I believe that the psychological and social sides are John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  43. 43. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) organically related and that education cannot be regarded as a compromise between the two, or a superimposition of one upon the other. We are told that the psychological definition of education is barren and formal-that it gives us only the idea of a development of all the mental powers without giving us any idea of the use to which these powers are put. On the other hand, it is urged that the social definition of education, as getting adjusted to civilization, makes of it a forced and external process, and results in subordinating the freedom of the individual to a preconceived social and political status. John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  44. 44. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) I believe that each of these objections is true when organically related and that education cannot be urged against one side isolated from the other. In order to know what a power really is we must know what its end, use, or function is; and this we cannot know save as we conceive of the individual as active in social relationships. But, on the other hand, the only possible adjustment which we can give to the child under existing conditions, is that which arises through putting him in complete possession of all his powers. With the advent of democracy and modern industrial conditions, it is impossible to foretell definitely just what civilization will be twenty years from now. Hence it is impossible to prepare the child for any precise set John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  45. 45. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) of conditions. To prepare him for the future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have the full and ready use of all his capacities; that his eye and ear and hand may be tools ready to command, that his judgment may be capable of grasping the conditions under which it has to work, and the executive forces be trained to act economically and efficiently. It is impossible to reach this sort of adjustment save as constant regard is had to the individual's own powers, tastes, and interests-say, that is, as education is continually converted into psychological terms. John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  46. 46. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) What Education Is (cont) In sum, I believe that the individual who is to be educated is a social individual and that society is an organic union of individuals. If we eliminate the social factor from the child we are left only with an abstraction; if we eliminate the individual factor from society, we are left only with an inert and lifeless mass. Education, therefore, must begin with a psychological insight into the child's capacities, interests, and habits. It must be controlled at every point by reference to these same considerations. These powers, interests, and habits must be continually interpreted-we must know what they mean. They must be translated into terms of their social equivalents-into terms of what they are capable of in the way of social service. John Dewey 30 cents stamp
  47. 47. For Dewey, and for many adult educators, new learning begins with the experiences individuals already have, “this experience and the capacities that have developed during its course provide the starting point for all further learning.” John Dewey ( 1938/1963), Experience & Education , p. 74 Dewey Primer on Education (cont)
  48. 48. Dewey Primer on Education (cont) Continuity of Experience based on needs, desires, capacity, purpose S I T U A T I O N Learner’s future Learner’s past Interaction (new situation) Educational force or function of a new experience Dewey’s model of an Educative Experience
  49. 49. Who was Everett Dean Martin? Everett Dean Martin was trained as a Congregational minister, graduating from the McCormick Theological Seminary (Chicago) when he was 27. From 1906 to 1915, he ministered in Illinois and Iowa. During this time, he also married and had three daughters. Day (1990) noted during Martin’s ministerial years, he was recognized as an inspiring speaker and a successful writer. Then in 1915, controversy engulfed Martin, he left the ministry, relocated to New York City, and remarried. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  50. 50. Everett Dean Martin (cont) From 1916 to 1936, Martin reemerged as a successful lecturer and writer, developing a substantial reputation via his association with the People’s Institute – a major center for adult education in New York City. He served as director of the Institute from 1922 to 1934. In 1936 Martin accepted a position as professor of social psychology at Claremont College, in Southern California. Five years later Martin suffered a fatal heart attack at 61 years of age.   Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  51. 51. Everett Dean Martin & the AAAE Shortly after Martin’s death in 1941, Morse A. Cartwright (executive director of the AAAE from its founding in 1926 to its termination in 1949) acknowledged, Martin’s influence on the AAAE and the American Adult Education Movement: “ Dr. Martin was the spiritual father of the American Association for Adult Education. He wrote its Constitution and had great influence in its founding. He served successively as member of its Council, of its Executive Board and Executive Committee, as its President, and as its Chairman… Morse A. Cartwright (1890-1974) Photo: Current Biography 1947
  52. 52. Martin & the AAAE (cont) Cartwright (cont) “ His (Martin’s) was a full life and a rich one. He will live on in the deeds and lives of his many disciples.” (1941, p. 324)   Morse A. Cartwright (1890-1974) Photo: Current Biography 1947
  53. 53. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement? Before going on, this is a good place to introduce the American Association for Adult Education (AAAE) and its role in the formation of an American adult education movement. According to Lyman Bryson (author of the first text book on adult education in 1936), “One reason for taking 1926 as a turning point in the development of adult education in America is that in that year the American Association for Adult Education (AAAE) began its active work. Lyman Bryson (1888-1959) Photo: American Spiritual Autobiographies, 1948
  54. 54. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) It was founded by the Carnegie Corporation, and in ten years of existence it has been the channel through which large sums of money have been spent by the Corporation on experiments, demonstrations, and development.” Bryson, L. (1936) Adult education , p. 124. Lyman Bryson (1888-1959) Photo: American Spiritual Autobiographies, 1948
  55. 55. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) But adult education theorists today commonly dismiss the AAAE as promoting ideas about adult education no longer relevant. For example, for students of adult education, the most widely used overview of the field of adult education is Merriam and Brockett’s The Profession and Practice of Adult Education (2007). The second and third chapters of the text are devoted to the philosophical perspectives and perspectives on the past . Within this overview, the authors are generally dismissive of Martin and the AAAE. The authors suggest the values the AAAE embraced (identified as liberal adult education) have been “eclipsed by other orientations that Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  56. 56. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) are more congruent with contemporary issues and concerns.” (2007, p. 33). Indeed, one can find a strong “cultural” focus in the AAAE. Take for example, Cartwright’s comments in his executive director report of the AAAE in 1927: “ A sincere and compelling desire to proceed conservatively and constructively, even if slowly, has ever been uppermost in the minds of staff and of committees. This policy has prevailed in the face of numerous opportunities to strike publicly for various phases of adult education which, while perhaps meritorious of themselves, did not make Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  57. 57. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) directly for a safe, sane and careful upbuilding of the central idea of adult education as a continuing cultural process pursued without ulterior purpose.” (1927, p. 3) But, as we suggest, the message promoted by AAAE members was much more. Consider it’s leadership for a moment, a “Who’s Who” of early adult education enthusiasts: Arthur Bestor, director of the Chautauqua Institution; Margaret Burton, chairman of the, International Committee of the National Board of the Y.W.C.A.; Olive Dame Campbell, founder of the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina; Linda Anne Eastman, Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  58. 58. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) senior librarian, Cleveland Public Library; Dorothy Canfield Fisher, poet and writer; Wil Lou Gray, Opportunity School organizer in South Carolina; Joseph K. Hart, writer and professor who was a strong enthusiast of the Danish Folk High school approach to adult education; Alvin Johnson, co-founder and director, New School for Social Research in NYC; Eduard Lindeman, writer and professor of social work; Spencer Miller Jr., director, Workers Educational Bureau of America; Harry Overstreet, writer and professor of philosophy, College of the City of New York; and Everett Dean Martin. AAAE presidents whose correspondence with Dewey was found Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  59. 59. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) in Past Masters database included: Eduard Lindeman, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Harry Overstreet, Alvin Johnson, as well as Alain Locke, writer, philosopher and educator, referred to as the Father of the Harlem Renaissance; Charles Beard, writer, professor and historian; and John H. Finley, once the commissioner of the New York State Board of Education and for many years editor in chief of the New York Times. No, there were significant themes embraced and promoted by members of the AAAE that are very “congruent with contemporary issues and concerns.” Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  60. 60. AAAE and the Adult Education Movement (cont) In the introduction to his dissertation in 1981 (a work focusing on the AAAE and its initial Journal), Day writes “For 25 years the American Association for Adult Education was the stalwart of the American adult education movement…. With the generous financial backing of the Carnegie Corporation the AAAE was able to serve as a clearinghouse for information about adult education activities and as a sponsor for and catalyst of research in various facets of adult education…. Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  61. 61. AAAE and Adult Education Movement (cont) “ The AAAE became a rallying point for the prospect that adult education is a new educational frontier, a new educational challenge; the AAAE suggested an alternative view to the common juxtaposition of education and schooling.” Day, M. (1981). Adult education as a new educational frontier …, p. 2.
  62. 62. Adult Education as a New Educational Movement In 1929, Morse Cartwright and Mary Ely (both editors of the AAAE’s new journal, the American Journal of Adult Education ) addressed both the new movement and the AAAE’s definition of adult education: “ Adult education, expressed and visualized in the United States of America as a ‘movement,’ represents new tendencies and developments in educational theory and practice. It emphasizes need and desire, not age, as fundamental in education. Morse A. Cartwright (1890-1974) Photo: Current Biography 1947
  63. 63. New Educational Movement (cont) Cartwright and Ely (cont) “ Perhaps the essential characteristic of adult education – and in this it differs from all other forms of education – is found in the basic idea of continuous mind expansion and adjustment as necessary for personal growth and social progress.” (1929, p. 3) Symbol adopted by the AAAE 1926-1949
  64. 64. New Educational Movement (cont) “ It seems we are to have an adult education movement as the next step in our efforts to solve our problems. The term ‘Adult Education’ is new in American discussion: it came into use during the European war, and it first appears in the Reader’s Guide to Current Periodicals in 1915-16. “ But if the term is new, the meaning and practice are old. Adult education is as old as the race. It was the first form of education to be definitely set up in America. Aside from the fact that the Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  65. 65. New Educational Movement (cont) wilderness was itself an actual school of life – or death – the American community began, quite early, to develop the instrumentalities of a more systematic education -- for adults.” Hart, J. (1927) Adult education , pp. 168-169. Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  66. 66. New Educational Movement (cont) “ So the problem of Adult Education lies here, -- in two-fold form, to-wit: first, to make clear to ourselves the outlines of a genuine democracy for the future, with all its perplexities and complexities, and all its seeming contradictions, denying none; and, second, to help ourselves and all other individuals and groups and communities and nations to realize the meanings, still latent, unexplored, even unsuspected within that democratic future, in order that our joyous energies may be released for its eventual accomplishment.” Hart, J. (1927) Adult education , p. 27. Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  67. 67. New Educational Movement (cont) “ Since this field (adult education) is still on the frontiers of educational investigation and discussion, many of the arguments and much of the material herein used may well appear controversial. That is all to the good, provided the controversy rages on the level of critical intelligence, not on the levels of institutional tradition. This book could serve no better purpose than to show the need of a larger light on the problems of education, and to be itself lost to view in the floods of light let loose.” Hart, J. (1927) Adult education , p. ix. Joseph K. Hart (1876-1949) Photo: University of Wisconsin Archives
  68. 68. New Educational Movement (cont) “ The (adult education) movement has been a long time on the way, even though to our dulled eyes it may only now be coming into visibility. Any one who considers for a moment the signs of the times, knows that the next battle in the campaign of democracy is going to rage around the question of the possibility and advisability of general education for the majority of grown-ups, just as the battle of the last century has been about the possibility and advisability of general schooling for all the young.” Fisher, D. C. (1927) Why stop learning , pp. 14-15. Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1953)
  69. 69. The Meaning of a Liberal Education Martin’s book The meaning of a liberal education can be viewed as a manifesto of sorts for the new adult education movement. Within its pages, appear the values Cartwright and others believed guided the new movement. And, we suggest, it is these values that Dewey may have viewed as appropriate to the education of adults. Martin was 46 years old and in his prime when he wrote The meaning of a liberal education. Photographs of him during this period depict a rather self-assured middle-aged gentleman, average height and weight, thinning hair combed back, Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  70. 70. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) handsome wide-lapel wool striped suit, starched white shirt and polka dot tie. During 1926, Martin celebrated the tenth year of his affiliation with the People’s Institute and Cooper Union in New York City. He was also a member of the executive committee of the American Association for Adult Education (AAAE), founded in the spring of 1926, was involved in structuring some small “Reader’s Round Table” discussion groups in a number of libraries in New York City, and was among the first troupe of teachers of adult educators – he   Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  71. 71. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) taught a foundations type of course stressing themes developed in The meaning of a liberal education. This was Martin’s fourth book (the first three were The Behavior of Crowds: A Psychological Study (1920); The Mystery of Religion: A Study in Social Psychology (1924); and Psychology: What it Has to Teach You About Yourself and Your World . (1924). As in the case of the first three books, The Meaning of a Liberal Education was composed primarily of individual lectures first delivered in the Great Hall of Cooper Union. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  72. 72. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) In comparing The Meaning of a Liberal Education with Eduard Lindeman's The Meaning of Adult Education , also published in 1926, Evans Clark, in a review for The New York Times Book Review­, considered Martin's work, by far, the more brilliant of the two. According to Clark, Martin "painted one of the most attractive portraits of the educated man in the gallery of modern literature." Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  73. 73. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) In his Preface, Martin states his purpose for writing the book is to help readers examine the meaning of education. He plans to address three rather broad questions: 1) What is an educated person like? 2) How do they differ from the uneducated? 3) Do they think differently and, if so, why? Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  74. 74. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) Unlike later adult education theorists, he unflinchingly suggests there is essence, a deeper meaning to education when applied to adults. Though adult education, for some readers, may be more associated with activities or with things taught, this was not Martin’s focus. Adult education had significance because, at its core, it was a spiritual revaluation of life, an awakening. Adult education should rekindle childhood curiosity and help people think reflectively. (See Day & Petrick, 2006, for a treatment of rekindling childhood curiosity) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  75. 75. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) For Martin, adult education is “more than information, or skill, or propaganda. In each age education must take into account the conditions of that age. But the educated mind is not a mere creature of its own time. Adult education is emancipation from herd opinion, self-mastery, capacity for self-criticism, suspended judgment, and urbanity” (p. vii) Adult education serves as a catalyst for intense self-reflection; it serves as an awakening because habitual ways of thinking and behaving are confronted. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  76. 76. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) Martin’s view of adult education as hard work and self-discovery, requiring the willingness to wrestle with and re-examine ideas and beliefs, is very Deweyan (see Dewey’s How We Think ). Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  77. 77. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) Ideas and beliefs are viewed as tentative guides to behavior, useful as long as they facilitate further exploration and growth. In addition, there is an underlying recognition that humans are part of the natural world (similar to and not vastly separate from other species) driven by instinctual needs and visceral desires. It is the human’s ability to apply intelligence to acts and to communicate reasons for actions that separate them from other species. Again, like other species, human beings are social beings, increasingly growing in their independence from others. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  78. 78. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) What Martin repeatedly laments is the tendency for humans to resist seeking autonomy in thought and behavior. Rather, as Martin cautioned in The Behavior of Crowds humans tend to form crowds guided by passion and conformity, not intelligence and independence. [Here we do see a stark difference in Martin’s and Dewey’s views about associated behaviors – Martin tending to see potential for assaults on the dignity of the individual, Dewey tending to see hope via democratic decision making.] Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  79. 79. Imaginary depiction of Martin’s crowd behavior nightmare – Bosch’s Christ Crowned with Thorns Hieronymus Bosch (c1450-1516) Christ Crowned with Thorns National Gallery, London
  80. 80. Imaginary depiction of Dewey’s more hopeful view of democratic associations – Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence John Trumbull (1756-1843) Detail from Declaration of Independence United States Capitol Rotunda, c. 1819
  81. 81. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) Ever a product of cultural roots and traditions, both Martin and Dewey contend that humans initially adopt their heritage without question (See Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed ). Adult education is the process by which humans take stock of their upbringings, the cultural beliefs and traditions of their youth, and critically examine their relevance for the social conditions in which they live. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  82. 82. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) What is an educated person like? For Martin, they are individuals who know their own mind, are at home with uncertainty, and recognize that they live in an unfinished world (all very Deweyan beleifs). Culture and tradition are significant as perspective and roots, but adults are not shackled to either. The mind is ever open to new ideas and tolerant of the ideas of others. Actions are guided more by reason (reflective thought) than passion. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  83. 83. Meaning of a Liberal Education (cont) Generally, unfinished adult lives (lives that continue to learn and grow) are governed by intelligence and constantly refreshed by curiosity. Educated adults are always works in progress, never finished products, they discriminate amongst alternative views and behaviors, wrestle and struggle with ideas, and are willing to expend the energy and effort critical thought and reflection demand. Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  84. 84. Defining Adult Education (Knowles) This view has generally been forgotten when more contemporary theorists write about adult education and its meaning. In a pivotal (i.e., influential) treatment of the history of the adult education movement in the U.S., Malcolm Knowles (1962/1977) suggested three meanings for adult education: process, organized activities and a movement or field (p. viii). As process, Knowles included “all forms of experience – reading, listening, traveling and conversing – that are engaged in by mature people for the purpose of learning.” (p. viii). Knowles’ other two meanings for adult education seem rather self-explanatory: Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997)
  85. 85. Defining Adult Education (Knowles) activities include organized classes, conferences, and study groups; movement or field include shared areas of interest and common goals, such as improved instructional methods, extension of opportunities for adults to learn, and “the advancement of the general level of our culture” -- though Knowles, may have been thinking about cultural advancement in terms similar to Martin or Dewey, he tends to view this domain as Chautauqua lectures or Great Books programs. These three definitions have defined the professional field of adult education for years. Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997)
  86. 86. A Fourth Definition of Adult Education What now seems a clear omission by Knowles is a fourth definition of adult education, one emphasized in Martin’s book: Adult education as an awakening to reflective thinking. None of the other definitions make this suggestion. Indeed, adult education as process has lead to more platitudes than to an emphasis on reflective inquiry. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  87. 87. A Fourth Definition of Adult Education And, if we accept that Martin’s contribution to the formative years of the American adult education extends well beyond his classification as poster boy for an out-dated and increasingly irrelevant ‘ism (liberal adult education) then we might also reconsider the suggested “neutrality” of early AAAE leaders about adult education. We might also reconsider Dewey’s interest in and influence upon the early years of the adult education movement. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  88. 88. So Why Did Dewey Recommend Martin’s Book? So, why did Dewey recommend the Martin book? The answer, we believe, is that Martin’s view of adult education as a spiritual awakening may have truly resonated with Dewey. From what we’ve already shared, Dewey was an outspoken proponent of reflective thinking as critical to a political democracy. Because of his belief in the malleability of youth, Dewey directed his suggestions primarily to elementary and secondary schoolteachers. Dewey may have found in Martin both an ally in his crusade for reflective thought as well an educator capable of stirring adults out of their habitual ways of thinking and acting. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  89. 89. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) There was something about what Martin said in The meaning of a liberal education that resonated with Dewey. Perhaps it was because Martin, like Dewey, concentrated on how individuals should think and not on what subject matter they should learn or what activities they should participate in. Both steeped in psychology and admirers of William James, Dewey and Martin were fully aware of how quickly habits form and how difficult they are to modify for adults. Adults might need a figurative slap-in-the-face to lull them out of routine and complacency. Martin’s book emphasized such an approach. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  90. 90. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) Dewey may also have greatly appreciated Martin’s passion as an educator as well as his “sparing around” approach, one that stirs an audience to pay attention and to take notice. And, like Dewey, Martin addressed education itself, not some ‘ism about education. Having said this, we are not at all suggesting Dewey and Martin were of one mind on other issues (as the two imaginary illustrations already depicted). To generate reflective thinking, Martin generally would look backward to cultural heritage, good and bad. Heritage, for Martin, became the vehicle for self-examination and critique of contemporary social conditions. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  91. 91. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) For Dewey, the catalyst for reflective thinking was contemporary social conditions; some aspect of cultural heritage might be consulted next, but primarily to help better understand a present situation. For Dewey, reflective thinking should have consequence, lead directly to a different way of acting. For Martin, there is less stress on the direction of future actions, it may be assumed, but it’s private. Martin also accepted that unconscious impulses work in mysterious ways and may contribute especially to questionable behaviors, as they contribute to “crowd behaviors”. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  92. 92. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) Dewey felt this was nonsense; social conditions and the natural needs of the human species shaped behavior. Also regarding behavior, Martin seemed to primarily stress the impact of mind and emotion whereas Dewey tends to stress the unity of mind, emotion and body. And, there are likely many more differences between the two men. But, this we do know. There was something about Martin’s ideas that Dewey felt worth recommending to others. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  93. 93. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) If we accept Martin and Dewey were interested in each other – there are numerous references to Dewey in Martin’s book -- then we might speculate that Dewey’s influence on the American adult education movement was more than generally acknowledged. In fact, as noted earlier, when looking through Dewey’s correspondence, many leaders of the AAAE conversed with Dewey. We sense Dewey was interested in them and perhaps was even interested in the type of adult education they generally endorsed. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  94. 94. Why Dewey May Have Recommend Martin’s Book (cont) If we accept Martin’s view of adult education as an awakening to reflective thinking, then we acknowledge that his contribution to both the formative years of the American adult education movement, as well as to the general field of adult education, extend beyond his association with “liberal adult education.” We conclude now with what we view as a dozen Deweyan observations that seem quite meaningful for adult educators. John Dewey (1859-1952) Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) Photo: New York Public Library
  95. 95. Deweyan Observations for Adult Educators • That we serve as role models for our students, that they see in us minds alive, engaged, and perpetually curious; • That the essence of education is experience (for youth and for adults), composed of a past, stimulated by present situations, and, to be truly “educative”, leading to growth and furthering curiosity (we’re always “beginning” in the middle of things); • That our sense of self is a reflection of who we are as a species (basic needs) and the values we’ve inherited from traditions and beliefs established over time (cultural heritage); John Dewey (1859-1952)
  96. 96. Deweyan Observations for Adult Educators • That we understand how habitual ruts are formed and how challenging it may be to get out of them, i.e, to confront and examine “routine” thoughts, beliefs and behavior; • That our thoughts, actions and learning reflect the wholeness of who we are at any given moment (a unity of body, mind, emotion, and spirit); • That ideas are viewed as blueprints for activity – they suggest action; • That we accept that we live in an unfinished and uncertain world, and that change is constant (each day we’re the same, but John Dewey (1859-1952)
  97. 97. Deweyan Observations for Adult Educators different); • That in teaching adults we may sometimes need to “spar around” a bit, to stir students to confront their current understandings and ways of doing things and that we may need to approach a subject differently based on the past experiences of students; • That our enthusiasm and genuine interest in a subject may serve a catalyst for students to pay more attention to it than not; • That we encourage students to employ scientific methods (basic inquiry) for modifying understandings and behaviors (i.e., John Dewey (1859-1952)
  98. 98. Deweyan Observations for Adult Educators that they remain curious about the world in which they live): pay attention and ask questions, form hypothesis (explanations) for why and how something may influence something else, test, and revise understandings based on findings; • That we retain some sense of humility regarding our relationship to the natural world and other species, i.e., that we share so much with other species such as basic needs and interrelationships; • That we find meaning in both helping others and contributing in some small way to shaping the future. John Dewey (1859-1952)
  99. 99. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey <ul><li>What follows are some general suggestions for those who would like to become more familiar with Dewey’s life and work: </li></ul><ul><li>For an excellent introduction to Dewey and his massive collection of works, we recommend Sydney Hook’s (1939). John Dewey: An intellectual portrait. Hook was a youthful student of professor Dewey’s and Dewey seems to have approved of Hook’s interpretations – very readable, available in paperback, and not very expensive, 242 pages </li></ul><ul><li>School and society (1898). Three of eight chapters were delivered as lectures for parents, so fairly readable. Though written about youth education, this is an excellent introduction into Dewey’s early views of education and schooling in a democracy. Paperback reprint available, 164 pages. </li></ul>John Dewey circa ~1930
  100. 100. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey (cont) <ul><li>How we think (1933) Revised edition of a work written in 1910.Written primarily for elementary and secondary school teachers, the ideas encompassed are also relevant for university teachers as well as adult educators. Excellent and very readable, a nice overview to thoughtful inquiry and how teachers can nurture curiosity and self-reflection. Dewey notes the book’s title could have been How We Should Think . 301 pages with index </li></ul><ul><li>At this time, you may wish to read a biography of Dewey. If so we recommend George Dykhuizen (1978) The life and mind of John Dewey . Dykhuizen met Dewey and interviewed many of those close to him, also had access to Dewey’s rich correspondence. Very readable and available in paperback, 429 pages with index. </li></ul>John Dewey circa ~1930
  101. 101. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey (cont) <ul><li>Human nature and conduct (1922). Is subtitled as An introduction to social psychology but Dewey </li></ul><ul><li>resists viewing this work as such an introduction. Excellent resource for examining Dewey’s views about habit formation, and strong reasons for applying scientific method to understanding human motivation, behavior and society. Available as a reprint in paperback, 336 pages with index. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Experience and education (1938). Reads more like an essay, very readable. Dewey encourages the reader to equate education with experience, recognizing that only certain experiences are truly educative. Why? This is classic Dewey, arguing for recognition of the continuity of experience, rich in past, focused on some situation emerging in the present, and seeking resolution affecting the future. A classic little paperback, 91 pages. </li></ul>John Dewey circa ~1930
  102. 102. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey (cont) <ul><li>Art as experience (1934). If you’ve become intrigued by Dewey’s treatment of the educative value of experience, than this book is a must. This may well be Dewey’s most expansive treatment of experience as applied to and relevant to the sciences and the arts. Long, a tad dense, but very interesting. Again, available in paperback, 355 pages with index. </li></ul><ul><li>A common faith (1934). A beautiful, hopeful, and generally easy to read book (only 87 pages). Dewey argues that the realization of the democratic ideal suggests a new focus for our faith -- faith in applied intelligence to truly create a new fellowship – a “devotion so intense as to be religious, to intelligence as a force in social action.” (p.79). Paperback and readily available. </li></ul>John Dewey circa ~1930
  103. 103. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey (cont) <ul><li>Experience and nature (1929). Perhaps a favorite book by Dewey. Not for the novice but for someone who is looking for a superb summary of Dewey’s thinking. It’s all here, a very sobering depiction of the human species’ place in the natural world – what we share with other species as to needs and our distinctness. Excellent, can be a tad dense if you are struggling with Dewey’s writing, available in paperback 443pages with index. </li></ul><ul><li>The quest for certainty (1929). Readable because originally given as a series of lectures. This work addresses a modern dilemma facing adults in a rapidly changing world – a natural quest for certainty and security. Dewey argues the unity of knowing and doing, theory and practice, available in paperback 318 pages with index. </li></ul>John Dewey circa ~1930
  104. 104. For Those Who Wish to Become More Acquainted with Dewey (cont) 11. Public and its problems (1926). Dewey’s purpose for writing the book is implied by the title: the public has problems. Dewey identifies these problems (as consequences of conditions), the conditions that contributed to bringing them about, and what he believes should be done to address them. Available in paperback, 236 pages with index. 12. Democracy and education (1913). Dewey’s major work in education. It serves as both a reflection upon and a criticism of his age; identifies characteristics of appropriate approaches to schooling and the relationships between those practices and political democracy. A must, but a tad tense and sometimes difficult to follow –become familiar with other works by Dewey before delving into this one. Available in paperback, 378 pages with index. John Dewey circa ~1930
  105. 105. Conclusions Dewey seemed to view adult education primarily as a vehicle for reflective thought and an opportunity to examine habitual beliefs and behaviors. Like others in the early years of the adult education movement, Dewey seemed to view this form of education as an awakening of sorts – a catalyst for reflective thinking, a recapture of childhood curiosity, and reevaluation of life. We argue that this view captures the very core or heart of the early years of the American adult education movement. Dewey poster designed by Allen Trent, 2009