But since he spends most of Democracy and Education applying these standards in great depth to contemporary concerns, and does so quite successfully, the value of these historical philosophers in the book is questionable. By , Dewey was already hailed internationally as the leading educational theorist of his generation, so maybe he believed there to be value in distinguishing his own views from the other giants of educational thought.
Dewey may have wanted to juxtapose his argument with theirs to illuminate the new, paradigm challenging directions he sought to take educational philosophy and society more generally. Dewey had long been warning of the excesses of child-centered, pedagogical progressivism. For example, of Mrs. Only Rousseau and, to a much lesser extent, the Italian educational theorist Maria Montessori are targets of any direct criticism in the Schools of To-Morrow. Is the conclusion referring to schools reported on in the book, or to other schools which fall short of the examples reported on in the book?
The reader is left to speculate about whether the schools described in Schools of To-Morrow somehow met the ideals of democratic schools that Dewey described in the conclusion. Dewey challenged Rousseau because it enabled him to air, once again, his criticism of pedagogical progressivism. MW 9: ; emphasis added. On the one hand, some maintained the Hegelian framework for viewing individuals as needing to be civilized, in a sense, and brought into a national culture.
The educational expression of this Hegelian view was the much debated and much scorned by progressives Committee of Ten Report of and the Committee of Fifteen Report of Charles W.
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Eliot and William Torrey Harris made an unapologetic case for a broad, liberal arts curriculum for all rejecting the progressive calls for curricular differentiation. It is the aim of progressive education to take part in correcting unfair privilege and unfair deprivation, not to perpetuate them […] there is a danger that industrial education will be dominated by acceptance of the status quo. MW 9: In both essays, Dewey wrote that industrial, vocational education accepts the current class divisions and perpetuates them. In he wrote,. I am utterly opposed to giving the power of social predestination, by means of narrow trade-training, to any group of fallible men no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
MW 8: One might expect that Dewey would have been likely to criticize advocates of traditional education more directly. Rather, Dewey highlighted in his analysis only the ideas that were influential, advocated, or debated among his contemporaries. William Torrey Harris. Pedagogical, child-centered progressives e. David Snedden.
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Scholars have proposed a variety of theories to explain this state of affairs. Some have argued that, early in his career, he advocated child-centered progressivism, and only later became its critic most prominently in Experience and Education. William Heard Kilpatrick is frequently identified as the culprit, and has been at least since the s. Outside of a handful of responses similar to the one he penned to Snedden, or occasional book reviews, Dewey rarely criticized either his fellow progressives or his critics by name in his educational writings.
Perhaps the explanation is too facile, but Dewey may have hesitated to criticize the work of his fellow American pioneers who shared with him a commitment that education is central to the flourishing of a democratic society and democratic citizens. Antler J. Beineke J. Burnett J. Cremin L. Dewey J.
Something to Steer by
Fallace T. Johnston J. Jonas M. Kandel I. Kilpatrick W. Kirby C. Kliebard H. Labaree D. Null J. Plato , , The Republic , edited by G. Ferrari, trans. Snedden D. Waks L. Westbrook R. For another example of Dewey attesting to the value of history, see MW 1: Consider the case of Aristotle, for example. Given how often Dewey discussed Aristotle in his non-educational philosophical writings, the contrast is striking.
See Dewey This is not to say that Dewey did not continuously refine his position. He certainly did so.
See, for example, his evolving treatment of interest in Jonas The child is educating himself in that he sees his own mistakes and corrects them, and the finished result is perfect; partial success or failure is not possible. One can only speculate about why Dewey was willing to criticize Montessori by name.
Perhaps it was because her schools were so well established in Italy that he did not fear for her reputation. As the schools were growing in popularity beyond Italy, maybe Dewey thought that American progressive educators might correct some of the problematic aspects of them.
Not Dewey. My second round of our little game has to do with religion. Voters should also be made aware that God was front and center in the constitution of the Confederacy. Richard Hofstadter was right about this portentous thread in American history. It is a matter of emphasis.
Emerald: Title Detail: Dewey and Education in the 21st Century by Ruth Heilbronn
Lepore is no doubt correct to point to the discrediting of reason on the part of some campus sectarians, but their threat to democracy pales in comparison with what evangelicalism has done to make voters accept the lies of Donald Trump and approve of the policies and practices of his truth-denying appointees. A denial of modern standards of cognitive plausibility gives rise to the liar and the cheat. Relevant is not just the Social Gospel, which she handles well, but the larger accommodation with the Enlightenment that is the dominant theme of liberal Protestantism from William Ellery Channing on through the Darwinian controversy and the Higher Criticism to the present.
Martin Luther King, Jr. A third round. Immigration and the resulting demographic diversity is more important than Lepore acknowledges as a threat to the ability of millions of Americans to achieve solidarity. But what demands greater emphasis is the fact that equality made its greatest gains in the United States during the Great Immigration Interregnum, between the immigration exclusion act of and beginning of the migrations resulting from the Hart-Celler Act of But if you chart the increase of foreign born from to the present, you will find that the chart matches almost exactly a chart showing the increase of a gap in household income.
The popularity of Reagan Revolution and later deregulation of the economy, and the tax revolts of which Proposition 13 in California is the most famous, had several sources, but surely one major source was that millions of empowered white people did not want their tax money going to help people whom they perceived as significantly different from themselves. Yes, the widely studied white backlash against the civil rights gains for African Americans is part of this, but studies of Western Europe of the last several decades, as well as the United States, suggest that demographic diversity resulting from immigration is a substantial threat to social democracy.
And look at them now, when their centuries-old homogeneity is threatened by demographic diversity. This is a difficult, and in many ways uncomfortable question. I simply flag it as something that even the best of our truth-seeking, truth-telling, and truth-affirming scholars, like Lepore, have yet to address as forthrightly as the question demands.
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I conclude these remarks by noting how rare it is for a book so deeply engaged in the politics of the present to be so convincing in its claims about the past. David A. Essays Feature.