12 June 2009

Education Philosophies: John Dewey

As I've been thinking about my summer "homework assignment," developing my personal philosophy of homeschooling, I thought I would glean ideas from others. I didn't find much in the way of homechool philosophies (anyone know of any?), but I did come across this list of educational philosophies.

I started by looking at John Dewey's "Pedagogic Creed." It's definitely not the lightest of reading, but I thought it had an interesting persective on schools and socialization.
"I believe that as such simplified social life, the school life should grow
gradually out of the home life; that it should take up and continue the
activities with which the child is already familiar in the home."

I know that this was written over a hundred years ago, but this does not sound like the schools that we know today.

"I believe that it is also a social necessity because the home is the form of
social life in which the child has been nurtured and in connection with which he
has had his moral training. It is the business of the school to deepen and
extend his sense of the values bound up in his home life."

I don't think today's schools would claim or even want the responsibility of deepening a student's values. I daresay there is little, if any, teaching of morals or values in today's schools. After all, they can't be quantified on a standardized test!

"I believe that much of present education fails because it neglects this
fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives
the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain
lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed."

It is interesting that John Dewey, one of the most influential education reformers in our nation, claimed our education system was failing because it neglected to teach children socialization, but rather focused on teaching facts. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn't it? Things haven't really changed that much in a hundred years.

I think that responding with a John Dewey quote would be very effective means for squelching the socialization question next time it arises, don't you?

Read John Dewey's philosophy for yourself here.

Any other thoughts or insights?

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