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John Dewey - Philosophy and LearningJohn Dewey - Philosophy and Learning


John Dewey (1859-1952)


American philosopher (pictured right) and educator.


John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

Dewey was a pragmatist...

Along with two other Americans, C.S. Peirce (pictured right) and William James (pictured right below), famous for the idea of pragmatism i.e. something is good , if it is

  • useful.
  • produces results.

 John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

His most famous book is...

Democracy and Education (1916).


His tips on learning

 John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

1. Improve your problem solving

You increase your knowledge by finding solutions to problems.

So vital to learning and education are:

  • critical thinking,
  • learning by doing.
  • problem solving skills

These are much more important than memorizing facts.

Therefore, a teacher must be a guide and helper.

 John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

2. Be creative

Creativity and imagination are vital to solving problems - the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein (pictured right) agreed.


3. Satisfy the learner’s needs

Education should be student centred with activities to make subjects more interesting and relevant.

Learning will be more effective, if it is fun.

 John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

4. Learning never stops

People learn by continual:

  • open-minded and enthusiastic questioning and experimenting (see point 5) .
  • finding new knowledge without bias or prejudice.


5. Experiment

  • be curious.
  • try and accept new and better ideas and ways of doing things.


6. Learning is for life

Education and learning must give people a better life not just the means to live (i.e. jobs).

 John Dewey - Philosophy and Learning

7. Equality of opportunity

Everyone must have the same opportunity to:

  • learn.
  • make the most of their ability.

Free and universal education gives everyone (not just the rich) the freedom to do what they want.

Learning should not be a “monopoly of the few”.


Key quotes on learning and wisdom

The true is what works.

The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

Still more important is the fact that the human being acquires a habit of learning. He learns to learn.


Key quote on happiness

To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.


Key quotes on education and training

Scepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.

We only think when we are confronted with problems.



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