John Dewey and Education

An analysis of John Dewey’s influence on curriculum reforms.

This paper provides a scholarly overview of John Dewey?s educational philosophy and standard agenda model, followed by a summary of the research in the conclusion.
From the earliest years of the nation’s history, John Dewey and others have conceived education to be the greatest of all the active agents of a democratic people. All major educational philosophies continue, although from disparate points of view, to uphold this conception (Bramfeld 1955:387). As a result, the American curriculum today can be viewed as having remained substantially the same in form within while undergoing enormous pressures to change from without. From such experimental programs as the Dalton Plan, the Winnetka Plan, and the Gary Plan, and from the pioneering work of Francis W. Parker and notably John Dewey, which ushered in the progressive education of the 1920s and ’30s, American schools, curricula, and teacher training have changed in favor of more flexible and cooperative methods (Devitas & Sola 1989). These new approaches have been pursued within a school seen as an overall learning community. The attempt to place the nature and experience of the child and the present life of the society at the center of school activity has been a primary focus of this approach. Most curriculum reforms have attempted to accentuate academic basics, particularly mathematics, science, and language, as well as the new basics, including computers (Marsh & Willis 1999).