How did John Dewey influence modern education?

John Dewey made significant contributions to virtually every field of philosophy as well as to other areas of inquiry as education and psychology. Active for 70 years as a scholar, he was a prolific writer publishing approximately fifty books and more than eight hundred articles.

Many of Dewey’s ideas have had a great impact on modern education. Some important facts in this connection are:

1. Aims of Education

Nowadays, one of the important aims of education is the teaching of democratic values. Dewey insisted on developing social qualities in the child. In modern schools these aims of education have been accepted as valid.

2. Educational Methods

The greatest impact of Dewey’s ideas is seen in the methods of education in more recent times. Dewey suggested that education should be based on the child’s own experience, and also that the method of teaching should vary according to the interests and inclinations of each individual child. These ideas influenced modern teaching techniques and led to active teaching in schools. One such school is the Activity School. The project method is also a result of Dewey’s ideas. Even in the other schools, attention is paid to the principles of child psychology, which guide the educator in creating an atmosphere suitable for developing social consciousness in the educated.

3. Curriculum

The impact of Dewey’s ideas on the subject of curriculum led to the introduction of manual skill subjects into modern curricula. Special importance is now being attached to various kinds of games, objects, the use of certain tools and implements, etc. In selecting the subject to be taught, attention is now paid to the individual interests and abilities of the child.

4. Discipline

As a result of Dewey’s theorizing on the subject of discipline, now the students is entrusted with much of the work done in the school. In this manner the students are trained are self-control and democratic citizenship. Apart this, once the student have to face responsibility, he is compelled to think scientifically and reason out things for himself.

5. Universal Education

Dewey’s thinking and ideal also lead to faith in universal and compulsory education. Education aims at the development of personality. Hence every individual must be given the opportunity to develop his personality through education. The current stress on the scientific and social tendency owes much to Dewey’s influence. He pointed but that education was a social necessity, in that it was not merely a preparation for life, itself. It aimed at the development of both the individual as well as society. This leads to the comprehensive development of the individual.

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