Sunday, April 22, 2012

John Dewey

John Dewey at the University of Chicago in 1902.
John Dewey at the University of Chicago in 1902. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
John Dewey greatly influenced the education of the nation during the twentieth century. He founded a new way of teaching that put at its center the student. This way of teaching/thinking was named "Progressive Education." This new idea was said to have been the best, as well as the worse event to occur within education.
Dewey felt as though education was based upon social and interactive processes. That school should act as a grounds for social reform and a place where interaction with events related to the subject being taught should be allowed. Dewey felt as though knowledge should not only be taught in regards to facts, but the knowledge of how to live and interact within society should be taught as well. Also another principle that Dewey thought of in regards to education that I found quite interesting, was that he believed in order for material to be learned in the best manner possible that it needs to related to prior experiences. This allows for the material to have meaning for the students, and increases their likelihood of  remembering that material later on.
The progressive education that came form this included many components. It allowed for the broadening of the school curriculum to include health, community life, and vocational programs. Also this new way of teaching implemented newly found psychological based approached to educating individuals, as well as a democratic approach to teaching. This new democratic approach was the reason that many people disliked progressive teaching. This way of thinking caused individuals to question their teachers, and doubt ideas taught in the classroom. Even though many people were against it for this very reason, individuals who were taught in this manner were more apt to succeed when compared to traditionally taught students.
I agree with many of the principles that John Dewey instilled within his teaching philosophy. I hope to someday use many of these ideas within my classroom. This will allow for what is taught to meaningful to the students, and hopefully influence them for their entire life. 
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