Independent Thinking Essay

580 WordsMay 8, 20123 Pages
An Independent Thinker: Risky Rewards for True Knowledge The twentieth century pragmatic education philosopher, John Dewey, promoted thinking as a means or method of gaining knowledge in his work “Thinking in Education”. Dewey emphasized that hands-on experience was essential for students to truly learn. With fellow educators as his most likely audience for this piece, Dewey tried to convey that the more traditional drilling and systematic segregation of subject matter for the purpose of memorization and recitation would not produce actual knowledge in a student. Instead, the pragmatist in him emphasized that for a student to gain real understanding, the teacher must creatively inspire students by offering practical problems for students to solve that would hold real life application, and more importantly, that would have personal meaning for the student. This approach, according to Dewey, would beget thinking in the student mind and impart knowledge that would stay with the student and beget later thinking and the birth of more knowledge. It seems clear that Dewey was not satisfied with the conventional teaching methods of his time as a means of producing productive pupils. Instead, he gave careful consideration of how a student’s mind can be shaped for higher personal value and not simply to regurgitate another’s lesson. The respect that Dewey expresses for the potential in a student when properly cultivated is a testament to his desire to help young people gain personal independence through knowledge that only comes from independent thought. At one point Dewey makes a point of contrasting the student who simply learns how to satisfy a teacher’s lesson plan through memorized facts with the individual who is able to make discerning calculations for himself. The later has real power over the former and Dewey gives the impression that this is an injustice

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