John Dewey Experience and Education: a brief summary

John Dewey was one of America's greatest philosophers and one of the most renowned thinkers on educational reform in the late 18th and early nineteen hundred's through the school as he's set up known as the laboratories do he studied the way in which children learn most effectively he determined that only through hands-on activity the students truly learn one in 1859 in Burlington Vermont do we grew up in a rich cosmopolitan environment he lived many years and over that time developed a unique outlook on education and life this is a man who lived not only through the Civil War but also through nuclear war John Dewey was around for the beginning of compulsory education in the United States and hope to see the end of the type of traditional learning that was happening at the turn of the century in his country when John Dewey wrote his book experience in education in 1938 this was after a long career of studying the theory looking into experience for learning and studying its effects on society this book sums up Stewie's work in the beginning it comes at a time when the two factions of traditional schools which were set up with for students to absorb knowledge in a structured manner against the new break towards progressive schools which eliminated rules walls the traditional schools to be criticized or ineffective means of Education where students were expected to simply absorb information as sponges or as on the other hand free schools were set up where freedom was promoted simply for the sake of freedom this brought a lot of discredit to the whole notion of progressive schools in his book do he tries to argue the way in which freedom can be brought to the classroom into a recipe that allows students to learn more efficiently and does not stifle their way Dewey's plan fell right into the middle between the traditional and progressive words where students are guided by the teacher with through hands-on experience not through mere passive absorption for Dewey all learning happened through experience experience was the key to transmission of knowledge but not any experience accounted for an educational one experience had to be unique and individual for example an apple would fall on one's head right now and he may just brush it off but for Isaac Newton it could lead to the theory of gravity the experience is unique to each learner a learner will take an experience in its own way the second aspect of experiences they much lead to growth through the experience that the student has they must be some formed measurable outcome what has changed from when the student has begun the activity and when he is finished in while looking at growth Dewey says the growth cannot just simply be growth for growth's sake it must be a certain kind of positive growth – he gives the example of a bank robber learning from robbing a bank yet he'll be a better bank robber – he says but not necessarily a better member of society for Dewey the growth of these peaks of is one in which the learner guesses towards being a better citizen in the role of all this is the teacher for doing the teacher is there simply as a guide or a role do we compare as teachers to midwives the Midwife cannot necessarily give birth for the person but is there to talk the person through giving birth themselves just as the teacher is there to allow the learner to gauge himself and achieve at the new knowledge through his own means teachers are guides and teachers monitor the students growth teachers are there to set up the activities which will be potentially beneficial to the students and so they are not just merely a random assortment of activities and experiences the gather ones the lead to growth development in becoming a better citizen John Dewey arguments with traditional education is that they try to allow learning to be done through mere cramming knowledge students are expected to read dozens and dozens of books in hopes that memorization of facts will somehow one day be beneficial they are expected to one day be able to recall on these facts in a way that is completely outside of the manner in which they were learned and use them in a beneficial way do we thought this idea was completely ridiculous and had no connection to the students lives and therefore useless to their learning for Dewey and freedom there was the notion that students should be allowed to feel free but yet what they learned has to be carefully monitored do we saw that this was possible if one looked towards how games are played there can be a certain set of rules a certain set of guiding principles that do not feel like they are constricting you do he gives the example of a baseball game where players and play the game as freely as they want and do not feel bound by the rules the player strikes out he will not simply say this is not fair I shouldn't be allowed to strike out this rule is not fair he will merely say that he is bound by the rules and has to return to the bench because if he did not obey the rules he would no longer be playing the game of baseball when Joey looks at this towards education he sees that the teacher can set up rules that will not limit the students freedoms in the way the traditional classrooms have done in the past students can be allowed to move around freely and engage in the learning in a way that he feels comfortable and happy and at the same time realize that there are certain guidelines and rules that he must follow in order to learn grow and become an overall better citizen through engaging in the experiential learning activity Dewey writes an experience in education learning activities should be flexible enough to permit free play individuality experience and yet firm enough to give direction towards continuous development Dewey is saying that students shouldn't be sitting in desks while being yelled up by angry teachers instead they should feel comfortable and learning and so they can develop in your appropriate way for Dewey all learning should be experiential for example the student wants to learn about a specific animal you should do it in the field of that animal the student wants to learn about a boat they should be at the Harbor learning about boats there is no reason that any fact should be presented to the student outside of a context that is salutely that the student is able to connect with his environment and with his life learning is not simply something that happens out of a book from static information that has become knowledge learning is ever-changing and ongoing if students are hoped to be able to adapt to the ever-changing future they cannot yet be predicted they must be able to learn from their environments and not simply from random facts in today's world where technology is changing the way of life so quickly it's absolutely necessary that we engage in reforms do we said education should derive its materials from the present experiences and should enable the learner to cope with the problems of the present and the future you

24 thoughts on “John Dewey Experience and Education: a brief summary”

  1. With respect to learning, Dewey makes an interesting comment on page 26 of his book, "The School and Society":  "The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair, that it naturally to passes into selfishness.  There is no obvious  social motive for the acquirement of mere learning; there is no clear social gain in success thereat."  To Dewey, every acitivity of individuals must be motivated, not for personal gain or betterment, but by the effect it will have on society. I tend to think that Dewey favored socialism and collectivism.  Or the conservatives misinterpreted his philosophy. I get it that he didn't favor rugged individualism.  Yet it was the independent individuals who made the greatest inventions that benefited society. It wasn't the timid and obedient order-followers.

  2. For any of you who want a simple guide to this great work, along with a link to a free full text edition, check out my e-book "John Dewey's Experience and Education, A Reader's Guide" . Leonard Waks, President, John Dewey Society

  3. Isn't it ironic that Dewey instructed teachers with a book that inveighing against teaching by assigning books?

    Anti-intellectual, truly!

  4. What a wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing. I came across John Dewey via MAN, THE UNKNOWN .."It is only now that the result of the Montessori system, or of the educational principles of John Dewey, could be profitably analyzed…"  by ALEXIS CARREL NOBEL PRIZE WINNER

  5. I've read very little of John Dewey. I've just read his "The School and Society The Child and the Curriculum". I like his ideas of just letting the kids learn from their own curiosity, rather than from forced teaching.  I believe that neither kids nor adults can be taught; they can only learn. Yet I find the John Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyt consider Dewey to be the worst thing in education.

  6. Hi, I am in the same predicament as you are. i am also doing my degree in Elementary Education. I have a paper to write and it is challenging. The sources I have to read are very complex. Do you have any tips for a first year student?

  7. This was fantastic! I'm an Elementary Education major and we are exploring lots of foundations of education (especially as this is my senior year and we are establishing our own philosophies of education). Our assignment was to read the book but the educational jargon was so hard to understand. This was well stated, well designed, and well presented. Great job! (And thanks for making this paper I have to write a little easier! 🙂 )

  8. you may enjoy the song, "Dewey Doo Wap," with selected Dewey quotes, posted on You Tube this week! Thanks for the excellent overview.

  9. Dewey is still very Radical, compared to today, in my School we do have practical, but the School places way to much emphasis on designing and Evaluating. And no one's even considered on his, Freedom of Study; in my view the idea that every Child should study similar the same subject is stupid, the Reason most Pupils, don't find a Talent is because their, time is spent doing subjects that when they leave school they will forget about. For one, you made a stupid comment.

  10. Fantastic video and summary. Thank you! Also, just adore the jazz piano — perfect addition! Who is the artist? The song? Would love to know!

  11. @ConservativeAnthem

    I don't think the current system in America is exactly what Dewey had envisioned. If your interested in an education model that actually functions, explore Finland. The Finish system, which is very a "Deweyan" model, is the highest ranked in the world . A progressive education system is necessary to equip the young generation with the skills needed to deal with the rapidly changing future.

    Dewey is not the cause of America's education problems.

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