Dramatic Changes in the Political Economy 20th Century
SOCIAL CONDITIONS 1900 (Tozer, Chapter 5)
Pressures of 1893 Depression, the rise of modern
industrial society, urbanization and immigration.
Social problems:
Immigration
Industrialization Low Wages
Labor Unrest (Strikes, Riots)
Poverty in Cities Child Labor
Discrimination
Critique of Traditional Common School in 1900
NOT MEETING THE NEEDS OF SOCIETY
What did critics say about traditional schooling?
(Tozer, Chapter 5, 151)
1. Failure of the traditional classical curriculum in old high
school model (math, English, Greek, Latin, history) to
motivate students.
2. High dropout rates in both elementary and secondary
schools.
3. Growing problems of juvenile delinquency.
4. Waste and inefficiency in school management by local
schools.
5. Irrelevance of the traditional curriculum to the “real”
needs of modern industrial society.
Aims of a perfect society for Social Efficiency and
Developmental Democracy Progressive were very
different. But Progressives did agree on need to reform
traditional common schools:
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Schools need to change curriculum based on “needs and
interests” of students
They were responding to new social, economic and political conditions,
changing ideology (NEW PSYCHOLOGY), and the “failure” of traditional
schools.
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Learn through activities
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Reflect current social conditions
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Help solve social problems. (Tozer, p. 151)
Philosopher John Dewey
One of the main leaders
Disagreed with Social Efficiency about:
Developmental Democracy Progressives disagreed with social
efficiency progressives’ views about school reform.
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Dewey did not support:
 Differentiated curriculum (Dewey supported a unified
curriculum)
 Vocational training in schools (Dewey supported manual
training, occupations of life, but not training for specific jobs)
 Limited view of human capacity (Dewey believed in the
tremendous potential of human rationality if proper education
provided)
Today, we want to answer
three questions about
Dewey’s theory of learning.
1. What is Dewey’s theory of learning?
2. How much influence did Dewey have on public
education from 1900 to 1950?
3. Most importantly, are there elements of Dewey’s
theory of learning that can be relevant to the aims of
schooling today?
Grounded in a developmental democracy model.
Is Dewey relevant today?
Two theories that he combines…
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PSYCHOLOGY Dewey’s theory of learning is
similar to learning theories studied today.
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Active learning
Learning to learn
Inquiry based learning
SOCIAL THEORY Dewey’s view that democracy
should be infused in all aspects of life aligns with
today’s concerns about teaching to improve our
democratic society.
DEWEY’S DEVELOPMENTAL DEMOCRACY
Aim to improve democracy
Tozer, 151-153
DEVELOPMENTAL DEMOCRACY
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Democracy in all aspects of life, not just in politics, but in every part of life.
“For education to be most successful, it is necessary that people participate
in democratic forms of life.”

Institutions need to contribute to the all round growth of every member of
society.
DEVELOPMENTAL DEMOCRACY APPLIED TO SCHOOLS AS KEY
SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Schools are laboratories for democracy

Schools need to develop programs and teaching approaches based on the
special nature of child
Dewey’s Philosophy of Learning. Emphasized experience,
non-authoritarian teaching approaches, active learning,
the learning environment, and connecting to life.

Dewey’s PSYCHOLOGY

Tap the child’s nature (curious, social,
expressive, and constructive)

Growth is a product of the transaction
between child and the environment
(teacher is crucial).

A free person could frame and execute
purposes of his or her own. (Tozer)
Progressive meant for Dewey, activities grow progressively out of
student interests and past experiences, where new experiences build
upon the each other. (Tozer) Last Week’s Handout

Schools need to develop programs and teaching approaches
based on the special nature of child
 GROWTH (developmental) Bring each person to an ever
widening set of experiences in a positive direction, changes
that open up more experiences.
 OPTIMISM Faith in the possibilities of democratic society,
faith in ordinary people.
 EXPERIENCE Link thinking and doing, thought and
feeling, reason and imagination.
 COOPERATION Cooperative use of intelligence
 Education individuals for a changing future.
What does Dewey
mean by growth?
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Education is a process of development, an
educated person has the power to go on and get
more education, to grow.
Grow like a seed? [Not exactly.] Not as
deterministically, as say a tree. Humans have
great potential to grow in many directions. The
environment for growth matters. Traditional
schools fail to recognize the diversity of capacities,
the need for the initiate in growth must come from
the needs and powers of the pupil (not a blank
slate).
Toward “more effective techniques, greater selfreliance, a more thoughtful and inquiring
disposition more capable of persistent effort in
meeting obstacles.”
Overview of
Dewey’s view
of knowledge
An educated
5. GROWTH
person has the
power to gain
more education
1.EXPERIENCE (past/present) 4. REFLECTION
2. PROBLEM?
3. INQUIRY
Use scientific
methods
“My Pedagogic Creed”
John Dewey 1897
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WOW! JConnell Dewey said “I believe that when
society once recognizes the possibilities in this
direction, and the obligations which these
possibilities impose, it is impossible to conceive of
the resources of time, attention, and money which
will be put at the disposal of the educator.”
OPTIMISTIC, Dewey SAYS just wait 20 years!! To
see the changes IF a new kind of education is
provided (MPCreed, Dewey)
Core of Dewey’s learning theory.
Experience makes learning meaningful, integrates
learning into student’s habits of life.
Seeks intelligent, reflective, critical thinking.
Knowledge gained through experience is best
understood, more useful, and retained longer.
Dewey’s Philosophy
Role of Teacher
Teachers must encourage
students to find genuine
problems which excite their
interest, problems which
can be explored and solved
by engagement with the
curriculum. Interest and
effort leads to the studentcurriculum integration that
Dewey desires.
Illinois Math and Science Academy
Message From the Principal
Dr. Eric McLaren http://www.imsa.edu/learning/principal.php
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An education at IMSA offers far more than conventional
honors courses. We foster a collaborative learning
environment that develops students as bold inquirers,
problem solvers and ethical leaders.
Our talented faculty members, who are among the nation's
best, guide students to engage in exploration, think
critically and creatively, and apply their cross-discipline
knowledge to address significant, real-world issues.
The Academy's curriculum includes the major disciplines
of mathematics, science, English, history and social
sciences, world languages, fine arts and wellness.
http://www.imsa.edu/learning/inquiry/ConductingSIR/index.php
Student Initiated Research SIR IMSA
Captures Dewey’s Interest/Curriculum Integration
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The student investigation is conducted as an interactive
partnership with an advisor to pursue a question or topic
about which the student is keenly interested.

While pursuing this investigation, using inquiry standards and
with the support of the advisor, the student acquires further
knowledge and a deeper understanding of the topic, and
further develops skills in planning, investigating, analyzing,
and communicating results of the investigation.
.
How did John Dewey view occupations as themes
to structure school activities?
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“I believe the only way to make a child conscious
of his social heritage is to enable him to perform
those fundamental types of activities which make
civilization what it is.”
The child’s introduction into the more formal
subjects of the curriculum should be through the
medium of these activities—sewing, gardening,
cooking, carpentry.”
Dewey believes that learning and interest arise
from the transaction between the child’s instincts
and experiences and the environment (teachers
helped to create this environment).
DEWEY as SOCIAL REFORMER
For a Stronger Democracy
More Participatory Democracy
Dewey My Pedogogic Creed
Schools to improve society
Democracy:
 Needs to have interests that connect people
“interests that are mutually interpenetrating”-- social
 Repudiates external authority Freedom
 Cultivate voluntary dispositions and interests through
education.
Autonomy and self-discipline
 Touches all aspects of life Way of life
 Community must care, communicate, and negotiate
Wants students to develop overlapping interests, have wide
associations with many groups, “enter into proper relations
with others in unity of work and thought” (MPC)
What are some weaknesses in
Dewey’s philosophy of education?
Does not articulate clearly or anticipate:

How OCCUPATIONS will be misused as
“vocational education”.

How broader educational aims get lost and activity
becomes an end in itself. (projects for what end?)

How to make study of subject matter interdisciplinary, so
much more demanding and challenging to organize.

How to create a highly trained teacher

How to challenge the powerful social efficiency movement.
Dewey cautions: “Reading is a harmful substitute for
experience, it is all important in interpreting and
expanding experience.”
(Dewey, School and Society, 85).
Explain what Dewey means.
Urban Academy Magnate School
Admission Process
Mixed study body
“Second Chance School”
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Mission “All students receive a strong academic foundation for
life.”
 Philosophy of John Dewey, Progressive Education
 Schools as democratic communities
 Less hierarchical, students and faculty share office space
Teachers view teaching as social activism
Teach for diversity, in a humane way
Values what students bring, but lack skills
Rejects drills and discipline approaches
Pedagogy (Methodology) Inquiry based learning
All students perform community service, relevance
Urban Academy, New York City
Central Park East Secondary, New York City
Second chance school—students failing in other
schools—must sign a contract and be accepted.
See quick time
video of this
school on our
homepage.
Who attends Urban
Academy?”* 35:30
120 students
 39% African American,
 28% Hispanic,
 30% White, 3% Asian,
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60% eligible for free or reduced lunch,
SAT above national average of 1071 composite,
96% of graduates attend 4 year colleges
Modern Version of Dewey’s Theory
Inquiry Cycle - Professor Chip Bruce, Graduate School of Library and
Information Science, UIUC
Based on Dewey’s Philosophy
Cycle is for both
students and teachers.
Dewey--Knowledge should be useful and students
should possess skills to deal with CHANGE.
Students need the ability to think critically about
change and be able to adapt to the future.
“Education and Social Change”
Dewey, 1937 The Social Frontier
Located at the end of Tozer, Chapter 5

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Schools have a role in the production of social change, but can’t
be the main agency of change.
Right now in the 1930s, social confusion and conflict
 Preserve old social order
 Perpetuate current confusion

Or use newer science, technology and cultural forces as allies to
change schools to serve the new needs

Produce insights, understanding, attitudes and habit of action
in individuals
“Education and Social Change”
Dewey, 1937 The Social Frontier
Located at the end of Tozer, Chapter 5
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Schools are not neutral sites, producing effects now.
Aim is not to overthrow current social order, but to reform it.
Not talking about endorsing one political party or to involve students
in the political or economic arena.
Must recognize powerful forces outside of schools which shape mind
and character.
Difference between indoctrination (one point of view, impose
economic and political views) and education
 Democratic education means the active participation of students in
reaching conclusions and forming attributes.
“Education and Social Change”
Dewey, 1937 The Social Frontier

Democracy is the frame of reference for social change (but must find
out what it means)
 We can oppose the undemocratic aspects of our current institutions.

Not sure what social democracy entails or will bring in terms of
changes. Finding out what it means when applied in economic,
domestic, international, religious, cultural, and political arenas.

Schools need to provide equal opportunity for all (teachers are
needed who are committed to this goal for their students).

Democracy involves personal voluntary participation in reaching
decisions and executing them (right now, poor embodiment of
democracy)
What is important about school reform during
the Progressive Era (1890-1940s)? Dewey stresses
“The Need for a Philosophy of Education” 1934

Schools should not be “static in subject matter,
authoritarian in methods, and mainly passive.”

Traditional schools fail to take into account
diversity of capacity and needs, initiative in
growth comes from the needs and powers of the
pupils.

Education is about possibilities not limits.

Schools should not just use activities, but select
activities that connect to democratic life.
Quotes from Dewey
“What a child gets out of any subject presented to him is
simply the images which he himself forms with regard to it”
“Interests are the signs and symptoms of growing power”
The aim of education is the development of individuals to the
utmost of their potentialities. “A society of free
individuals in which all, doing each his own work,
contribute to the liberation and enrichment of the lives of
others is the only environment for the normal growth to
full stature.” (NPE)
Quotes
“only true education comes through the stimulation of the
child’s powers by the demands of the social situation”
“the child’s own instincts and powers furnish the material and
give the starting point for all education”
“The educational center of gravity has been too long in the
teacher, the textbook, anywhere and everywhere you please
except in the immediate instincts and activities of the child
himself.”
John Dewey
Dewey’s View of
Knowledge
Less attention to the end products than to
the HABITS of intelligence or
reflective thinking (Dewey, Democracy
and Education, 1916, 163)
Such things as knowledge, beliefs, and
ideas cannot be passed physically from
one to another like bricks; they cannot
be shared as persons would share a pie
by dividing it into physical pieces
(Dewey, Democracy and Education,
1916, 4)
Aims are critical.
Aims:
Inquiry (skills),
Heritage,
Democratic
community in
school
Dewey’s School
Plan 1900
1st Floor
Experience and Learning
2nd Floor
Build on experience
of familiar activities
Tap Nature of Child:
Social, Constructive
Expressive, Curious
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