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John Dewey


John Dewey
? Objectives
? To study Dewey?s interpretation of pragmatism presented by his ontology, epistemology and ethics ? To interpret Dewey?s ideas on human nature ? To relate D

ewey?s idea on human nature to that of the aim of education ? To identify how Dewey?s method of teaching that contributes to his aim of education ? To link Dewey?s curriculum to his aim of education ? To interpret Dewey?s idea of the teacher?s role that harmonizes with the aim of education

John Dewey
? The Goals to Approach
? To be able to interpret Dewey?s philosophy of pragmatism in three aspects of ontology, epistemology and ethics ? To understand Dewey?s interpretation of the nature of human being ? To be able to relate human nature to his idea of the aim of education ? To be able to rationalize how Dewey?s method of teaching contributes to approaching his aim of education ? To able to argue how Dewey?s curriculum leads to the aim of education ? To reflect on Dewey?s idea of the teacher?s role that harmonizes with the aim of education

John Dewey
? Instructional Approach
? By using Socratic method of question and answer ? By using class discussions and lecturing with elaboration on certain points ? By developing discussions around the five focal questions in relation to his philosophy of pragmatism: the nature of human being; the aim of education; the method of teaching; the best curriculum; the role of the teaching

John Dewey
? Some questions related to the text for reflection
? Read the starting paragraph and work out the essence of Dewey’s idea on the aim of education.
? “[We must] make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society, and throughout permeated ['p?:mieit] with the spirit of art, history, and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantor [ɡ?r?n't?:] of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious.” (text)

John Dewey
? Some questions related to the text for reflection
? Read the starting paragraph and work out the essence of Dewey’s idea on the aim of education. ? School should be a community credited with a curriculum that integrates art, history and science into a kind of spirit that shapes citizens with a sense of membership and responsibility to serve the country, to supply them with means that enables them to position themselves in the society. ? “Dewey stressed the social and moral nature of the school and believed that it should serve as a ?miniature community, an embryonic society, especially one that actively fostered the growth of democracy which was being undermined by urban industrial society.” (text)

John Dewey
? A Brief Introduction about John Dewey 1859-1952
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Born in Burlington, Vermont of modest family origin Graduated from University of Vermont in 1879, with Phi Beta Kappa Worked for three years as a high school teacher in Oil City, Pennsylvania Received Ph.D. from School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1884 Took a faculty position at the University of Michigan (1884-1888 and 1889-1894) Joined the newly founded University of Chicago (1894-1904) where he shaped his belief in an empirically based theory of knowledge with the newly emerging Pragmatic school of thought. Founded the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools to actualize his pedagogical beliefs for his work on education, The School and Society (1899). Elected president of the American Psychological Association In 1899 Professor of philosophy at Columbia University from 1904 till his death President of the American Philosophical Association in 1905 A philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer highly influential in the United States and the world One of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism; a leading representative of the progressive movement in U.S. schooling during the first half of the 20th century

John Dewey
? Dewey’s major works
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” (1896), a critique of a standard psychological concept and the basis of all his work Democracy and Education (1916), his celebrated work on progressive education Human Nature and Conduct (1922), a study of the role of habit in human behavior The Public and its Problems (1927), a defense of democracy Experience and Nature (1925), the most “metaphysical” statement Art as Experience (1934), his major work on aesthetics A Common Faith (1934), a humanistic study of religion, delivered at Yale Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938), an examination of Dewey's unusual conception of logic Freedom and Culture (1939), a political work examining the roots of fascism Knowing and the Known (1949), a book written in conjuction with Arthur F. Bentley that systematically outlines the concept of trans-action which is central to his other works His professional life was extremely productive and consisted of over 700 articles in 140 journals, and roughly 40 books.

John Dewey
? Pragmatism
? Dewey did not identify himself as a pragmatist per se, instead he referred to his philosophy as “instrumentalism”, who is considered one of the three central figures in American pragmatism, along with Charles Sanders Peirce, who coined the term, and William James, who popularized it. He held that value was a function not of wish nor purely of social construction, but a quality situated in events. Experimentation (social, cultural, technological, philosophical) could be used as a relatively hard-and-fast arbiter of truth. He rejected belief in any static ideal, such as a theistic[θi'?st?k] God. Dewey felt that only scientific method could be reliably further human good. Dewey‘s philosophy has gone by many names other than “pragmatism”. He has been called an instrumentalist, an experimentalist, an empiricist, a functionalist, and a naturalist. The term “transactional”(相互作用) may better describe his views, a term emphasized by Dewey to describe his theories of knowledge and experience.

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John Dewey
? Pragmatism
? Pragmatism claims that knowledge must relate to practical human purposes and to our adaptation to our environment. Intellectual beliefs should be justified in terms of their social, moral and biological utilities. ? Pragmatism rejects abstraction and absolute principles and turns towards concreteness, facts and action. Truth and theory are instruments not for solving abstract enigmas. Any idea which proves to have a value for concrete life is true. This theory also became an attitude toward life and a movement emphasizing actions and practices. ? This philosophy tries to assimilate modern science, especially the theory of evolution and new statistical modes of reasoning, within philosophy and criticizes traditional metaphysical speculations. ? Pragmatism has been regarded as a typically American approach to philosophy and has exerted great influence upon contemporary American philosophers.

John Dewey
? Ontology
? Both James and Dewey rejected the classical view that philosophy is a science of first causes, i.e., a discipline that attempts to provide us with an ultimate account of the natural world. Instead, philosophy?s role is to enhance experience by locating the sources of intellectual conflicts in a given culture and offering some general solutions to these conflicts. With this rejection of the traditional approach to philosophy, they also rejected the traditional dualisms within ontology, e.g., the separation of mind and matter, humans and other animals, etc. And while James and Dewey disagreed with each other over the existence of God, the view of God that the pragmatist James offered is very different from traditional views. Dewey also explicitly rejected “essentialist” accounts of nature and of humans (e.g., Plato?s and Aristotle?s) as a throwback to pre-Darwinian science. There is, Dewey thought, no human nature that is constant and fixed. Instead, human nature is plastic and evolving.

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John Dewey
? Epistemology
? James and Dewey rejected the traditional philosophical quest for certainty, a quest as old as Plato. Perhaps in part because of the scientific revolution in physics which occurred during their lifetimes– the replacement of Newtonian physics with Einsteinian relativity, James and Dewey avoided the quest for certainty. With this, they rejected the various dualisms found in traditional approaches to epistemology, e.g., the separation of subject and object, reason and experience. Furthermore, James and Dewey not only rejected rationalist approaches to philosophy, but also the classical empiricist approaches which attempt to have our ideas mirror the real world. Our ideas are strategies for action and our focus should be on the consequences of our ideas. True ideas work; they solve the problems that they are meant to solve. Dewey described this approach to knowledge as ?instrumentalism.? He defined ?instrumentalism? as “an attempt to constitute a precise logical theory of concepts, of judgments and inferences of various forms by considering primarily how thought functions in the experimental determinations of future consequences.”

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John Dewey
? Ethics
? Dewey?s ethical theory discredits the various dualisms found in classical ethics, e.g., the separation of individual and community, means and ends, intrinsic goods and instrumental goods, moral goods and non-moral goods, moral virtue and intellectual virtue, etc. He replaced this with a commitment to the power of practical intelligence via a systematic use of the scientific method, for finding solutions to practical, moral problems. So while the subject matter of science and ethics differ, the methods and forms of solving their various problems do not. Another important feature of Dewey?s ethical theory is that there are no moral absolutes. There is no single good which must be pursued in every situation, there is no single first principle of ethics. Instead, each moral situation is a unique one with an irreplaceable good (cf. Dewey, “Reconstruction in Moral Conceptions,” p. 627). In some situations, virtue is the highest good. But in other situations, it could be health, knowledge, or presumably even wealth or pleasure.

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John Dewey
? Dewey’s ideas on human nature
? Dewey view s the student is an ever-changing, evolving organism. The child is an active, curious, exploring creature of limited experience who needs to grow from his or her present, limited experience to more mature kinds of quality experiences. He would reject Rousseau?s romantic picture of the child as someone naturally good who primarily needs to be protected from the negative influences of society. This is not to say that Dewey thinks the child is inherently bad. Dewey would also reject the traditional religious overtones in the idealist?s and the Christian realist?s accounts of the student because such aspects are unscientific. In their place, Dewey would stress scientific accounts of the human being, such as those found in evolutionary biology and behaviorist psychology “Dewey viewed change and growth as in fact the nature of things. Thus, social experimentation, rather than absolute principles, was needed to assess the worth of an idea or practice. This experimentation was to be guided not by random trial and error, but rather by scientific habits of mind.” (text)

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John Dewey
? Dewey’s idea on human nature to that of the aim of education
? “[We must] make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society, and throughout permeated ['p?:mieit] with the spirit of art, history, and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantor [ɡ?r?n't?:] of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious.” (text) ? Dewey stressed the social and moral nature of the school and believed that it should serve as a miniature community, an embryonic society, especially one that a actively fostered the growth of democracy which was being undermined by urban industrial society. (text) ? Dewey advocated school taking on the role of helping in the transformation to a better social order. (text)

John Dewey
? Dewey’s idea on human nature to that of the aim of education
? Education was the construction and reconstruction of experiences that add meaning and that increase one?s ability to direct the course of subsequence experiences. (text) ? In Dewey?s terminology, the aim of education is growth. Happiness is not a static state of attainment. Nor is it the pursuit of a single aim, such as moral virtue or wisdom. Rather, it involves successfully moving forward and evolving, just as everything else in is constantly changing and evolving. Education should enable students to get “from the present the degree and kind of growth there is in it”(“Reconstruction in Moral Conceptions,”). It should enable students to find their own practical solution to the new problems they will face in our rapidly changing world.

John Dewey
? Dewey’s method of instruction in relation to his aim of education
? Dewey?s method states in contrast to the factory system that emphasized students as relatively passive raw materials to be moulded buy teachers, repetitious methods of teaching, and subject matter divorced from social content. (text) ? Dewey severely criticized public school s for silencing or ignoring student interests and experiences, using artificial language that only served to alienate students, over-relying on testing to assess student learning, differentiating students according to their presumed ability to partake in mental or manual learning instead of offering both to all and isolating subjects from one another instead of uniting them around students? lived experience with knowledge. Dewey focused attention directly on the pedagogy of school. (text)

John Dewey
? Dewey’s method of instruction in relation to his aim of education
? Through the study of and active engagement in basic social activities, such as growing food, coking , building a shelter, making clothing, creating stories and artwork, children could be best initiated into moral social membership. They would be provided with opportunities to learn ?the instruments of effective self-direction,? as well as a sensitivity toward social issues and the ability (including reading, writing and problem-solving skills) to act on them (遵循). In effect, the classroom was to embrace the kind of democratic community life, concern for human dignity, and scientific intelligence. (text) All pragmatists would agree that we learn by doing. For Dewey, the most important methods are the experimental methods of the sciences (cf. Experience and Education, pp.83-88). This method starts with experience and, within experience, the location and formulation of a problem. Next, one gathers data pertinent to the problem. After that, one formulates a hypothesis to solve the problem. The hypothesis is then tested by observation or experiment. Finally, the results are organized into a system as a basis for further discoveries

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John Dewey
? Dewey’s curriculum to his aim of education
? The most effective curriculum for Dewey?s ideal school would attend seriously to the present interests of children, not as a motivational strategy but as a way to teach the essential relationship between human knowledge and social experience. (text) The most important excellence is not knowledge of ideas (idealism) or alleged truth about things as they really are (realism). Rather, the most important intellectual excellence is the ability to ask relevant and appropriate questions and to use ideas as tools or instruments for solving problems. Ideas are true in so far as they work, adequate for solving problems. Dewey thinks that the correct organization of the curriculum is very important. The subject matter should begin with materials that fall within the scope of everyday experience, and then developed in a progressive manner (Experience and Education, pp.73-74). According to his theory of experience, the curriculum must involve continuity and interaction of students and environment. The topics studied will include the sciences, geography, history, mathematics, and literature, which are studied in ways that connect with the child?s experience (Tanner, Dewey?s Laboratory School, pp.38-63). Some would rank the value of the sciences higher than the arts and humanities and all pragmatists would stress the practical over the theoretical.

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John Dewey
? Dewey’s idea of the teacher’s role that harmonizes with the aim of education
? Dewey made it clear that the crucial role was to be played by the teacher in helping to link children?s interests to sustained intellectual development and to educative experiences. (text)Thus education was the construction and reorganization of experiences that add meaning and that increase one?s ability to direct the course of subsequence experiences. (repeated) ? The teacher?s is a resource person, a project director who adapts the activities to the level of the students (Experience and Education, pp.59). The teacher is not an expert instructor who knows the answer to questions posed to the class. Nor is the teacher an external authority who imposes order on the classroom. Instead, the teacher organizes the learning activities in such a way so that order results from the whole situation (Experience and Education, pp.5354).

Assignments
? Dewey stressed that social and moral nature of the school and believed that it should serve as a ?miniature community, an embryonic society?. Montessori’s term for school ?the House of Childhood? or ?the Children?s House? suggested her emphasis on the importance of the child?s environment, her system of individualized instruction, the exercise for sensory training and practical living and auto-education. Do you think Dewey’s miniature community resembles that of Montessori’s the Children?s House or the other way round? Do they have the same value over their ideas for school? Your argument should be based on your understanding of the text.


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