learning, and education should address what the
person needs to know at the time, not prepare them for
the future. Dewey thought that curriculum should grow
out of real home, work, and other life situations.
“The school life should grow gradually out of the
home life. . . . It is the business of the school to
deepen and extend his [the child’s] sense of the
values bound up in his home life” (9). Dewey thought
teachers must be sensitive to the values and needs of
families. The values and cultures of families and com-
munities should be reflected in and deepened by what
happens at school.
“I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged, not
simply in the training of individuals, but in the for-
mation of the proper social life” (17). Dewey believed
that teachers do not only teach subject matter but also
teach how to live in society. In addition, he thought
that teachers do not only teach individual children but
also shape the society.
It is the last piece of Dewey’s pedagogic creed that is
the springboard for some of his most provocative ideas. He
believed that teachers need to have confidence in their skills
and abilities. He believed teachers need to trust their knowl-
edge and experience and, using both, provide appropriate
activities to nurture inquiry and dispositions for learning in
the children they work with.
The Teacher’s Role
In Experience and Education (1938), Dewey writes that teach-
ers should have more confidence when planning children’s
learning experiences. He writes that teachers are too afraid
that instruction will infringe upon the freedom and creativity
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