Startseite
Aktuell
John Deweys Pädagogik
   Dewey als Pädagoge / Buch
   Dewey as Educator / book
   Dewey, Kilpatrick & Co./Buch
   Deweys Reformimpuls
   Deweys pädagog. Credo
   Deweys Laborschule I
   Deweys Laborschule II
      Laboratory School
      Theory vs. Practice
   Dewey Unterrichtstheorie
   Scheitern der Laborschule
     Dewey as Administrator
   Mayhew/Edwards Dewey-School
   Prinz Heinrich in Chicago
   Dewey + progressive Erziehung
   Dewey + Demokratie
      Education for Democracy
   Dewey + Projektpädagogik
   Dewey + Montessori
   Dewey + Kerschensteiner
   Dewey + Vocational Education
   Dewey + social efficiency
   Dewey in Dtl.- Bibliographie
Projektunterricht
   Aus Projekten lernen / Buch
   Handbuchartikel
      Project Method
   Origin of Project Method
   Rezeption der Projektidee
   Kilpatricks Projektmethode
     Kilpatrick's Project Method
   Collings' "Typhusprojekt"
     Faking a Dissertation
   Chronologie USA
   Dokumentation USA
Kurt Hahns Pädagogik
   Lebensdaten
   Reform mit Augenmaß/Buch
   Frau Elses Verheißung /Roman
   Hahns "Erlebnistherapie"
      Experiential Education
      Thérapie des expériences
      Un internat Allemand
      Thérapie par l'expèrience
   Die vier Elemente
   Hahn-Bibliographie
Progressive Education
   New Education
   Learning by doing
   Herbart in Amerika
Kerschensteiners Pädagogik
  Kerschensteiner-Bibliographie
Odenwaldschule
Gedanken über Erziehung
Interkulturelle Erziehung
Wozu ist die Schule da? /Buch
Schloß-Schule Kirchberg /Buch
Jugendlicher Minimalismus
          - - -
Curriculum Vitae
   Veröffentlichungen
   Publications in English
   Publications en français
Sale-Verkauf
Impressum


Critical Studies on John Dewey as Educator. New York: Lang (forthcoming).

Preface

1. Deschooling the School: John Dewey’s Theory of Curriculum and Instruction 

2. The Child and the Community: John Dewey’s Education for Democracy Reconsidered 

3. From Kidd to Dewey: The Origin and Meaning of “Social Efficiency”

4. “Two Roads to Culture:” The Dewey–Kerschensteiner Controversy about General and Vocational Education

5. John Dewey as Administrator: The Inglorious End of the Laboratory School in Chicago

6. Alice Dewey’s Legacy: How Mayhew and Edwards’ Classic “The Dewey School” Originated

7. Theory versus Practice: John Dewey's Laboratory School on the Test Bench


Preface
John Dewey, the philosopher, pedagogue and founder of the famous Laboratory School in Chicago, is an icon of progressive education. Apart from works on ethics, logic and political theory, he has written a vast number of books and articles on school, democracy and education that are worldwide considered as classics. His texts, sometimes hard to understand and comprehend, have been rendered into all major languages. In this context, Erich Hylla (1930) passed on an exchange with Nicholas M. Butler, the president of Columbia University. “You did translate Dewey’s Democracy and Education into German?” Butler asked the senior official of the Prussian Ministry of Education in the late 1920s. “Great! – Wouldn’t you like to try translating it into English as well?” (p. 398) This bon mot is not without substance. It points to impediments that other recipients such as William James, Oliver W. Holmes and Lewis Mumford experienced, too. Indeed, Dewey’s sometimes loose and ambiguous use of language has caused problems and often led readers to casual interpretations and fallacious conclusions. Therefore, it seems appropriate to reconsider the case and raise once again questions that are crucial in regard to Dewey’s philosophy of education, his conception of instruction, learning and growth.

Basically, Dewey adhered to the ideas and insights that had been developed in the English-speaking world since 1860 under the name of “new education.” Using slogans like “back to nature,” “complete living” and “learning by doing,” Herbert Spencer, Charles W. Eliot, Francis W. Parker and G. Stanley Hall had advanced the educational principles of Comenius, Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Froebel; and to a remarkable extent, they even succeeded to get implemented their diverse schemes and projects in kindergartens, schools and colleges. By assimilating also features of the new and vigorous Herbartian movement, Dewey fell into line and encouraged important innovative impulses which still persist and wield pervasive influence in the US and abroad till this day. In fact, Dewey became a principal promoter and pioneer of the following concepts and methods:

Education for democracy: Like today’s communitarians, Dewey advocated a way of democratic life in which individualism and community spirit balanced each other and in which the free development of personality was just as important as the civic commitment towards society. Social conduct, individual interests and scientific thinking should equally be exercised at school. Contrary to some of his followers, Dewey never held the view that society should be transformed through school-based action, that the dominance of the teacher should be minimized by abolishing his monopoly of power and that the self-determination of students should be maximized by democratizing all decision-making processes at school and in class.

Problem-based learning: Dewey considered problem solving a fundamental element of learning. Not the problems of teachers or curriculum committees, but the problems related to the students’ real lives and interests should be at the center of schooling and education. The prevailing view that Dewey is the spiritual father of the project method propagated by William H. Kilpatrick is based on a misconception. Dewey appreciated learning by projects, but he considered it as a specific procedure for solving practical problems, not as a general method of teaching as Kilpatrick did.

Facilitator concept: Dewey redefined the teacher’s role. Ideally, Dewey understood the teacher as an arranger of problem situations who remained as far as possible in the background and facilitated the learning process through advice, suggestion and support. But Dewey made clear that the teacher was still the leader who determined the course of instruction, although she was not allowed to implement prefixed curricula and lesson plans against the resistance of her students. The idea that the teacher should be moderator, companion and friend – because only through her restraint could the students’ right to self-determination and self-development be guaranteed – does not correspond to Dewey’s educational beliefs.

Bargaining concept: Dewey cared about a relaxed school climate and stress-free learning environment. Specifically, he pled for a social-integrative style of education when he called on the teacher to convince her students of the sense and purpose of the upcoming lesson, to accept reasonable suggestions for improvement and enhancement of the learning process and to find strategies and compromises in curricular and group conflicts in order to finally gain the hearty participation of her students. Ultimately, Dewey advocated a procedure that – originally conceived for business management and corporate negotiations – aimed at consensus and cooperation and tried to overcome the old command pedagogy as well as the modern permissive education.

Constructivist pedagogy: in a language taken from modern social psychology, Dewey formulated the postulates that are the theoretical foundation of the “new culture of learning”: (1) children are active creators of themselves and have their own ideas of the world around them according to their individually different preconditions; (2) knowledge cannot be imparted from outside through instruction, but must be constructed in interaction with the physical and social environment; (3) learning is most effective when children control their own learning, when they develop knowledge and skills by doing and when they gain experiences in attractive, authentic situations that connect with their actual life and open up new possibilities. Unlike radical constructivists, however, Dewey did not conclude that the children should organize their education without the guidance and leadership of parents or teachers.

Action research: Dewey was skeptical about quantitative research. In his opinion, empirical studies carried out under controlled conditions made sense, but they were abstract and useless undertakings as long as they were not interpreted and evaluated by taking into account all influencing variables. For research in schools, he recommended using mainly qualitative methods such as observation, description and comparison. Predestined for this task was the scientifically trained teacher who knows about the complexity of the endeavor, who reflects on her experiences, consults the professional literature and evaluates and – if necessary – redesigns his programs and courses.

The present book is a collection of seven essays that touch upon these and others of Dewey’s most cherished and, at times, most contested educational concepts. The focus of attention will be on the school, the child and the curriculum, on democracy, civic education and vocational training, on Dewey’s policy of history, research and administration. By reconstructing the theory and practice of schooling Dewey advocated, I discuss issues and problems that he allegedly mastered but, for my part, did not satisfactorily solve. Actually,
I venture to re-read Dewey’s writings and re-interpret them with a fresh view and an open mind, thus joining the ranks of those who strive to historicize Dewey’s pedagogy and educational theory. Except for one, the essays have already been published, mostly in German. But substantial revisions have been made to bring the articles up to date and attune them to the expectations of an international readership. Inevitably, there will be some repetition of themes and details. I have refrained from editing these out as I would like the essays to stand alone. I ask the reader to bear with me in this regard.