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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL John Dewey Kathy’s story is a good example of what Dewey meant by teachers using their greater knowledge to help the children make sense of their world. Children in her classroom have ample opportunity for unfettered creative expression, but in the study she described, children were using art as a tool for scientific his, according to Dewey, investigation. By helping the chil- is how teachers should dren look closely at the birds they use their knowledge of the were studying and giving them the world to expand children’s tools to make accurate representa- knowledge. tions of them, these teachers built on the children’s knowledge. They helped them learn more about the birds. They also gave them skills they could use for future investigations. This, according to Dewey, is how teachers should use their knowledge of the world to expand children’s knowledge. T Education versus Mis-education Dewey avoided the either/or discussions so common to edu- cational philosophy. He believed that the real issue is not a matter of new versus old approaches to education but rather what conditions make any experience worthy of being called “educational.” Dewey insisted that education and experience are related but not equal, and that some experiences are not educational at all. He called these mis-educative experiences. Dewey believed that an activity is not a learning activity if it lacks purpose and organization. He criticized the more tra- ditional formal teaching environments of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in which children learned informa- tion by rote and spent days reciting facts out of context. He also criticized situations in which teachers set up the learning environment and then turn children loose to explore with- out offering any guidance or suggestions, or randomly set up 25 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL