Dewey and Freire: Individual or Group?

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Peter Giesin EDUC 500 June 18, 2012 Prof. Grassi Portfolio Artifact #3 - Dewey and Freire: Individual or Group? John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in both education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and major supporter of progressive education. Dewey’s central concept of education was greater emphasis on developing and broadening problem solving and critical thinking skills. Democracy and social reform are a cornerstone of Dewey’s educational philosophies. Throughout his writings on education Dewey emphasizes that education and learning are both a social and interactive process. He makes a strong case for the importance of schools not only as a place to gain content knowledge, but also as a place to learn how to live. In his eyes, the purpose of the education system should not revolve around the acquisition of a set curriculum, but rather the development of the whole student and the ability to use those skills for the greater good. He notes that “to prepare him for the future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have the full and ready use of his capabilities” (Dewey, 1897, p6). In addition to his ideas regarding what education is and what effect it should have on society, Dewey also had specific notions regarding how education should take place within the classroom. Dewey argued that the major flaw in education was is the inactivity of the student. He argues that in order for education to be most effective, content must be presented in a way that allows the student to relate the information to prior experiences, thus deepening the connection with this new knowledge (Dewey, 1902). Dewey advocated for an educational structure that strikes a balance between delivering
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