John dewey essays

John Dewey (1859-1952) believed that learning was active and schooling unnecessarily long and restrictive.  His idea was that children came to school to do things and live in a community which gave them real, guided experiences which fostered their capacity to contribute to society.  For example, Dewey believed that students should be involved in real-life tasks and challenges:

  • maths could be learnt via learning proportions in cooking or figuring out how long it would take to get from one place to another by mule
  • history could be learnt by experiencing how people lived, geography, what the climate was like, and how plants and animals grew, were important subjects
Dewey had a gift for suggesting activities that captured the center of what his classes were studying.

Logical positivism also figured in Dewey's thought. About the movement he wrote that it "eschews the use of 'propositions' and 'terms', substituting 'sentences' and 'words'." ("General Theory of Propositions", in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry ) He welcomes this changing of referents "in as far as it fixes attention upon the symbolic structure and content of propositions." However, he registers a small complaint against the use of "sentence" and "words" in that without careful interpretation the act or process of transposition "narrows unduly the scope of symbols and language, since it is not customary to treat gestures and diagrams (maps, blueprints, etc.) as words or sentences." In other words, sentences and words, considered in isolation, do not disclose intent, which may be inferred or "adjudged only by means of context." [29]

John dewey essays

john dewey essays


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