Saturday, April 10, 2010

  1. Traditional vs. Progressive Education
    Judgment- The Interpretation of Facts
    Education and Democracy
    Written By:Mehreen Saleem,Rachel Paul,Rehmat Valliani,SaniyaSultan Ali,Sarah Francis,Sonia Daniel

Traditional vs. Progressive Education
It is in human nature that they are inclined to think in terms of Either-Ors. Dewey suggested that when humans encounter practical situations, they realize that their notion of Either-Ors is not applicable in most of the situations.
The idea of Either-Or is also present in the history of educational theory. One idea proposes that education is development from within which focuses on the role psychology or natural endowment in the development of a person. Whereas, the other idea presents the role of sociology or external environment in human development and says that education is formation from without.
The above mentioned contrasting ideas of education take the form of traditional (Education is formation from without) and progressive (Education is development from within) education at present. According to Dewey, following are the characteristics of traditional education:
· The main aim of education is to prepare students for their future responsibilities.
· Bodies of information constitute the subject-matter of education in the form of books. Teaching is based on the imposition of that information from teacher to the students.
· Isolated skills and knowledge are taught by drills with a product oriented approach.
· Classroom environment is marked by external discipline, which means that strict standards and rules of conduct are developed.
· Education is based on static knowledge which does not respond to the needs of changing world.
On the contrary, the idea of progressive education is based on following characteristics:
· The main purpose of education is to facilitate students to make most of the opportunities of present life.
· Teaching is based on the principle of learning by doing and concepts are presented as a question to investigate.
· Integrated knowledge and skills are acquired by the students using various ways through process oriented approach.
· Classroom environment encourages students to participate freely.
· Education is based on dynamic knowledge which satisfies students changing needs.
Dewey believed in the reconciliation between two contradictory ideas of traditional and progressive education. For example, the belief that all genuine education comes through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative. Some experiences are misleading. Everything depends on the quality of the experience which students have. Another example is when external authority is rejected, it does not follow that all authority should be rejected, but rather there is need to search for a more effective source of authority.
Reference:
Dewey, J. (1998). Experience and education (60th ed.). New York: Macmillan Company


Judgment- The Interpretation of Facts

A person is said to be educated or trained if he has the ability of effective and unbiased judgment. Aim of education is not only to provide information and knowledge all the time rather it is concerned with inculcating in the students decision-making skills in all aspects of life including educative aspect. (Dewey, 1997)
According to Dewey (1997) there is a close relation between judgment and inference which have a very little distinction. Inference is transformed into judgment to arrive at decision. It should not happen that the inference should dominate or terminate judgment. For example being a teacher inference should not always dominate in making decisions or perceptions regarding a child rather judgment should follow authentic evidence. Dewey (1997) suggested three features:
When there is no point of doubt, we simply ignore the situation. Hence no judgment can be done. With mere apprehension, perception and recognition an element of doubt evolve. This doubt generates disputes and controversy which can be resolved on the basis of collecting facts and evidences. On the basis of such evidences and facts final decision is being made.
According to Dewey (1997) an idea is a meaning that is tentatively entertained, formed and used with reference to its fitness to decide a perplexing situation in short, an idea is a tool of judgment. Ideas become genuine when they tend to become a tool of reflective examination that tends to solve the problems. For instance if the pupil have to grasp the idea of spherecity of earth then they should not be taught this concept as a fact rather a ball or a globe shall be shown to him/her through which he can connect the shape of ball with the shape of earth. But the problem is that there is no idea in his/her mind about the shape of the earth, he /she only has had a certain image of sphere. To grasp spehercity of idea, the pupil must first have to realize certain perplexities or confusing features in observed facts and have had the idea of spherical as it will give them a logical idea that tends to work as keys opening locks. Animal learn by Cut and try method by doing at random first one thing and then another thing and then preserving the things that happened to succeed. Action directed directly by ideas by suggested meaning accepted for the sake of experimenting with them is the sole alternative both to bull-headed stupidity and to learning bough from the dear teacher that is chance experience.
Reference:
Dewey. J. (1997). How we think. Boston: Dover Publication, Inc.


Education and Democracy
John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been very influential to education and social reform.
Although Dewey is known best for his publications concerning education, he also wrote about many other topics, including experience and nature, art and experience, logic and inquiry, democracy, and ethics.
In his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society—as being major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. Dewey asserted that complete democracy was to be obtained not just by extending voting rights but also by ensuring that there exists a fully-formed public opinion, accomplished by effective communication among citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being accountable for the policies they adopt.
The overriding theme of Dewey's works was his profound belief in democracy, be it in politics, education or communication and journalism. As Dewey himself stated in 1888, while still at the University of Michigan, "Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are to my mind synonymous." With respect to technological developments in a democracy: "Persons do not become a society by living in physical proximity any more than a man ceases to be socially influenced by being so many feet or miles removed from others" -John Dewey from Andrew Feenberg's "Community in the Digital Age"
Democratic education is a theory of learning and school governance in which students and staff participate freely and equally in a school democracy. In a democratic school, there is typically shared decision-making among students and staff on matters concerning living, working, and learning together.
Dewey defines education as a process of growth, and it is through this concept that education with democracy. Democracy, understood as a mode of associated, conjoint, communicated living, is the only type of society in which individuals are able to grow and socially participate in a manner that allows for the realization of their unique interests and gifts. Conversely, for a democracy to flourish, it requires individuals who maximize their potential in activity with others. Learning in isolation perpetuates the duality of mind and action, and of the individual and society. The method of Dewey a democratic education is an experimental process in which thought and reason are applied to activity to find the best answer to a problem at a particular time and place.
In the 18th century nature is still opposed to social organization. The voice of nature now speaks for the diversity of individual talent and for the need of free development of individuality in all its variety.
Education in agreement with nature furnishes the method of instruction and discipline.
It was thought social arrangement were a source of greater amount of private happiness for nonsocial individuals. In reality its chief purpose is social progress.
The antisocial philosophy is a somewhat transparent mask towards cosmopolitanism. Humanity was its positive ideal. Humanities says that mans individual capacities should be liberated and not controlled by the states’ interest. Only a freed individual can function as an organ and agent of a comprehensive and progressive society. Giving nature its full swing is to replace an artificial, corrupt and inequitable social order by a new and better kingdom of humanity.
He believed that if humans could inquire freely irrespective of the restrictions by the state and the church. Then the world would become a place of Newtonian harmony, where every force would balance the other. In the same way human relations would be established if man imposed (artificial) restrictions be removed through furnishing the natural law.
Education in accord with nature was thought to be the first step towards a more social society. The economical and social limitations where were actually rooted in limitations of thoughts and feelings. So freedom from the internal chains of false belief and ideals is the next step. He believed that education should be left to the power of nature alone. Since the natural world is filled with truth. It can produce minds filled with truth. The existing institutions were too false and corrupt to be in trusted with this work.
As the excitement for freedom subsided, the weakness of this theory was realized education could not be merely in trusted to accidents of circumstances. Rather it required some administrative agency for carrying out instruction. Organization became essential for the realization of progressive humanity.
Under the influence of German though, education became a civic function of the national state. The state as substituted for humanity; and cosmopolitanism for nationalism. ‘Formation of citizen became the aim of education instead of the ‘formation of man’. They felt that the best way to recover political power and integrity is through systematic education. Hence educational process was taken as a disciplinary training instead of personal development. But then the ideal of culture as a complete development of personality persisted in the society. So educational philosophy reconciled both the ideals (culture and nature) into an organic character of state. This meant that an isolated individual is nothing. Only in and through the aims and meaning of organized institutions does he attain true personality.
‘The emphasis must be put upon whatever binds people together in cooperative human pursuits and results, apart from geographical limitations’.
Therefore the idea of education is the freeing of individual capacities in a progressive growth directed to social aims. Otherwise there would be in consistency in applying a democratic criterion of Education.
In summary, in Democracy and Education Dewey emphasizes the associational and communal aspects of democracy, and finds that conscious, directed education is necessary to establish these conditions and form democratic character in children. Growth, experience, and activity are the preferred terms by Dewey to describe the tying of learning to social, communicative activity that allows for the flourishing of democratic community.
Reference:

Dewey, J. (1920). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of
education. New York: Free Press

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