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Experience and Education

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,810 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Experience and Education is the best concise statement on education ever published by John Dewey, the man acknowledged to be the pre-eminent educational theorist of the twentieth century. Written more than two decades after Democracy and Education (Dewey's most comprehensive statement of his position in educational philosophy), this book demonstrates how Dewey reformulated ...more
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Kappa Delta Pi (first published 1938)
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Elena Holmgren
Oct 18, 2015 Elena Holmgren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a queer feeling of gloom that falls over me at every election time. I find there's usually little warrant for the fanfare and the circus that are made up around the event. I know that I am not alone; most other young people I know are growing quite despondent about our prospects for authentic change. There's the feeling of something hopelessly ossified and cemented into place, something deadlocked that won't budge anymore. If we ever nurtured the hope that it might in the past, somehow w ...more
Sep 02, 2011 max rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Many of the world's greatest authors have weighed in on the subject of how children should be taught. The Greeks' main educational theorist was none other than Plato, who wrote with great clarity and precision (although some of his ideas, like getting rid of the poets, were preposterous). The Romans had Quintilian, whose massive treatise, "The Orator's Education," is elegantly written and chock full of sensible educational principles. Two thousand years later in the United States of America, we ...more
David Schaafsma
The most concise statement of Dewey's philosophy of education, and an analysis of traditional vs. progressive education with respect to experience. For a longer treatment, more complete treatment, read Democracy and Education.

“There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract. The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education reduced the material of educati
Jul 25, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It is highly curious that outside the arena of teaching the process of education itself remains very much misunderstood. In fact until you actually enter into the process of teaching - education seems very much like an act of guiding others with your bountiful knowledge. Of course very few realise that teaching is as much about learning as it is about passing knowledge. And that education also extends far beyond merely providing knowledge. It is however highly important that educators properly u
Timothy Darling
This book, originally written in 1938 has some important things to say. That children are not built to sit for hours and listen to lectures, but rather to be in motion. That experience is a more effective teacher than rote learning. That ignoring the voice of the student in education is to disconnect from the process by which she will learn. I think Dewey is right on many fronts, including the idea that a thoroughly planned and skillfully executed experimentally based education is more effective ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Kealoha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Considered to be one of the classic must read books for any educator, it discusses traditional and progressive education in a very non-confrontational and honest way. If you ever read any writings for Dewey, make this one your first read. It's a bit tough to read at times, and I found myself re-reading sections of the material to get a better understanding as sometimes I lost my way or just didn't get it. Worth the read and worth the time spent to understand where Dewey is coming from.

I'm not found of theoretical reading - call it a side-effect of working on a doctorate while working full-time and cramming 500 - 1000 pages of reading into a two day period. So it was no surprise that I wasn't excited to pick up Dewey, but I needed to do because I have a proposal to write. I know Dewey. At least I think I know Dewey. As a traditionally-trained teacher, I first learned about Dewey 20+ years ago as an undergraduate. I know how others (professors and researchers) have interpreted ...more
Carrie Shaurette
Oct 02, 2015 Carrie Shaurette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
What most surprised me was how a book written in 1938 could have so much relevance to education today. I was assigned to read a couple of chapters for professional development and found myself getting sucked in to the whole book. Speaking in broad strokes about two opposite education styles, Dewey falls closer in line with progressive education, though warns against unbridled freedom in the classroom. With dense and challenging text, don't confuse it with beach reading, but anyone working in the ...more
Mike Jensen
The speeches printed here (published in 1938) were given at a controversial time in education theory, as traditional education was in tension with experimental progressive approaches. Dewy, a champion of progressive education, tries to find a synthesis for the best education possible, which he says begins with and must always include experience. Education experience is explored in myriad ways, and education for knowledge that may be useful in adulthood is examined. Dewy concludes that science a ...more
Oct 27, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seattle, class, 2011
This concise, incredibly dense volume on Dewey's philosophy of education is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1938. Dewey argues that students need rich experiences to learn, and encourages a cooperative learning environment that teaches studenst not only content, but also the skills to function as citizens in a democratic society. Remarkably, Dewey's theory experiential education, which he developed through observation, has been since proven to be completely aligned with the ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At less than a hundred pages, this is more of a pamphlet than a book. Apparently, many people find it difficult to read and assimilate, but I didn't have that issue. I will grant that it was written in the 1930s, so that could be an issue for some as far as the style of writing. I didn't find it overly difficult, but I did find it intriguing. Dewey has a lot to say about progressive school reform (he was known for it), and this is one of the things he wrote that was published toward the end of h ...more
(7/10) Dewey is kind of the grandfather of the radical education movement, and being someone who never met a freeschool he didn't like I thought it would be worth checking him out. As it happens, this book seems like almost a conscious attempt to move away from that radicalism and towards a kind of centrism, attacking both traditional education and radical pedagogy. There's some interesting stuff in here about experience as the centre of education, and I think that's a really valuable idea, alth ...more
Dec 23, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With theory, it's all about definitions. Even in less than a 100 pages, Dewey finds a way to muddle some of his together which damages the clarity of his theories. And there are two egregious typos on the summary on the back of the book... where was the editor!!??

That being said, this is an excellent argument for experiential education that is bold and unflinching, and a wonderful distillation of many of Dewey's ideas. And covering as much ground as he does in less than a 100 pages is also a rem
Leanna Aker
Jun 21, 2013 Leanna Aker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great, short one to get you thinking about your own philosophy of education. While Dewey is a Progressivist, he advocates a middle ground between the "new" education and the "old." The best summary I can give is that Dewey's philosophy is one of common sense that places importance upon the needs of the child, but doesn't eschew the wisdom of the teacher, either.

The style is a bit philosophical, heady, so at times I found myself re-reading paragraphs to make sure I had gotten the
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Understand first that Dewey's writing style reflects his New England heritage of not wanting to draw attention to itself; he writes without flare or sizzle on purpose. He wants the reader to consider the substance of his ideas first and foremost.

There. Now to the book: Delivered initially as a lecture in 1938, he declares on the first page that educators need to resist the temptation to reduce education to the false dichotomy of an either/or framework--a traditional v. progressive, an old schoo
Erik Akre
Oct 29, 2015 Erik Akre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: educational philosophers, or those interested in such; historians of American education
Shelves: education
This book reads as a defense of Dewey's progressive schools in the early-mid 20th century. As the title implies, it urges education to consist of meaningful and purposeful (and actual) experiences for the learner. He argues a number of points, and defends against criticisms:

* No single course of study for all schools, as life isn't like that...
* The supremacy of the scientific method: Ideas formulated and tested from and against actual experience, filtered through meaningful, purposeful thought
Apr 12, 2008 Thomas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with particular interest in pedagogy
Recommended to Thomas by: Sue Burnett
Shelves: non-fiction
Experience and Education is an essay on the philosophy of education. Given first at a series of lectures in 1938, it is part of an ongoing dialog about how we should proceed with our educational system. Then, as now, people were dismayed about the state of their schools. In this work, Dewey does not provide a concrete answer, but instead situates the debate in a larger philosophical context. This book is a good jumping off point for further discussion-- by itself, it makes so startling insights.
Ali Bottorff
Feb 27, 2010 Ali Bottorff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers and Parents
Shelves: 2010
A short book to clarify his beliefs after time and criticism had its word. I felt much was said counts even now for the problems we are facing in education. My favorite part was in the last few pages where he spoke that what we are striving for is something worthy of being called education, and not education with a prefix such as "traditional" or "progressive." I recommend this to all those interested in education from teachers to parents. It is a hard read though I feel I should warn you.
Jenni Bader
Mar 08, 2016 Jenni Bader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
This small volume takes a little work to get through. It definitely isn't light reading, but neither is it too difficult to understand. I found that I enjoyed reading it--in spite of Dewey's circuitous writing style and tendency toward passive voice--because the philosophy is sound. The only true complaint I have is that for all his talk about needing a definite plan for progressive education, Dewey fails to offer any suggestion what this might look like. While offering a strict method to follow ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Cello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book is about the reasoning to a philosophy of experience to education. It is easy to read, but I feel like it could have delved deeper with more examples of actual education. I found myself thinking how even though this was copy-written in 1938 with the first edition being in 1963, we still have many of the same questions, opinions, and frustrations brought up about education. It has me thinking about how to extend the philosophy of experience to education.
Philosophical books sometimes send my brain in a tailspin of redundancy and over analysis. I enjoyed that Dewey discusses the added value of capitalizing on student's personal/life experiences as a foundation for their own educational journeys. I wish that the book would have added more insight towards incorporating a democratic classroom approach to unearthing these lessons but then, it may be my educator desire emphasizing practical over theoretical.
Jafer Martin
Dec 14, 2010 Jafer Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im giving this 5 stars because he managed to state his positions in 91 pages! I loved the concise page length of the book. PLUS, as I read this book I realized that his concepts have been rebranded, and reformatted again and again by other educational writers that came later. So again, I'm giving 5 stars to this book, because it really started the progressive framework. Its worth a read.
Elliot Chalom
Nov 12, 2015 Elliot Chalom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for anyone who has anything to do with education in any way, shape, or form - I'm including teachers, administrators, school board members, active parents - anyone who has any influence directly or indirectly in shaping the education of our children and young adults. And I really do mean required - I consider it tantamount to gross negligence, a form of educational malpractice, to have not read this critically important, brilliant, and timeless book on the su ...more
Scherrie Jackson
Progressive educational theory is being compared to traditional theory of the old, old days in this educational classic for everyone inspired/ motivated to create a better school (wouldn't that be nice).
Jul 17, 2014 Yeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could start a revolution...and it should. Dewey's work is a pertinent now as it was in 1938. Wow. I would love to be a part of a movement with him.
Aug 14, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dewey asserts that both traditional, as well as progressive approaches to education, lack something. That something is a theory of experience, consisting of continuity and interaction, and providing a context for past, present, and future educational experience. It seemed to me that Dewey clearly comes down on the side of progressive education apparently because it is much more closely aligned with the scientific method. He describes traditional education as intellectual and moral, existing befo ...more
Aug 11, 2008 Piper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was awful and boring, but I was forced to read it, so you don't have to accept my opinion.
Feb 24, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overview of his philosophy, but I liked How to Think better.
Jan 03, 2016 Joey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Horrifying. The majority of the book is poorly written, repetitive, vague philosophical claptrap, based around the true idea that experience is the best teacher. He sets himself up to advocate for, essentially, whatever he wants based upon this, as well as his idea that the purpose of education is to prepare the student for their future: near, short, and long-term.

But, Dewey explicitly rejects the idea that students should be trained to be critical thinkers. Instead, educators are to shape the "
Feb 17, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any level of educator.
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John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology. He was a major representative of the progressive and progressive populist philosophies of schooli ...more
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“There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract. The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education reduced the material of education so largely to a diet of predigested materials.” 26 likes
“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.” 25 likes
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