Mark's Reviews > Experience and Education

Experience and Education by John Dewey
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's review
Jan 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy, education
Read in January, 2009

In this short book, John Dewey presents his theory of education, a theory based on the belief that "all genuine education comes about through experience." In doing this, he argues that we should move away from the traditional model, one that views education more as a formation of an individual from external sources, and proceed towards one where the individual is developed from within his or herself.

To support his view on education, Dewey systematically puts forth a theory of experience, laying out criteria for what, at its essence, constitutes a positive and educative experience. This theory leans heavily on the principles of continuity and interaction, principles that educators must be sensitive to in order for them to provide the right atmosphere for pupils to attain maximal exposure to, and retention of, knowledge. Along with this critique, Dewey provides a guide to how educators can effectively manage their pupils and simultaneously provide them with real educative freedom. This guide is based on the idea that the educator is more akin to a leader, than a dictator, a person to be followed rather than a person to be feared.

In the final pages of his work, Dewey expounds on the notion of purpose in education and shows how, through real-world experience, we can create truly intelligent beings, that is, people who can freely formulate purposes and have the organizational skills and means to execute them. This idea leads to what I believe is the most attractive effect of Dewey's educational theory: it places the sources and methods of knowledge within the "real world" changing the transition out of the educational system into an authentically enabling experience. We are no longer keeping pupils in a secluded environment and therefore are truly preparing (read educating!) them for a lifetime of learning and bringing them closer to Dewey's ideal that "education as growth or maturity should be an ever-present process."

Highly recommended. Just as relevant today as when it was originally published in 1939. Should be required reading material for any curriculum in education or anyone involved in the education of others...

"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." -- John Dewey
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Quotes Mark Liked

John Dewey
“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.”
John Dewey, Experience and Education


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