Although he is no longer widely known, John Dewey was a writer, lecturer and philosopher whose theories had a profound influence on public education in the first half of the 20th century, especially in the United States. In his career he also worked at the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago and Columbia University, and lectured all over the world, including in China, Japan and Scotland. His works include Democracy and Education (1916), Art as Experience (1934) and a series of lectures collected as Experience and Nature (1925). John Dewey (1859-1952) lived from the Civil War to the Cold War, a period of extraordinary social, economic, demographic, political and technological change. During his lifetime the United States changed from a rural to an urban society, from an agricultural to an industrial economy, from a regional to a world power.
EUCATION AS EXPERIENCE:
For John Dewey, education and democracy are intimately connected. According to Dewey good education should have both a societal purpose and purpose for the individual student. For Dewey, the long-term matters, but so does the short-term quality of an educational experience. Educators are responsible, therefore, for providing students with experiences that are immediately valuable and which better enable the students to contribute to society. Dewey polarizes two extremes in education -- traditional and progressive education. The paradigm war still goes on -- on the one hand, relatively structured, disciplined, ordered, didactic tradition education vs. relatively unstructured, free, student-directed progressive education. Dewey criticizes traditional education for lacking in holistic understanding of students and designing curricula overly focused on content rather than content and process which is judged by its contribution to the well-being of individuals and society. On the other hand, progressive education, he argues, is too reactionary and takes a free approach without really knowing how or why freedom can be most useful in education. Freedom for the sake of freedom is a weak philosophy of education. Dewey argues that we must move beyond this paradigm war, and to do that we need a theory of experience. Thus, Dewey argues that educators must first understand the nature of human experience. Dewey's theory is that experience arises from the interaction of two principles -- continuity and interaction. Continuity is that each experience a person has will influence his/her future, for better or for worse. Interaction refers to the situational influence on one's experience. In other words, one's present experience is a function of the interaction between one's past experiences and the present situation. For example, my experience of a lesson will depend on how the teacher arranges and facilitates the lesson, as well my past experience of similar lessons and teachers. It is important to understand that, for Dewey, no experience has pre-ordained value. Thus, what may be a rewarding experience for one person could be a detrimental experience for another? The value of the experience is to be judged by the effect that experience has on the individual's present, their future, and the extent to which the individual is able to contribute to society. Dewey says that once we have a theory of experience, then as educators can set about progressively organizing our subject matter in a way that it takes accounts of students' past experiences, and then provides them with experiences which will help to open up, rather than shut down, a person's access to future growth experiences, thereby expanding the person's likely contribution to society. Dewey examines his theory of experience in light of practical educational problems, such as the debate between how much freedom vs. discipline to use. Dewey shows that his theory of experience (continuity and interaction) can be useful guides to help solving such issues. Throughout, there is a strong emphasis on the subjective quality of a student's experience and the necessity for the teacher of understanding the students' past experiences in order to effectively design a sequence of liberating educational experiences to allow the person to fulfill their potential as a member of society.
(Maria and Sarah Farah)
During his distinguished academic career, which began in 1884 at the University of Michigan, Dewey was a strong promoter of what was called instrumentalism (related to the pragmatism of Charles Pierce and William James) and the radical reform of the public education system. His view held no room for eternal truth outside human experience, and he advocated an educational system with continued experimentation and vocational training to equip students to solve practical problems. The philosophical teaching of Dewey is known as instrumentalism in its theoretical aspect, and as meliorism in its ethical aspect. According to him, nature is a continuously flowing stream. It uses thought as an instrument or tool to pass from a given situation, full of ambiguities and disharmonies, to a new and better situation. Although this new situation contains elements implied in the former, it is richer and better because of its new meaning and greater complexity. In addition to the experimental method of verification stressed by Charles Sanders Peirce, and the popular version of Pragmatism given by William James, Dewey contributes two additional factors to Pragmatism: the psychological, and the logical. Psychology with its biological drift greatly influenced Pragmatism; and logic was turned into the assumption that positive science is true. Dewey's "instrumentalism" affirms that cognition consists in forging ideal tools or instruments with which to cope with a given situation. Like James, Dewey maintains that the mind is an instrument for realizing purposes. Ideas are teleological weapons of mind. Ideas are plastic and adaptable. They owe their stability to the vital functions which they serve. A philosophy advanced by the American philosopher John Dewey holding that what is most important in a thing or idea is its value as an instrument of action and that the truth of an idea lies in its usefulness. Dewey favored these terms over the term pragmatism to label the philosophy on which his views of education rested. His school claimed that cognition has evolved not for speculative or metaphysical purposes but for the practical purpose of successful adjustment. Ideas are conceived as instruments for transforming the uneasiness arising from facing a problem into the satisfaction of solving it.
Summary of Dewey's Philosophy of Instrumentalism
Dewey's philosophy was called instrumentalism (related to pragmatism).
Instrumentalism believes that truth is an instrument used by human beings to solve their problems.
Since problems change, then so must truth.
Since problems change, truth changes, and therefore there can be no eternal reality.
Habits are socially shaped to particular forms of activity or modes of response to the environment. They urge in specified directions, toward certain outcomes, by establishing particular uses of means, prescribing certain conduct in particular circumstances. While individuals may have particular habits, the most important habits are customs, shared habits of a group that are passed on to children through socialization. Customs originate in purposive activity. Every society must devise means for the satisfaction of basic human needs for food, shelter, clothing, and affiliation, for coping with interpersonal conflict within the group and treatment of outsiders, for dealing with critical events such as birth, coming of age, and death. Yet customs need not have been consciously invented to serve these needs. Language consists in a body of habits and norms, but few languages were clearly invented to serve needs for communication. Normal ways of satisfying needs shape the direction of desire in the socialized individual. A young child just starting on solid food may be open to eating nearly anything. But every society limits what it counts as edible. Certain foods become freighted with social meaning — as suitable for celebrating birthdays, good for serving to guests, reserved for sacrifice to the gods, or fit only for animals. The child's hunger becomes refined into a taste for certain foods on particular occasions. She may withdraw in hatred or horror from certain edibles deemed taboo or unclean. There may have been a basis for the original selection of foods. Perhaps some food was deemed taboo when its consumption was followed by a natural disaster, and people concluded that the gods were angry at them for consuming it. But the habit of avoiding it may persist long after its original basis is forgotten.
Dewey believed that neither traditional moral norms nor traditional philosophical ethics were up to the task of coping with the problems raised by these dramatic transformations. Traditional morality was adapted to conditions that no longer existed. Hidebound and unreflective, it was incapable of changing so as to effectively address the problems raised by new circumstances. Traditional philosophical ethics sought to discover and justify fixed moral goals and principles by dogmatic methods. Its preoccupation with reducing the diverse sources of moral insight to a single fixed principle subordinated practical service to ordinary people to the futile search for certainty, stability, and simplicity. In practice, both traditional morality and philosophical ethics served the interests of elites at the expense of most people. To address the problems raised by social change, moral practice needed to be thoroughly reconstructed, so that it contained within itself the disposition to respond intelligently to new circumstances. Dewey saw his reconstruction of philosophical ethics as a means to effect this practical reconstruction.
Khalid, T. (2005). Education: An introduction to educational philosophy and
history. Ahbab Printers: Pakistan.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Dewey’s Moral Philosophy
Dewey formed his moral Philosophy in the period of extraordinary social, economic, demographic, political and technological change. He felt that traditional morality and philosophical ethics served the interests of elites. He realized that moral practice needed to be thoroughly revisited and reconstructed that they are able to respond according to the circumstances.
Dewey emphasizes to use reflective intelligence to revise one’s judgment in the light of the consequences of acting on them. He considers value judgment as a tool to enable one for satisfactory redirection when habit is no longer enough.
For Dewey human behavior is more important than action it includes unconscious and unreflective activity produced by instinct and reaction.
Impulse includes what we would call today drives, appetites, instincts and unconditioned reflexes. Impulsive activity is not purposive. It involves no idea of an end to be achieved by the activity. It has psychological effects in it. Desires are fixed by their ends. Impulses can be directed and shaped towards various ends. For example a newborn feels hungry first no end in view. The child observes that crying results in feeding which releases its hunger. He/she gets idea that by crying hunger can be relieved. So desires are critically shaped by others’ responses.
Habits are socially shaped to particular forms of activity or modes of responses to the environment. They channel impulses in specified directions, towards certain outcome, by entrenching particular uses of means, prescribing certain behaviors in particular circumstances. Most important habits are customs, shared habits of a group that are passed on to children through socialization. Language consists in a body of habits and norms but a few languages were explicitly invented for communication. Food habits are refined into a taste certain food. Some foods are taboo or unclean when its consumption was followed by disaster. When environment changes they may need different results than originally intended.
Once Dewey was asked can adults change their habits? His answer was that habits can be changed through willpower. People find difficult to modify habits because people have attachments with them. Dewey places his hopes to modify habits of young people through education as their impulses are not changed into habits. Adults can change their habits with the help of education when one becomes independent thinker, develops critical inquiry, observation, experimentation, foresight and imaginations and sympathy, then habits becomes more flexible and responsive to the change and according to consequences.
For John Dewey, education and democracy are intimately connected.
According to Dewey good education should have both a societal purpose and purpose for the individual student. For Dewey, the long-term matters, but so does the short-term quality of an educational experience. Educators are responsible; therefore, for providing student with experiences that are immediately valuable and which better enable the students to contribute to society.
Dewey polarizes two extremes in education—traditional and progressive education.
The paradigm war still goes on---on the one hand, relatively structured, disciplined, ordered, didactic tradition education vs. relatively unstructured, free, student-directed progressive education.
Dewey criticizes traditional education for lacking in holistic understanding of students and designing curricula overly focused on content to the well being of individuals and society.
On the other hand, progressive education, he argues, is too reactionary and takes a free approach without really knowing how or why freedom can be most useful in education. Freedom for the sake of freedom is a weak philosophy of education. Dewey argues that we must move beyond this paradigm war, and to do that we need a theory of experience.
Thus, Dewey argues that educators must first understand the nature of human experience.
Dewey’s theory is that experience arises from the interaction of two principles—continuity and interaction. Continuity is that each experience a person has will influence his\her future, for better or for worse. Interaction refers to the situational influence on one’s experience. In other words, one’s past experience of a lesson, will depend on how the teacher arranges and facilitates the lesson, as well my past experience of similar lessons and teachers.
It is important to understand that, for Dewey, no experience has pre-ordained values. Thus, what may be a rewarding experience for one person could be a detrimental experience for another.
The value of the experience is to be judged by the effect that experience has on the individual’s present, their future, and the extent to which the individual is able to contribute to society.
Dewey says that once w have a theory of experience, then as educators can set about progressively organizing our subject matter in a way that it takes accounts of students past experiences, and then provides them with experiences which will help to open up, rather than shut down, a person’s access to future growth experiences, thereby expanding the person’s likely contribution to society.
Dewey examines his theory of experience in light of practical educational problems, such as the debate between how much freedom vs. discipline to use. Dewey shows that his theory of experience (continuity and interaction) can be useful guides to help solving such issues.
Throughout, there is a strong emphasis on the subjective quality of a student’s experience and the necessity for the teacher of understanding the student’s past experiences in order to effectively design a sequence of liberating educational experiences to allow the person to fulfils their potential as a member of society.
John Dewey was influenced by the theory of evolution. He affirmed that the mind as well as the body evolved. Ideas arise from experience and are nothing more than plans of action by which the organism adjusts satisfactorily to his/her environment. Thinking is the process by which man adjusts. Thinking begins as a result of the felt need of the individual. All thinking is problem centered. The product of human thought is the instrument of action. Human thinking is social in that it occurs in a social atmosphere. Social utility is the test by which truth is established.
Instrumentalism believes that truth is an instrument used by human beings to solve the problems. Since problems changes then so must truth. Since problems changes truth changes and therefore there can be no eternal reality. Dewey’s Instrumentalism affirms that cognition consists in forging ideal tools or instruments with which to cope with a given situation. Like James, Dewey maintains that the mind is an instrument for realising purposes. Ideas are teleological weapons of mind. Ideas are changeable and applicable. What is most important in a thing or idea is its value as an instrument of action and that the truth of an idea lies in its usefulness. Ideas are conceived as instruments for transforming the uneasiness arising from facing a problem into the satisfaction of solving it.
Instrumentalism refers to the use of human knowledge and intelligence in one’s interaction with the environment. Techniques can be useful when a person wants to do something but genuinely doesn’t know how to do it. Instrumentalism loves technique for the power it gives to the practitioner.
Dewey’s Philosophy of Instrumentalism
The philosophical teaching of Dewey is known as Instrumentalism. According to him, nature is a continuously flowing stream. It uses thought as an instrument or tool to pass from a given situation, full of ambiguities and disharmonies, to a new and better situation. Although this new situation contains elements implied in the former, it is richer and better because of its new meaning and greater complexity.
Dewey's "instrumentalism" affirms that cognition consists in forging ideal tools or instruments with which to cope with a given situation. Like James, Dewey maintains that the mind is an instrument for realizing purposes. Ideas are teleological weapons of mind. Ideas are plastic and adaptable. They owe their stability to the vital functions which they serve.
Dewey's instrumentalism is a theory of the process of the transformation of an inchoate, problematic situation into a coherent unified one where knowledge is the product of inquiry and the means, or instrument, by which further inquiries may be made. Dewey sought to advocate the ways in which ongoing communication among diverse persons and experiences may inform and refine each other. Knowledge, for Dewey, was the product of inquiry, built out of the raw materials of experience.
Dewey’s original philosophy, called instrumentalism, bears a relationship to the utilitarian and pragmatic schools of thought. Instrumentalism holds that the various modes and forms of human activity are instruments developed by human beings to solve multiple individual and social problems. Since the problems are constantly changing, the instruments for dealing with them must also change. Truth, evolutionary in nature, partakes of no transcendental or eternal reality and is based on experience that can be tested and shared by all who investigate. Dewey conceived of democracy as a primary ethical value, and he did much to formulate working principles for a democratic and industrial society.
In education his influence has been a leading factor in the abandonment of authoritarian methods and in the growing emphasis upon learning through experimentation and practice. In revolt against abstract learning, Dewey considered education as a tool that would enable the citizen to integrate culture and vocation effectively and usefully. Dewey actively participated in movements to forward social welfare and woman’s suffrage, protect academic freedom, and affect political reform
INSTRUMENTALISM. Dewey was influenced by the theory of evolution. He affirmed that the mind as well as the body evolved. Ideas arise from experience and are nothing more than plans of action by which the organism adjusts satisfactorily to his environment. Thinking is the process by which man adjusts. Thinking begins as a result of the felt need of the individual. All thinking is problem cantered. The product of human thought is the instrument of action. Human thinking is social in that it occurs in a social milieu. Social utility is the test by which truth is established.
Summary of Dewey's Philosophy of Instrumentalism
Dewey's philosophy was called instrumentalism (related to pragmatism).
Instrumentalism believes that truth is an instrument used by human beings to solve their problems.
Since problems change, then so must truth.
Since problems change, truth changes, and therefore there can be no eternal reality.
- 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.
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.
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.
Dewey, J. (1920). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of
education. New York: Free Press
John Dewey is one the great and famous thinker of 20th century. His book “Democracy and Education” is one of the authentic books. He was born in America on 25 October 1859. He was awarded degree of PhD at the age of 25 years. Dewy served as a professor of philosophy in many universities of America.
Taneja (2001) claimed that The term pragmatism is derived from Greek word meaning action from which the words practical and practice have come.. Pragmatists are practical people believing in finishing the book here, solving the problem now making the social contact immediately striking the business deals at once. The emphasis of pragmatism is on action rather then on thought. Thought is subordinated to action it is made an instrument to find the suitable means for action that is why pragmatism is also called instrumentalism. According to this the thinker is the manipulator not is holder he is engaged in his actions. Ideas are tools. Thought enlarges its scope and usefulness by testing itself on practical issues. Pragmatism also locates, identifies or traces values in the human experience. Pragmatism is also called experimentalism at first the man thinks in a more and more thoughtful nature as he approaches further he experience new things in his habit structure and doing the hard work which is the right way pragmatism accept everything that has practical consequences. Pragmatism believe that man is a biological and social organism the man acts only where there is a biological and social stimulation pragmatism examines the great question of what is true? and answer that anything which helps in achieving our purposes and goals of life and works best in advancing and developing our life is true pragmatists’ also lay great stress on environment pragmatism has influenced education to the maximum extent. It makes activity the basis of all teaching and prefers self activity in the context of the cooperative activity. Individual must be respected and education be planned to cater to individual capacities. In order to produce creative, resource full and adaptable minds children should have conditions in the school which are conducive to the creation of these qualities of mind children should not be asked to work according to predetermined goals. The children should determine their goals according to their needs. UN like idealist the pragmatists are not interested in lectures because they require the children not to sit still and theoretical exposition they want them to do something children interact with their teachers and with their fellow students. In pragmatism there is no place for reward and punishment as every activity is to be done in social setting where all the members are equal. The child has to become an enlighten member of the society. In conclusion it must be said that pragmatist philosophy is the practical philosophy having no fixed or absolute standards.
PROBLEM SOLVING METHOD:
According to Purkait (2006) His philosophy of education is based on change, process, relatively and reconstruction of experience.
Experience is a key word in Dewey’s philosophy of education. It may be destined as interaction of the human organization with the environment. Since living depends on the ability to solve problems therefore education is that which cultivates problem solving skills and methods.
Problem solving method is very useful in developing social qualities in the learner. Problem solving means that education like life is a practice that involves the continuous reconstruction of experience. The experience meant that human purpose and plans could only be validated by acting on them and judging them by their consequences. Most other philosophies of education emphasize bodies of substantive knowledge us subject matter discipliner. Dewey stresses the methodology or process of problem solving. Education for Dewey is the continual. Reconstruction of experience and knowledge.
Goal of Education:
1) To look after the psychological needs of the child by catering to individual difference.
2) To consider the social conditions in which the child lives.
Dewey’s conception of education:
1) life itself is education
2) Education is growth.
3) Education is the process of the reconstruction of experience.
4) Education is a means to transmit and transform culture.
Steps in the problem solving method:
1) The students must sense a difficulty.
2) Students explore and define it.
3) Once the situation is thoroughly problem surveyed and analyzed, suggestions will arise of how to solve the problem.
4) The student must reason out the implications of these suggestions.
5) He puts he suggestions that most likely to solve the problem.
According to Khalid (1990) Problem solving construction is the concept of experience, or the idea that the totality of events and activities that students carry out under the school direction as part of the planned learning process will produce certain desirable traits or behaviors. The problem method as Dewey presented it seems to have a very logical order of development. But when he gives his views about interest he is talking of psychology also. In Dewey thinking the logical and psychological are not opposed but mutually dependent. Dewey’s concept of activity and social process brought a change in the old practice of classroom discipline. In the school he had in mind he expected that there would be more noise and disorder than in the conventional one. He believed that when the children would be busy in finding ways and means to solve a common problem there would be much more noise as compared to the class where children sit silently listening to the teacher. He was against the traditional concept of discipline. He said that the behavior and conduct of the student should not be regulated by artificial means. Instead the teacher should provide them with the right kind of environment so that the activities of the students may go in a co-operative manner. He added that the purpose of discipline should be to develop social attitudes, social interests and social habits. Moreover, this method introduced children to the methods of experimental problem-solving in which mistakes were an important part of learning. Providing children with ‘first-hand experience, ‘the problematic situations largely of their own making, was the key to Dewey’s pedagogy. He believed that ‘until the emphasis changes to the conditions which make it necessary for the child to take an active share in the personal building up of his own problems and to participate in methods of solving them (even at the expense of experimentation and error) the mind is not really freed’. Dewey gave a new concept of education too. To him education is a necessity of life and a lifelong process and education is not for the future life but it is life itself.
CHILD AND CURRICULUM BY JOHN DEWEY:
Singh (2007) claimed that the child and the curriculum are simply two limits which define a single process. Just as two points define a straight line, so the present standpoint of the child and the facts and truths of studies define instruction. It is continuous reconstruction, moving from the child's present experience out into that represented by the organized bodies of truth that we call studies.
The old education was largely fixed in subject matter, authoritarian in methods, and mainly passive and receptive from the side of the young. The imagination of educators did not go beyond provision of a fixed and rigid environment of subject matter, one drawn moreover from sources altogether too remote from the experience of the pupil.
On the positive side Dewey was convinced that the ordinary contacts of day to day community life, be they social, economic, cultural or political, provided real and significant learning situations. For Dewey politics was not just a matter of national importance removed from the concern of the ordinary citizen but a matter of vital and immediate interest to the community. He believed that the school should prepare the child for active participation in the life of the community: he believed that education must break down, rather than reinforce, the gap between the experience of schooling and the needs of a truly participatory democracy. The school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.
Dewey's curriculum in the school was not intended to implement a structured pedagogical plan. It was intended as a curriculum in two senses: firstly it was intended to facilitate research and experimentation into new principles and methods and secondly, it was designed to allow the children to take an experimental approach to their own learning.
The curriculum of the school was to be the testing ground for Dewey's philosophical ideas and their implementation: education is the laboratory in which philosophical distinctions become concrete and are tested. If we are willing to conceive of education as the process of forming fundamental dispositions, intellectual and emotional, toward nature and fellow men, philosophy may even be defined as the general theory of education.
According to Khalid (1990) the furniture of the traditional school tells the story of traditional education; it is a story of Submission, immobility, passivity and dependency. In the old system it was the function of teachers to motivate the child - against his/her immediate interests - to learn the established subjects. He said that I know of no more demoralizing doctrine than the assertion that after subject matter has been selected, and then the teacher should make it interesting.
The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but ids there as a member of the community to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist him in properly responding to these influence.
The old, subject centered system subdivides each topic into studies; each study into lessons; each lesson into specific facts and formulae, emphasis is put on the upon the logical subdivisions and consecutions of the subject matter, subject matter furnishes the end and it determines method. The child is simply the immature being who is to be matured; he is the superficial being who is to be deepened; his is narrow experience which is to be widened. It is his to receive, to accept. His part is fulfilled when he is ductile and docile. By contrast to the traditional approach Dewey put the pupil at the centre of education as a willful, purposive and active agent in the learning process.
The child is the starting point, the centre, and the end. His development, his growth, is the ideal. ... To the growth of the child all studies are subservient; they are instruments valued as they serve the needs of growth. Personality, character, is more than subject matter. Not knowledge or information, but self-realization, is the goal. To posses all the world of knowledge and lose one's own self is as awful a fate in education as in religion.
The curriculum of the school operated on three simple principles which informed Dewey's educational philosophy.
The first principle was that the business of the school is to train children in co-operative and mutually helpful living - to help them to grow into community: the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child's powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself.
The second principle was that the foundation of all educative activity must be in the instinctive, impulsive activities of the child, and not in the presentation and application of structured, external material.
If we eliminate the social factor from the child we are left only with an abstraction; if we eliminate the individual factor from society, we are left only with an inert mass. Finally the laboratory school promoted the child's individual tendencies and activities. These were to be organized and directed to promote the idea of co-operative living
The child's relation to the curriculum is not the subordination of the child to the existing established knowledge, nor is it the abandonment of established existing knowledge for an anarchic child centered approach.
The young child is not conscious of subject barriers; he views knowledge as a key to life and his questions concerning the world around him range over the whole field of knowledge. The curriculum should reflect this attitude of the child and be seen more as an integral whole rather than as a logical structure containing conveniently differentiated parts. But later the child must come to learn the ways in which human knowledge has been structured into subjects or disciplines. But this is not the starting point. It is a development on the journey.