Democracy and Education in Dewey’s Thinking

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The key goal of John Dewey’s educational theory was to emphasize the importance of incorporating a realistic approach into the teaching and evaluation process. This will ensure that students not only had a theoretical understanding of the subject, but also had the capacity to put it into practice. John Dewey was an educational philosopher who placed a strong emphasis on pragmatism in the classroom. He argued that it should be included in the educational curriculum. Dewey believed that children’s minds evolved when they grew up, similar to Darwin’s theory of human evolution. He stressed a learning approach that accounted for the student’s constantly evolving and increasing brain potential from this viewpoint. Dewey has argued that the students ought to be exposed to both theory and practical elements of the same subject in order to reinforce the student’s understanding.

From the previous generations, especially in the public-school learning, there was a rigid pattern of learning followed to the latter. This rigid learning regime has involved putting many students in a single classroom with a single teacher emphasizing on children’s ability to memorize things they had learned in class rather than an understanding the concepts they learned. This approach underutilizes the students’ brain and makes them more of robots than flexible thinkers. Thus, a flexible pattern of learning that allows for application of the concepts taught in class as a means of strengthening the learning process and helping the student’s brain develop and evolve effectively is emphasized.

John Dewey supported the idea that one was to go school not only because he or she was supposed to as an obligation. He suggested it rather because it is fun being in school. This meant that learning was to be made interesting through seeing and believing. This implied an experimental outlook, which would prepare the learners for the future (Rud).

Learning in educational institutions was to be democratic, as it brings the aspect of the learner’s idea into the classroom that should be recognized by the teacher in the classroom. This grows learner’s ability to think critically outside the box away from lessons learned in class. The diversity of ideas allows a broad spectrum of learning. This creates an avenue for one to learn from their peers through group work, as opposed to individual learning that does not bring sense during the learning process, as there is no diversity in the learning process, but rather oneness that is limited to the new ideas from other people.

Finally, according to Dewey, there was no distinction between academic and vocational learning. Furthermore, they were to be used concurrently in the learning process for vocational learning provides hands-on experience. At the same time, academic learning adds the theoretical information to the learner’s knowledge base. Additionally, this would prepare the students in both humanistic and scientific fields (Hansen).

It is prudent that in the learning process, emphasis should not only be in the theoretical context of the curriculum, but also include the practical aspect of it. The education system should not be rigid and more focused on inculcating the context from books, but rather equally focus on practical aspects as well. The teachers have to be dynamic and give room for variant perspectives in line with creativity during learning. I concur with Dewey approach in advocating for pragmatism in education.

Works Cited

Hansen, David T. “Reading Democracy and Education.” 2006. http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/61353.pdf. 05 June 2017.

Rud, Anthony G. “John Dewey: America’s philosopher of democracy and his importance to education.” Youtube, uploaded by Washington State University, 04 February 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMh1LYuZ3B4.

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