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Experience and Education
John Dewey
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Experience and Education

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,000 Ratings  ·  133 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
Published January 1st 1983 by Peter Smith Publisher (first published 1938)
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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
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
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
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
Sep 17, 2012 Kony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smart and sensible. Maybe even timeless (we'll see in a century or so).

Good reminder for learners and teachers that their respective roles are, ideally, complementary and overlapping; that public education is essentially a social process serving social purposes; and that new knowledge is useful only if it speaks meaningfully to past experience and lays groundwork for a richer series of future experiences.

Pithiness is both this book's strength and its weakness -- strength because it imparts its
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
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.
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
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
Feb 27, 2010 A.B. 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.
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.
Ilmari Vauras
This book was no doubt revolutionary and insightful when published in 1938. However, as a middle school teacher in Finland in 2016, I didn't feel the classic had much to give, as so many of John Dewey's ideas have already been in use for a long time. Of course I have to appreciate his work, which has had influence in educational theory and practice.
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).
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 17, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any level of educator.
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.
Pankaj Suneja
Jan 26, 2016 Pankaj Suneja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Dewey believes that education can have an alternative approach of learning based on experience. In this book, he describes the conditions that must be fulfilled if education takes the route of system dwelling on one's experience.
Dewey formulates the theory of experience that can be taken into practice.
Both traditional and progressive education are analyzed. Traditional education stressing on the cumulative knowledge, the heritage, the books through medium of teachers where the learner's ca
Dec 08, 2016 C.L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MUST read for educators.
Daniel S
“Just as no man lives or dies to himself, so no experience live and dies to itself. Wholly independent of desire or intent, every experience lives in further experiences. Hence the central problem of an education based upon experience is to select the kids of present experiences that live fruitfully and creatively in subsequent experiences.” (27-28)

“There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract.”(46)

“Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person lear
Kelsey Sicard
Dec 26, 2016 Kelsey Sicard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a bit of focus for Dewey's writing style to "click," but once it does you'll eventually find a bit of subtle humor and a brief (but well-developed) discussion of his theory of education. My interests are in policy, so I appreciated the broader look at these principles that can be applied both in a classroom and at a broader level. While Dewey's point is that education needs self-reflection and shared and productive experiences, these themes are exceptionally important for the developmen ...more
Oct 01, 2012 lindafay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is much more to this little book than many young, aspiring teachers realize. John Dewey had some great ideas and most were discussed in the first several chapters of the book in very vague terms. On the surface, they seem fine and good. But in chapter 7, Progressive Organization of Subject Matter, the pragmatic, materialist philosophy behind his educational ideas is explained more clearly. It is very alarming to those of us who still believe that unchangeable truth exists-that some things ...more
Nelson Zagalo
This is a very interesting book from Dewey because it was written two decades after his first propositions for a new education (Democracy and Education, 1916), and a decade after some schools started to implement his ideas. Here Dewey had the opportunity to analyse what went good and what went bad.

Thus the goal of the book is not to defend progressive against conservative, but to compare both systems in place. Dewey even admits some mea culpa here and there for some of the most naif ideas, but i
David Kleiman
John Dewey's impact on education in North American is hard to overstate. The short length of this book gave me a simple way to catch a fascinating glimpse into the mind and arguments of such an influential person. My primary limitations in enjoying this book and extracting its meanings likely stem from my lack of familiarity with writing from his time. Though the book was originally published in 1938, it was a reflective summary at his ripe age of 79 focused on where he envisioned education ough ...more
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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.” 28 likes
“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.” 27 likes
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