John Dewey is known as the progressive education father. John Dewey was the greatest influential figure and eloquent in this education progressivism. He was a well-known philosopher, educational reformer as well as a philosopher (Chun). Dewey after graduating from Vermont University he taught various high schools then later received his philosophy doctorate and resolved to university teaching.
In John Dewey distinguished as well as long career, he produced over 1000 articles and books on various books starting from art to politics (Rigney). For all of the scholarly work, he produced none of this work drifted from his main intellectual interest that is education. Through John Dewey work like The Society and The School, Education, and democracy, as well as the Curriculum and the Child, he articulates a distinctive revolutionary education theory reformulations, as well as the major relationship that he believes, exists between education and the democratic life. The vision dewy had for the school was mainly tied to having a good society that understood education as an investigation deliberate conducted practice, of both the society and personal growth as well as of problem-solving (Rigney). A classroom is a representative of a human being relationships microcosm that contains the larger society or community. Therefore, John Dewey supposed that the school was the “little democracy” that would create an ideal society (Rigney).
Dewey’s highlighting on the democratic relationship importance in classrooms necessarily changed the educational theory focus from school institution to the requirements of the students in school. This change in the American pedagogy attracted education that is centered on the child was supported by other researchers and progressive educators like Ella Young. I general this received philosophical customs used by John Dewey deified childhood then advanced social and intellectual interdependence ideas (Peters).
Second, and most vital, Dewey, as well as his associated educational progressives, sketched their work from Friedrich Froebel a German philosopher and Johann Pestalozzi, a Swiss educator. Friedrich and Johann were the first people to articulate child educating process where learning involved both the subject matter as well as the interests and needs of the child. The two believed right schooling involved nurturing both the heart and the head of the pupil. As a result, the two searched for a rational and fundamental science that integrates these essential principles. Friedrich used the metaphor of the garden in young children cultivation to maturity. As a result, Friedrich contribution brought the kindergarten movement (Rigney). Similarly, Johann popularizes the object teaching pedagogical methods where the teacher starts with objectives relating to the world of the child to introduce the child to the educator’s life (Rigney).
Lastly, John Dewey drew motivation from the psychologist and philosopher William James ideas. The interpretation of John Dewey of William’s philosophical pragmatism, which was the same as Pestalozzi’s ideas on objective teaching, integrated doing and thinking, he believed that his philosophy of education would equip every kid with all problem-solving abilities needed in the different situations in life (Chun). Therefore, according to John Dewey, education represented not only the future life of the child but also the full life unto education’s life.
Taken together, these American, as well as European philosophical customs aided progressives, integrate democracy and childhood with education. Children taught the relationship existing between doing and thinking would actively participate in a democratic community of society. This reason made the progressive education association brake from education traditionalists’ ideas that emphasized on the discipline, drilling as well as academic exercises (Peters).
Democracy and Education
John Dewey well-thought-out two main principles elements as essential in democracy strengthening: the civil society and schools. John Dewey explained that democracy is more than voting. As a result, he formed public opinion on education that aimed at ensuring effective communication (Chun).
John Dewey claimed that learning and education are interactive as well as social processes, hence, schools are a social organization that social reforms ought to or can to take place. Therefore, John Dewey made leaning places or institutions not only a residence for gaining content information but also a place of learning in real-life situations and solution to life problems. In his view, education needs to extend beyond the gaining of predetermined skills to individual’s full realization of their potential as well as utilizing the skills learned (Chun). John Dewey continues to admit that schooling and education are tools in creating social reforms as well as change.
In his book Education and democracy, John Dewey expressed the link between education and democracy. According to the research done by Michael Boucher’s, this book was written at the time of world war two when child labor was common in the society. This event motivated and fueled John Dewey’s philosophy. In this case, John Dewey explained that the community needed complex systems that would transmit the customs and culture to the upcoming generation. Therefore, John Dewey’s viewpoint was that critical teaching thinking was a better reform than memorizing information. John Dewey philosophical belief was evident in the Dewy school (Chun).
Society and School
John Dewey upholds that schools need to reflect the society. John Dewey believes that there is a link between social actions and education within the democracy. In his book, Society and School, he explains that renewal of democracy in every generation was vital and this need education as a midwife to accomplish the renewal process (Peters). The school needs to have activities that are essential to the learner. John Dewey had realized that young generation had no understanding of the fundamental skills and activities that had resulted in the current society or community growth. As a result, he required schools to provide these fundamental principles to enable the student to participate in important social activities. These students needed to use their heads as the most powerful tool that can solve their problems as well as the society (Peters).
Under John Dewey point of view, the traditional education made the student or child participate passively in the learning process. The curriculum and the classrooms used in this traditional education system assumed that all students fitted in the same group. However, students are unique and different, full of imaginations as well as spontaneity (Peters). The student mind is naturally inquisitive and active. As a result, when education is just deposited to the minds of these student and retrieval valued as important, students lose interest in learning and education turns to be more difficult. John Dewey’ education philosophy emphasizes in considering the student’s natural urge together with the facilitator’s direction (Peters).
John Dewey and Education
John Dewey together with Jean Piaget was the father of the meaning of constructivism. John Dewey concerns were the learner. John Dewey labored on explaining that in a learning process, the learner was a vital agent (Rigney). Therefore, he had an exact vision concerning how education needed to take place. According to John Dewey educational pedagogy involves two main conflicting school beliefs. The first is curriculum centered, and it is the main focus is on the subject matter needed to be taught in school. In this methodology, he explains that the main weakness is the student inactivity. In this case, the child is an in immature being requiring information to mature and a superficial being requiring deepening. The second is learner-centered. Therefore, for effective learning, the content needs to be represented such that the student relates the prior experience to the information learned. This learning will enable the student to integrate into learned information with new experience (Rigney).
Though John Dewey believed in this second view, learner-centered, he was aware of the effects of excessive learner-centered education. John Dewey explains that excessive child reliance can equally result in the detrimental learning process. The potential effect of this argument is that it can minimize the content as well as the teacher’s importance (Rigney). Therefore, John Dewey tried to balance knowledge delivery with consideration of the student experiences and interest. The curriculum and the student are two sides that depend on each other. One cannot exist without the other. The teacher is a guide and a facilitator in the process of learning.
In conclusion, John Dewey’s philosophy, he showed his view on ways that education can improve the society. John Dewey is the father of progressive education, which insists that the main education’s job is to foster students to cultivate their full abilities as mature human beings (Rigney). He argued learning facts only in school was not appropriate and explained that students needed to learn from experience. In this case, learners will not only gain the information but also will develop habits, skills as well as attitudes that will aid these learners to solve various problems in life.
John Dewey tries to portray vital connection between politics and education. He argues that active learning can result in people who think critically and are concerned about their community wellbeing. Therefore, progressive education can contribute to democracy since students learn to independently think. At the same time, John Dewey explains that the progressive education will eliminate dictatorship nature from people (Rigney). Therefore, students must participate in relevant and meaning full activities that aid them to apply the information learned in the classroom.
Chun, Michelle. John Dewey and the Democratic Life of the Law. 2017.
Peters, Michael A. “Ecopolitical Philosophy, Education and Grassroots Democracy: The ‘Return’of Murray Bookchin (and John Dewey?).” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations, vol. 9, no. 2, 2017, pp. 7–14.
Rigney, James. A Primer for Philosophy and Education. Samuel Rocha. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014 Living as Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century. Jim Garrison, Larry Hickman, and Daisaku Ikeda. Cambridge, MA: Dialogue Path Press, 2014. Taylor & Francis, 2017.