John Dewey's Impact on Education in America

John Dewey's Impact on Education in America

Length: 867 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Dewey's philosophical anthropology, unlike Egan, Vico, Ernst Cassirer, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Nietzsche, does not account for the origin of thought of the modern mind in the aesthetic, more precisely the myth, but instead in the original occupations and industries of ancient people, and eventually in the history of science.[9] A criticism of this approach is that it does not account for the origin of cultural institutions,which can be accounted for by the aesthetic. Language and its development, in Dewey's philosophical anthropology, have not a central role but are instead a consequence of the cognitive capacity.[9]

As can be seen in his Democracy and Education (1916) Dewey sought to at once synthesize, criticize, and expand upon the democratic or proto-democratic educational philosophies of Rousseau and Plato.[citation needed] He saw Rousseau's philosophy as overemphasizing the individual and Plato's philosophy as overemphasizing the society in which the individual lived. For Dewey, this distinction was by and large a false one; like Vygotsky, he viewed the mind and its formation as a communal process. Thus the individual is only a meaningful concept when regarded as an inextricable part of his or her society, and the society has no meaning apart from its realization in the lives of its individual members. However, as evidenced in his later Experience and Nature (1925) Dewey recognizes the importance of the subjective experience of individual people in introducing revolutionary new ideas.

For Dewey, it was vitally important that education should not be the teaching of mere dead fact, but that the skills and knowledge which students learned be integrated fully into their lives as persons, citizens and human beings. This practical element—learning by doing—sprang from his subscription to the philosophical school of Pragmatism.

Dewey's ideas were never broadly and deeply integrated into the practices of American public schools, though some of his values and terms were widespread. Progressive education (both as espoused by Dewey, and in the more popular and inept forms of which Dewey was critical) was essentially scrapped during the Cold War, when the dominant concern in education was creating and sustaining a scientific and technological elite for military purposes.[citation needed] In the post-Cold War period, however, progressive education had reemerged in many school reform and education theory circles as a thriving field of inquiry learning and inquiry-based science. Dewey is often cited as creating the foundations for outcomes-based education and Standards-based education reform, and standards such as the NCTM mathematics standards, all of which emphasize critical thinking over memorization of facts.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"John Dewey's Impact on Education in America." 15 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

John Dewey and His Impact on Society Essay

- John Dewey was an American philosopher and teacher who, with Charles Peirce and William James, were the originators of the philosophy known as "pragmatism." Dewey had a long and distinguished career as a teacher, labor activist, and "public intellectual" who was not afraid to deal in his philosophical writings with real social issues. Dewey changed philosophy and its view forever and has made a large impact on the way modern philosophers look at things today. Dewey started off as a Hegelian idealist, but changed from idealism to experimentalism, which studied the human mind and real life issues, and which emphasized the ways in which human intelligence may be applied to the solution of real...   [tags: Pragmatism Essays]

Free Essays
591 words (1.7 pages)

Comapring Gardner's Model to the Theory of John Dewey Essay

- Philosophers are part of history, caught in its movement; creators perhaps in some measure of its future, but also assuredly creatures of its past.-John Dewey American philosopher, social commentator, idealist, educator, and democratic theorist, John Dewey has had a profound impact on America's educational system. Proponent of change and advocate of "hands-on" learning and interactive classrooms, Dewey accomplished a great deal in his long life, (interestingly enough, he is the only major philosopher to live beyond his ninetieth year)....   [tags: Teaching Education Research Papers]

Research Papers
2328 words (6.7 pages)

The Impact Of Physical Education On The United States Essay

- In the 1700s to mid 1800s three countries Germany, Sweden, and England formed the initial expansion of physical education (PE) in the United States. There were German immigrants that brought up the Turner Societies, which was an organization of gymnastics that proposed a way of training utilizing heavy equipment such as horizontal bars, side horse, parallel, and to be fit. On the other hand, the Swedish had their own methods to improve their health through the execution of many arbitrary motion activities accompanied with light equipment such as wands and climbing rope....   [tags: Exercise, Physical education, Health, Education]

Research Papers
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Dewey Hunter Theories Essay example

- John Dewey and Madeline Hunter were both well respected in the field of education and came from different schools of thought. The following presents the different ideas embraced by the two psychologists. In addition, after studying both of their theories, I have formulated my own philosophy which encompasses ideas from both philosophers. John Dewey was a man who made a dramatic impact on the way curriculum design is viewed today. Dewey was born in Vermont in 1859 and throughout his lifetime he became well known as a philosopher, educator and psychologist....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
892 words (2.5 pages)

The Philosophy Of Education And Education Essay

- Philosophies of teaching have been influenced by myriad beliefs about the purposes and aims of education. Plato and Socrates are one of the earliest philosophers to lay down the foundation of education’s purpose. Plato believed in the need of the individual and focused on what they are naturally attracted to learning to. Socrates believed in the need of the state and the individual together. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Dewey are somewhat modern philosophers whom have also expressed their views about the purposes and aims of education....   [tags: Education, Teacher, Learning, School]

Research Papers
733 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Urban Education and Critical Pedagogy

- In a broad sense, the field of social foundations of education entails beliefs and values in school and society, the political economy in schools and society, and the culture of the school. There are a magnitude of social forces that affect educational policies on a daily basis such as; government, religion, family and the economy. Each of these social structures influences one another which results in many conflicts in regards to a “democratic education.” The social foundations of education do not meet the criteria of a democratic education because of certain laws or rules that are established....   [tags: Education]

Research Papers
1043 words (3 pages)

Essay on Education and the Evolving Job Market

- The lives of students today are changing. They are preparing for lives and jobs that have never before existed. If teachers hope to have a significant and worthwhile impact on these quickly changing lives, they must change the way they think, prepare, and instruct our future generations. Children cannot afford to have teachers who remain stagnant in their methods and ideals. Students crave instructors that are willing to allow them to tap into their potential in a manner that is interesting, fun, and important to them....   [tags: Education ]

Research Papers
2331 words (6.7 pages)

Philosophy of Education Essay

- My beliefs and values about early childhood education is based upon understanding that all children are unique individuals who need a caring, nurturing, and secure environment in which to grow and develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Children under the age of three are in critical stages of development, it is my belief that a quality child care environment will have a positive impact on a child’s development and make a significant difference in the life of a child and his or her family....   [tags: Education Teacher]

Research Papers
1875 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on My Personal Philosophy Of Education

- Personal Education Philosophy I believe that I have always been a proponent of progressive education and this fact is truer today than ever before. My experience with the traditional education model could best be described as subpar and my personal philosophy of education is admittedly a reaction to the follies of the American public education system. These experiences have led me to believe just as John Dewey believes, that pupils do not learn best by sitting in a classroom and having instructors attempt to transmit volumes directly through them....   [tags: Education, Learning]

Research Papers
1313 words (3.8 pages)

Education: Empiricists vs Rationalists Essay example

- The importance of experience in education has always been the subject of philosophical debates. These debates between empiricists and rationalists have been going on for quite some time. Rationalists are of the view that knowledge acquired through senses is unreliable and learning can only be done through reasoning. On the other hand, empiricists believe knowledge is acquired through empirical impressions and concepts that cannot be learnt without being experienced (Evans, 1992, p. 35). This debate was however resolved by Kant who argues that both experience and rationality are necessary in learning....   [tags: philosophy of education]

Research Papers
1089 words (3.1 pages)

John Dewey's USA Stamp

The central concept of John Dewey's view of education was that greater emphasis should be placed on the broadening of intellect and development of problem solving and critical thinking skills, rather than simply on the memorization of lessons. This is because Dewey saw the public school's relation to society was much like a repair organ to the organism of society.Dewey, J (1897) "My Pedagogic Creed' in The School Journal, Vol 14, No 3, pp 77-80.

One of Dewey's main theories was the incorporation of the student's past experiences into the classroom (Experience and Education 1938). This was a job of both the educator and the caretaker. The quality of experiences is key in the development of Dewey's progressivism. Without beneficial experiences growing off prior ones, education would not be able to use these experiences to reflect on the past, work through the present and prepare for the future (Experience and Education 1938).

While Dewey's educational theories have enjoyed a broad popularity[citation needed] during his lifetime and after, they have a troubled history of implementation due to the fact that there were no teachers qualified to incorporate these ideas. (Experience and Education 1938). Dewey's writings can be difficult to read, and his tendency to reuse commonplace words and phrases to express extremely complex reinterpretations of them makes him susceptible to misunderstanding. So while he held the role of a leading public intellectual, he was often misinterpreted, even by fellow academics. Many enthusiastically embraced what they mistook for Dewey's philosophy, but which in fact bore little or a distorted resemblance to it.

Dewey tried, on occasion, to correct such misguided enthusiasm, but with little success[citation needed]. Simultaneously, other progressive educational theories, often influenced by Dewey but not directly derived from him, were also becoming popular, such as Educational perennialism which is teacher-centered as opposed to student-centered. The term 'progressive education' grew to encompass numerous contradictory theories and practices, as documented by historians like Herbert Kliebard.

It is often claimed that progressive education "failed", though whether this view is justified depends on one's definitions of "progressive" and "failure". Several versions of progressive education succeeded in transforming the educational landscape: the utter ubiquity of guidance counseling, to name but one example, springs from the progressive period. Radical variations of educational progressivism were troubled and short-lived, a fact that supports some understandings of the notion of failure. But they were perhaps too rare and ill-funded to constitute a thorough test.

Many of Dewey's ideas directly impacted the founding of Bennington College in Vermont, where Dewey served on the Board of Trustees. One of the Bennington houses bears Dewey's name. Dewey, J (1897)

Dewey also profoundly affected Ken and Susan Webb in founding Farm and Wilderness Camps in Plymouth, Vermont. [10]
Return to