Reading John Dewey

John Dewey is arguably the greatest philosopher of education the world has seen. Unfortunately, for most of us, his stilted, formal prose causes unpleasant flashbacks to the dreary tomes of Philosophy 101. But he’s worth reading–and listening to–despite the pain.

Here, for example, are Dewey’s thoughts on “method”–that is, how to teach–from My Pedagogical Creed, which he published in 1897 (http://dewey.pragmatism.org/creed.htm) (edited slightly to try to make it just a bit more readable):

I believe that the active precedes the passive in the development of the child nature; I believe that conscious states tend to project themselves in action.

I believe that the neglect of this principle is the cause of a large part of the waste of time and strength in school work. The child is thrown into a passive, receptive or absorbing attitude. [My italics] The conditions are such that he is not permitted to follow the law of his nature; the result is friction and waste.

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