15 April, 2009

Experience & Education ~ John Dewey

One of the suggested readings for my Applications course is Experience & Education by John Dewey*. So far, I have only read two chapters of this 91 page book and am finding it both interesting and dry - very dry.

Some of the highlights from Chapter 1: Traditional vs. Progressive Education:
  • Educational Theory - Developed within, Formed without - what does this mean exactly?
  • Pattern of organization in a traditional school vs. lack of organization in progressive schools
  • Dewey says that the "very situation forbids much active participation by pupils in the development of what is taught" (19) - in experiential education, pupils are largely responsible for this development
  • A necessary and intimate relationship between experience and education (20)

Some highlights from Chapter 2: The Need of a Theory of Experience:
Dewey begins this chapter by stating that we need to know the definition of experience in order to understand empiricism, but the chapter doesn't seem to discuss much about empiricism. Here are the definitions I retrieved from the Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984)
  • Experience: Apprehension of perception of an object, thought, emotion, or event through the senses or mind
  • Empiricism: The view that experience is the single source of knowledge
  • Experience in education needs to promote the growth of further experience
  • Following the path of least resistance prevents a quality experiential education experience
  • Experiences students have in traditional education teach boredom, limited judgemenet/ability, repetition of statistics/facts - those experiences don't necessarily bring about further experience in education
  • Quality of experience is most important
  • Dewey says that progressive education requires a philosophy of education based on a philosophy of experience (29)

What I got from the reading so far: education needs to engage the student - set the student up to want to experience more education in the future.


*Dewey, John. Experience & Education - a Kappa Delta Pi Lecture Series book. NY: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster, Inc.), 1938.

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