John Dewey

John Dewey is recognized for creating the “pragmatism” school of thought, and his theories on knowledge and training have had a lasting impact on society at large. In contrast to passive consumers of preexisting information, he believed that education should cultivate thinking, critically reflective, and socially involved people. He disapproved of the curriculum-driven, memorization technique that was the prevalent teaching strategy at the time.

Significantly, he also opposed child-centered strategies that blindly catered to kids’ irrational urges and preferences. Although Dewey coined the phrase “progressive education,” it has subsequently been misapplied to refer, in certain situations, to a hands-off strategy for children’s learning, which was not what Dewey advocated. Dewey thought that while conventional subject matter was essential, it should be combined with the learner’s talents and abilities.

The reflex arc model ignored the importance of sentiment or experience in education and saw learning as a mechanical process that could be measured by standardized exams. Dewey criticized educational techniques that believe that the important problems and concepts have already been resolved and merely need to be communicated to pupils. He thought that all ideas and interpretations could be improved upon and built upon, and that all professions might benefit from the addition of fresh information, ideas, and interpretations.


As the primary activity of such an educational method, he devised the idea of inquiry, which is motivated by a need and is accompanied by intellectual effort like outlining issues, testing ideas, and coming up with workable answers. This natural progression of skepticism, research, contemplation, and the restoration of sense or comprehension stood in contrast to the “reflex arc” concept.


According to Dewey, “people acquire new knowledge as a consequence of their encounters with and relationships with the outside environment.” Individuals are constantly developing new beliefs, notions, practices, and interpretations as a result of these encounters and relationships, which are then improved as a result of and continue to be mediated by the learner’s life interactions and experiences. ” 

  • The capacity for continuous improvement is increased by conversation and interaction aimed at expanding and strengthening symbolic understanding. Students have the opportunity to analyze, engage in, and interact with the views, concepts, and perspectives of other learners as they express ideas and meanings inside a group.
  • The setting of shared activities is crucial for learning and improvement. Real-world situations and issues were important to Dewey as learning opportunities. Kids are unable to modify and create new behaviors, or will only do so inadequately, if they merely objectively encounter any problems and do not personally feel the repercussions in a significant, affective, and reflective way.
  • Whenever their passions are piqued, individuals learn more effectively. It’s critical to provide concepts, exercises, and opportunities that pique learners’ attention and toward which instruction may be directed. So, as they are designed to aid students in conducting analysis or developing an accurate understanding of a particular and significant circumstance, teaching and preaching may be quite suitable.
  • Students’ emotional experiences always serve as the starting point for education and encourage additional research. Dewey supported what he referred to as “aesthetic experiences”—dramatic, engaging, uniting, or transformative events that energize and engross pupils.
  • A crucial component of acquiring democratic action skills. Dewey was enthusiastic about the benefits of acknowledging and respecting diversity as a method for pupils to broaden their horizons and eventually be open to other ideas and thoughts rather than close off to their own ideas and routines.


Dewey’s philosophy has influenced many instructional techniques, such as communicative language teaching, drawback and continuous training, independent learning, and critical inquiry. Dewey’s theories are consistent with the notion of education as an investigation.

Techniques that are made to be sensitive to the particular needs, passions, and intercultural communication of pupils show Dewey’s ideas about schooling. In order to uncover topics, activities, and occurrences that learners perceive as interesting and that will motivate them to gain more knowledge, capabilities, and principles of the intended curriculum, instructors must first get to know their students and their compelling passions and aspirations. The integration of learning into individuals’ own experiences and feelings is promoted.

Main aspects:

John’s worldview is mostly based on the following: 

  • “Truth” is that which serves our needs and works.
  • No values are set in stone. Every value varies through time and space. A sequence of experiments and deliberate activities make up a human existence.
  • It’s all tentative. Nothing has a finality. Understanding and cognition are connected to activities; information is never an end in itself. Thought and action complement one another, but action is better than thought.