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Contribution of John Dewey to Education
Posted Date: 26-Aug-2010
John Dewey's thoughts have influenced all realms of educational fields. He was a major representative of the progressive and progressive populist philosophies of schooling during the first half of the 20th century in the United States of America. Dewey founded the Ideal University Laboratory School which exercised a remarkable influence on the educational theory and practice in America. Dewey's method of teaching is based on the principles of learning by doing activities.
Contribution of John Dewey to Education
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose thoughts have great influence in education and social reform. Dewey is best known for his writings on education. But he also has written about many other topics, including experience, logic, ethics, inquiry, democracy, nature, and art. John Dewey, one of the greatest American modern thinker's, theorist and educator.
John Dewey's Philosophy of Education
Dewey defines education as the ' development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities". It is a process that begins with the very birth of the child, and goes on throughout the whole life. It is a process which has two sides- one Psychological and the other Sociological.
The main aims of education as advocated by Dewey are:-
Social Efficiency: According to Dewey the development of social efficiency is one of the aims of education. To him school is a social institution. The school should be organised in such a way that the activities of the outer world are reflected.
Education is life: Dewey emphasises that education is not a preparation for life, it is life itself. The child lives in the present. The future is meaningless to him. Hence it is absurd to expect him to do things for some future preparation.
Education is experience: Dewey favoured an education by, of and for, experience. Every new experience is education. An old experience is replaced by a new experience. The human race he gained experience in its struggle to meet the needs of life. This ' struggle for existence ' is a continuous process.
Education should combine theory & practice: The aim of education, according to Dewey should be create a balance between theoretical and practical activities. He has stressed equal importance to both action and thought. These two should go hand in hand.
Dewey on School Curriculum
• Dewey advocates that broader curricular programmes are needed and emphasis should be placed in the total development of the person as being equally important as the intellectual and the academic.
• The teacher is a guide and director he steers the boat, but the energy that people it must come from those who are learning. The more a teacher is aware of the past experience of students of their hopes, desires, chief interests the better will be.
• The teacher is engaged not simply in the training of individuals but in the formation of the proper social life. In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God.
Dewey's Method of Teaching
Dewey's method of teaching are based on his pragmatic philosophy. He is of the opinion that direct experience is the basis of all method. Knowledge takes place from concrete and meaningful situations. Hence knowledge should come from spontaneous activities of the children. Dewey's method of teaching are based on the principles of learning by doing activities in connection with the life of the child.
The project or problem method which Dewey advocated, the child's interests and purposes are the most important things. For his problem or project method, Dewey laid down the following five steps as essential.
(1) The pupil should have a genuine situation of experiences.
(2) A genuine problem should arise from this situation and should stimulate the thinking of the child.
(3) The child should obtain information or make observation needed to deal with the problems.
(4) The suggested solution(s) should occur to him.
(5) He should have an opportunity to test his ideas by application.
Dewey's contribution to Educational Thought and Practice
(1) Dewey's social theory of education coupled with the logic of experimental method has been very influential in the development of modern education practices.
(2) The greatest change has been in the recognition of the worth of the expense of the child. The child is no longer regarded as a passive subject meant for the imposition of external information but is considered an active living being those interests have to be stimulated by participation in socially significant experience.
(3) Dewey has been one of the significant leaders who have tried to introduce a more human touch in the processes of education.
(4) He has been a powerful influence in interpreting the school as a commonly for the realization of the significance of the immediate experiences and present opportunities of the child if he is to be a contributor to the march of the social process.
(5) His insistence on activities of diverse kinds in school is also an other aspect of his social theory of education.
(6) The pragmatic method of instrumentalitic experimentation reacts against all kinds of mysticism, transcendentalism and absolutism.
(7) The supreme contribution of Dewey to a philosophy of education is the theory of scientific democratic humanism.
(8) Dewey is quite right in pleading for the wide use of the experimental method of science in education.
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