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John Dewey


Arguably the most influential thinker on education in the twentieth century, Dewey’s contribution lies along several fronts. His attention to experience and reflection, democracy and community, and to environments for learning have been seminal.

(This ‘John Dewey’ page is due to be extended).

John Dewey (1859 – 1952) has made, arguably, the most significant contribution to the development of educational thinking in the twentieth century. Dewey’s philosophical pragmatism, concern with interaction, reflection and experience, and interest in community and democracy, were brought together to form a highly suggestive educative form. John Dewey is often misrepresented – and wrongly associated with child-centred education. In many respects his work cannot be easily slotted into any one of the curriculum traditions that have dominated north American and UK schooling traditions over the last century. However, John Dewey’s influence can be seen in many of the writers that have influenced the development of informal education over the same period. For example, Coyle, Kolb, Lindeman and Rogers drew extensively on his work.

John Dewey’s significance for informal educators lies in a number of areas. First, his belief that education must engage with and enlarge experience has continued to be a significant strand in informal education practice. Second, and linked to this, Dewey’s exploration of thinking and reflection – and the associated role of educators – has continued to be an inspiration. We can see it at work, for example, in the models developed by writers such as David Boud and Donald Schön. Third, his concern with interaction and environments for learning provide a continuing framework for practice. Last, his passion for democracy, for educating so that all may share in a common life, provides a strong rationale for practice in the associational settings in which informal educators work.

from – http://www.infed.org

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