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John Dewey

His Teachings
As an educator John Dewey revolutionized educational techniques and beliefs. His teachings emphasize learning through doing and experiencing. Also, his explorations of the roles of thinking and reflection have shaped the face of education in the twentieth century. During his time many philosophers criticized his works for being too radical, and often claimed his attempts to clarify issues merely complicated them all the more. Dewey's theory of knowledge radically differed from the views of his contemporaries who saw knowledge as a product of thought. Dewey felt, however, that thought stemmed from humans' interactions with their environments, much as Charles Darwin believed organisms evolved as a result of their surroundings. And as thought stems from environmental interactions, it is knowledge that guides the interaction according to Dewey. He also wrote extensive studies on the the process of inquiry and reflection. He outlined the steps organisms take from experiencing a "problematic situation," to reflection of possible solutions, and finally implementing a solution. This reflective process is essentially how organisms learn: through reflection and experience. Some of Dewey's inspirational quotes:
  • "Education is not a preparation for life. Education is life itself."
  • "Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination."
  • "Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes."
A brilliant educator and philosopher, John Dewey was born in the fall of 1859 in the Vermont town of Burlington. Later recognized as "The Father of Modern Education" he attended school in Vermont and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879. After teaching high school in Pennsylvania and graduating from John Hopkins University graduate philosophy department he went on to teach at the University of Chicago. Finally, he moved to New York to teach at Columbia University where he spent the remainder of his professional life. John Dewey died at the age of 92 on June 1, 1952
Sources: The Center for Dewey Studies
John Dewey (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
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