“Education is life itself.” - John Dewey
Philosophy • Mr. Dewey believed that the core curriculum should encompass the students’ interests. • John Dewey approached education with a hands-on, cohesive philosophy, rather than teaching isolated topics which prevented learners from grasping the whole of knowledge.
Pragmatism • Pragmatism is the philosophy of considering practical consequences or real effects to be vital components of both meaning and truth. • One important aspect is fallibilism • Fallibilism is the philosophical doctrine that all claims of knowledge could, in principle, be mistaken. Some fallibilists go further, arguing that absolute certainty about knowledge is impossible. Wikipedia (2009)
Pragmatism - Instrumentalism • Dewey did not consider himself a pragmatist, but rather referred to his philosophy as Instrumentalism. • Instrumentalism: concepts and theories are measured as useful, not by whether they are true or false, but by how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena Wikipedia (2009)
Philosophy • Students need to learn practical, pragmatic daily-life skills in order to build a better society. • Dewey wanted students to learn through experience and to think and reflect critically on their experiences.
Examples • Math could be learned by cooking, traveling, building things • History could be learned by experiencing field trips, museums, replicas • Reading can be learned through independently-selected literature
Current Day Evidence of this Theory • Vocational Technical School • Use of Scientific Method in classrooms • Kinesthetic Learning (role playing, non-traditional learning techniques) • Integrating Technology into lessons