THE EXPERIENCE IN ART
"Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart's desire." ~ John Dewey
Source: Excerpt taken from PBS.org
John Dewey was the most significant educational thinker of his era and, many would argue, of the 20th century. As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning. His ideas about education sprang from a philosophy of pragmatism and were central to the Progressive Movement in schooling. In light of his importance, it is ironic that many of his theories have been relatively poorly understood and haphazardly applied over the past hundred years.
Dewey's concept of education put a premium on meaningful activity in learning and participation in classroom democracy. Unlike earlier models of teaching, which relied on authoritarianism and rote learning, progressive education asserted that students must be invested in what they were learning. Dewey argued that curriculum should be relevant to students' lives. He saw learning by doing and development of practical life skills as crucial to children's education. Some critics assumed that, under Dewey's system, students would fail to acquire basic academic skills and knowledge. Others believed that classroom order and the teacher's authority would disappear.
To Dewey, the central ethical imperative in education was democracy. Every school, as he wrote in The School and Society, must become "an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society and permeated throughout with the spirit of art, history and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious.
Source: Excerpt taken from Amazon Books
Originally published in 1899, The School and Society began as a series of lectures given to parents, professionals, and others at the University Elementary School. In this short volume, Dewey discusses the way in which education is fundamentally tied to a thriving democracy. The problem, according to the author, with the old education model was that elementary schools did not encourage exploration and curiosity in their students. In a country that requires the thoughtful pursuit of ideas by the populace in order to arrive at reasonable governance, this repressive form of education encouraged rote following and closed minds. Anyone interested in philosophy, education, and the general betterment of society will find Dewey's thoughts and early childhood learning progressive and intriguing. American educator and philosopher JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952) helped found the American Association of University Professors. He served as professor of philosophy at Columbia University from 1904 to 1930 and authored numerous books, including Experience and Nature (1925), Experience and Education (1938), and Freedom and Culture (1939).