Essay on John Dewey and his Idea of Learning

Essay on John Dewey and his Idea of Learning

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Experience and Education portrays John Dewey’s critical analysis of the traditional and progressive education system. He believed that people, no matter their age, did not have an empty mind, waiting to be filled with the knowledge schools offered. Alternatively, he pushed a method of learning where students organized information based on facts by expanding on previous knowledge; such a situation implies that teachers must create an environment as to foster such an experience. Thus, the challenge they face was due to a lack of a strong philosophy of experience in their approach to education.
The Education of Shelby Knox is evidence of Dewey’s ideas. Shelby, who thought she “was the perfect child”, at just 15 years of age, clearly did not have a mind that was a black slate. She did not know anything about sex yet, “all I know is that you get caught up in the moment”. In addition, she had many convictions, some contrary to the Christian faith, which she went to promote and learn about. The Youth Commission, she joined allowed her to advocate for sex education in the schools of Lubbock, Texas. It was based on previous information and knowledge such as, “Lubbock has one of the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates in the nation.” and “One in 14 girls get pregnant each year and teenage Gonorrhea rates are twice the national average “drove her case. In the expansion of this past knowledge, she became educated about sex education.

First, Dewey analyzed the method of progressive versus traditional education. Humans, by default, formulate “its beliefs in terms of Either-Or” (pg.5) categories which has been reflected in the current educational system. He labels education as transference of knowledge, skills, a...

... middle of paper ...

...“they’re going to experiment and that’s going to be their education”. It is clear that parents should not be automatically expected to raise the child in any specific way. In fact Knox’s parents never actually tell her what to do. That implies their ideas such as reminding her that “Her priorities are God, family, country”, but never demand anything from her. In the end they even conform to her views, such as her father saying that he argues about sex education and her mother rallying with GAP.

Works Cited

Dewey, John (Touchstone Edition1997). Experience and Education. Retrieved April 2, 2014, from School of Educators:
Lipschutz, M., Rosenblatt, R. (Producers), Lipschutz, M., & Rosenblatt, R. (Directors). (2005). The Education of Shelby Knox [Motion Picture].

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