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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Chapter 1 of their students. Dewey thought that children need assistance from teachers in making sense of their world. What should this assistance look like? Dewey thought it was important for teachers to observe children and to deter- mine from these observations what kinds of experiences the children are interested in and ready for. He thought that the educator has a serious responsibility to invest in planning and organizing ewey thought it was for children’s learning activities. In important for teachers other words, he believed that it is the to observe children and teacher’s job to determine the cur- to determine from these riculum based on knowledge of the observations what kinds children and the children’s abilities. of experiences the children He felt that suggestions and guidance coming from thoughtful teachers, are interested in and ready who after all have more life experi- for. ence and more general knowledge than children, could be more useful to children than the ideas they arrive at by accident. When progressive education was criticized for allowing children too much freedom without appropriate guidance, Dewey agreed. “It is a ground for legitimate criticism, how- ever, when the ongoing movement of progressive education fails to recognize that the problem of selection and organiza- tion of subject matter for study and learning is fundamental,” he responded (Dewey 1938, 78). Dewey was saying that chil- dren need teachers to decide what is safe and also develop- mentally and individually appropriate for them. Dewey was concerned that many teachers of his time were claiming to be part of progressive education merely because they departed from more traditional approaches. He recog- nized the danger in moving away from one direction without clearly understanding the new direction one wanted to follow. He also thought this was a very common pattern among D 18 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL