Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Epistemology of John Dewey - The Father of Progressive Education

What is the epistemological basis for our current education system? What are the driving concepts that form the pedagogy in vogue today?

A couple terms need to be defined: epistemology is the theory of human knowledge; while pedagogy is the art or science of education.

A passage that details the history of education knowledge and science:

"I have never seen anywhere in the world such a large proportion of intelligent, happy, and intelligently occupied children." Impressions of Soviet Russia, John Dewey

John Dewey's Impressions of Soviet Russia is a quick primer on the ideas that formed the genesis of the Progressive Education Movement. Dewey, who thought that Soviet Russia was a vision of a utopian future, is considered the father of the movement. In addition, fifty years after his death, Dewey is still idolized at education schools such as Columbia University's Teachers College, where he taught future educators and future educators of future educators.

Progressive education is alive and well as noted by the glowing references to Dewey throughout current education literature, including multiple awards given in his name. It's the ideas of Dewey that form the current educational belief system; ideas formed out of the collectivist movement that runs from Bismarck's Prussia through Lenin's and Stalin's Soviet Russia and onward.

Note Dewey's praise above for the "intelligently occupied children" of Soviet Russia.

It's the ideas of Dewey that are driving the so-called education reforms coming out of universities and being implemented in your local schools.

Jim Fedako

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