Dewey Education System

In Dewey’s book Experience and Education, he attacks “traditional” and “progressive” education systems as being too restrictive and too relaxed respectively and enlightens the audience about experiential learning. Under experiment based learning, students learn by performing actions and forming hypotheses and testing them. He understands that not all experiences are beneficial, in that “any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience” (25). This statement could be interpreted in a few different way. One example of a bad experience is giving children too much freedom in the playground which results in them carelessly injuring their bodies in a way that could traumatize them or result in a permanent defect. Dewey explains his two criteria for effective growth of experience, in that it requires continuity (every experience will have a positive or negative influence) and interaction (how you handle current experiences is based on experiences from the past).

On the topic of experience based learning, I wonder how this system would work for the different subjects that I am taking right now. For example, how would calculus be taught as an experiential class? On some topics I can understand how hands–on experience would benefit my education, such as visually modeling the calculation of the volume of an irregular solid, however, some things taught in calculus are too theoretical to be experienced, such as deriving trigonometric derivatives. Likewise, some sections of this philosophy class can be experienced (a simulation of Plato’s education system in The Republic) while others have much more difficulty in delivering an experience (such as answering identity questions formulated by Kant).

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