Dewey

Comment 

 

Commentonat least 3 Classmates’Posts (approximately  150 -300 words each)§

– comment must address the R2R prompt and your classmate’s response substantively; if you agree or disagree, provide reasoning and rational evidence from the readings to support your position

– build on the ideas of what your classmate has written and dig deeper into the ideas

– support your views through research you have read or through your personal and/or professional experiences§demonstrate a logical progression of ideas

– comments need to be thoughtful and substantive; not gratuitous comments like “this was a good post” or simply that “you agree”. Simply congratulating the writer on their astute insights is insufficient.

– cite the readings in your response by using proper APA Style format and conventions.

classmate 1

 

John Dewey, “the father of progressive education,” had a tremendous impact on education in the United States (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 76).  In 1900,

most children left school by the end of eighth grade to go to work or help out at home.  The American common school usually offered eight years of instruction.  With its emphasis on the three Rs, its reliance on rote recitations and spelling bees, its close ties to the citizenry, its underpaid teachers and its usually crowded classrooms (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 64).

The challenge that John Dewey saw in these schools was “that much of present education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed” (Dewey, 1897).  He was concerned that these “traditional schools” would not prepare students for their present and future life.  Dewey (1938) notes that in traditional schools, “the main purpose or objective is to prepare the young for future responsibilities and for success in life, by means of information and prepared forms of skill which comprehend the material of instruction” (p. 18).  He goes on to argue that “that which is taught is thought of as essentially static.  It is taught as a finished product, with little regard either to the ways in which it was originally built up or to changes that will surely occur in the future” (Dewey, 1938, p. 19).   School was not a dynamic and engaging community environment for students.

Instead of these traditional schools, Dewey envisioned schools where students learn “by doing” (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 67).  He “believed that if schools were anchored in the whole child, in the social, intellectual, emotional, and physical development of a child, teaching would be different–and learning would be different and schools would be very different, hospitable places for children” (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 77).  Dewey (1897) writes, “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.”

Moreover, Dewey held that education was not just about their future, but also the present world in which children live. “Thinking and learning, in Dewey’s view, had evolved because they have a vital function–they enable humans to survive by escaping from danger, by foreseeing serious problems before they occur, by enabling foresight and planning and productive activity” (Phillips & Soltis, 2009, p. 38).  Dewey (1897)  cautions that “it is impossible to prepare the child for any precise set 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.”  As a result, he notes that we must remember that education “is a process of living and not a preparation for future living. I believe that the school must represent present life–life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground. I believe that education which does not occur through forms of life, or that are worth living for their own sake, is always a poor substitute for the genuine reality and tends to cramp and to deaden” (Dewey, 1897).

This approach was a shift in thinking for the American public, but Dewey (1938) also warned that “Where the traditional school relied upon subjects or the cultural heritage for is content, the ‘new’ school has exalted the learner’s impulse and interest and the current problems of a changing society.  Neither of these sets of values is sufficient unto itself.  Both are essential.  Sound education experience involved, above all, continuity and interaction between the learner and what is learned” (p. 9-10).  We cannot forget that elements of both traditional and progressive education are important for students.  In his earlier writing, Dewey (1897), stated, “I believe that the community’s duty to education is, therefore, its paramount moral duty.” He continues, “through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move” (Dewey, 1897).  His vision truly changed the face of American education.

classmate 2

 

  • Dewey’s idea of what schooling should look like was extremely progressive for his time. During Dewey’s time, traditional schools typically consisted of a teacher giving children information and the children were expected to retain this information. Also during this time, children typically didn’t go to school much longer than 8th grade. Dewey’s principal of educative experience were so progressive because he viewed education to be a social experience. He states that school is a social institution and “Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends.” This view is very different than what traditional schools were teaching.

John Dewey had a significant influence on education. Some of his beliefs that resonate with my beliefs and the way that I teach include school being a social setting and children will benefit from social experiences. I also found it interesting how he mentioned that traditional schools focus so heavily on preparing children for the future, that we do not teach them how to be in the present, and that is where we fail them.

Dewey believes “education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform…and that education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness”. It also stood out to me that Dewey claims that the role of the teacher is not to simply train individuals, but to help them properly form a social life. How can we prepare these children to successfully enter society? When it comes down to it, that’s really what our goal and focus should be.

I believe that Dewy’s ideas continue to be relevant in education today. While teaching curriculum, I feel that teachers also recognize the importance to help create kind, moral, students who are ready to enter into society successfully. We do this by giving them experiences, activities, and guided social interactions. Last week, I took my kindergarten students to a farm on a field trip. This was such a powerful experience for my students, as many of them have never seen farm animals before. When I read them a story about farm animals, before I read the book, I asked them what kind of animals lived on the farm. I got many answers that included “giraffe, zebra, elephant” and other “zoo” animals. It’s one thing to read a story about farms and to just tell them that those aren’t farm animals. I feel that now that they’ve had that experience, it’s so much more memorable to them and will be something that sticks with them.

classmate 3

 

According to Dewey, the purpose of education is for individuals to share in the intellectual and moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together. (Dewey 1938, pg.1-3) Dewey believed that true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of social situations in which they find themselves in. According to Dewey, the educational process has 2 sides-one psychological and one sociological. The psychological side is the basis because this is where the child’s own instincts and powers furnish the material and gives them a starting point for all education. And without this understanding into the psychological structure of an individual the education process will be haphazard and arbitrary. Social conditions are necessary to interpret the child’s powers. We need to know and understand the past, present, and future experiences of a child to see how they learn.

Because of his beliefs he disagreed with traditional schools and stated that both “traditional” and “progressive” education had defects. Dewey felt that traditional school relied on subjects or culture heritage for its content. And defined a student’s learning path for them. The “new” school has exalted the learner’s impulse and interest and the current problems of a changing society. (Dewey,1938, pg.9)

Traditional learning was too strict and progressive was too spontaneous so Dewey thought they were both inadequate because neither of them applied the principles of a carefully developed philosophy of experience. (Dewey 1938, pg. 9-10) He stated, “traditional schools impose adult standards, subject matters and methods upon those who are only growing slowly toward maturity. And this is beyond the reach of experience young learners already possess”. (Dewey 1938, pg. 19)

Dewey’s theory is that experience arises from the interaction of two principles — continuity and interaction.  Continuity is that each experience a person has will influence his/her future, for better or for worse.  Interaction refers to the situational influence on one’s experience.  In other words, one’s present experience is a function of the interaction between one’s past experiences and the present situation.  For example, my experience of a lesson, will depend on how the teacher arranges and facilitates the lesson, as well my past experience of similar lessons and teachers.(wilderdom.com)

Today, if a teacher wants to follow the ideas of Dewey the teachers would make school interesting and useful by planning lessons that provoke learning and teaches students how to learn. They would also plan lessons that are engaging and can promote their future experiences.

 
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