27 June 2015

John Dewey: Views on Education (PART 2)

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Educational Method

1.    Learning by doing. The most well known principle enunciated relates the theory of learning by doing, inwhich the child learns best when he himself performs actions, to particular subjects. The educator is not tostuff the child’s mind with information he himself has gathered throughout his life, but to guide the child to those activities by which the child can develop his own natural abilities and qualities.
2.    Integration of life and subjects. Dewey is of the opinion that there should be integration between the child’s life, his activities and the subjects he studied. All subjects to be taught to the child should be arranged around his activities in such a manner that he acquires knowledge in the process of doing activities to which he is accustomed. Mahatma Gandhi later on adopted Dewey’s principle in his plan of basic education.
3.  Catering to child interest. The next question that arises is that of designing the method of teachingaccording to the child’s interests. Dewey considers interest and effort to be of supreme importance in the process of education. The educator must understand the child’s interest before organizing the activities,which are useful for the child. It is better if this effort is free of any fear or compulsion, only then can Dewey’s ideas on educational methods later on led to the evolution of the project method in which the child was made to indulge in those activities which helped in the development of enthusiasm, self-confidence,self-reliance and originality.
4.  Participation in collective activities. In a democratic educational pattern, the child should be made to participate in collective activity, which can help in evolving a co-operative and social spirit.
This method of education is apparently very suitable inasmuch as it meets the requirement of educational psychology. But in fact it has one inherent shortcoming that if the education of the child is fashioned exclusively according to the child’s natural inclination he will remain ignorant of many subjects. Besides, even his knowledge of other subjects will remain disorganized, objections, which are accepted by Dewey himself.

John Dewey: Views on Education, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes ( Study Material), CTET, TETPDF Notes Free Download.School Organization

Dewey has commented in detail upon the organization of schools as follows:

Role of the Educator

Pragmatic education grants considerable importance to the educator, who is conceived as a servant of society.His task is to create in the school an environment, which will help in the development of the child’s social personality and enable the child to become a responsible democratic citizen. Dewey considers the educator to be so important that he goes so far as to call him God’s representative on earth. In determining the educator’s own behaviour in the school, Dewey accepts democratic principles and educational psychology as suitable guides for shaping the educator’s conduct.


If the educator conducts himself on the lines suggested above, discipline in the school becomes easy.Difficulties arise only when discipline takes the form of an external force employed to restrain the child fromexpressing his natural desires. This is the traditional concept of discipline, which was severely criticized by Dewey. He argued that discipline depends not only upon the child’s own personality but also upon the social environment in which he is placed. True discipline takes the form of social control and this is evolved when the child engages in collective activity in the school. It is therefore desirable to create an atmosphere in the schoolwhich encourages the children to live in mutual harmony and co-operation. Social environment and a mode,which inspire him to self-discipline rather than to subject him to long lectures. A peaceful atmosphere is undoubtedly conducive to good and rapid work, but peace is only a means, not an end in itself. The educator’s real task is to engage the children in work, which suits their natural inclination. Self-discipline is a better weapon, and this can be taught through responsibility. Thus he will also learn to lead a disciplined life as an adult.

Impact on Modern Education

Many of Dewey’s ideas have had great impact on modern education. Some important facts in this connection are:
1.      Impact on the aims of education : Now a days, one of the important aims of education is the teaching of democratic values. Dewey insisted on developing social qualities in the child. In modern schools these aims of education have been accepted as valid.   
2.      Impact on educational methods : The greatest impact of Dewey’s ideas is seen in the methods of education in more recent times. Dewey suggested that education should be based on the child’s own experience, and also that the method of teaching should vary according to the interests and inclinations of each individual child. These ideas influenced modern teaching techniques and led to active teaching in schools. One such school is the Activity School. The project method is also a result of Dewey’s ideas.Even in the other schools, attention is paid to the principles of child psychology, which guide the educator in creating an atmosphere suitable for developing social consciousness in the educated.
3.      Impact on curriculum : The impact of Dewey’s ideas on the subject of curriculum led to the introduction of manual skill subjects into modern curricula. Special importance is now being attached to various kinds of games, objects, the use of certain tools and implements, etc. In selecting the subject to be taught, attention is now paid to the individual interests and abilities of the child.
4.      Impact on discipline : As a result of Dewey’s theorizing on the subject of discipline, now the students is entrusted with much of the work done in the school. In this manner the students are trained are self-control and democratic citizenship. Apart this, once the student have to face responsibility, he is compelled to think scientifically and reason out things for himself.
5.      Universal education : Dewey’s thinking and ideal also lead to faith in universal and compulsory education.Education aims at the development of personality. Hence every individual must be given the opportunity to develop his personality through education. The current stress on the scientific and social tendency owes muchto Dewey’s influence. He pointed but that education was a social necessity, in that it was not merely a preparation for life, itself. It aimed at the development of both the individual as well as society. This leads to the comprehensive development of the individual.