John Dewey Reaction Paper "The correlate in thinking of facts, data, knowledge, already acquired, is suggestions, inferences, conjectured meanings, suppositions, tentative explanations: -- ideas, in short." -- John Dewey Out of the authors that I have read this year, Alfred North Whitehead and John Dewey are the two that I have found the greatest commonality with in the subject of obtaining and gaining information. Whitehead speaks on education relating back to Life. It seems to be the only way to become a person that can understand the world around him / her is to be a person who learned using life as the main force in education. "There is a proverb about the difficulty of seeing the wood because of the tress... The problem of education is to make the pupil see the wood by means of the trees." I think that he and I touch base with the idea of life being the driving force in education. Whitehead continues with distaste for formulated subjects and views Life as the only subject matter for education.
Dewey seems to feel as though life should be the main subject matter for education. Dewey expresses an interest very similar to Whiteheads in the three stages in which education travels. Whitehead felt that romance was the first stage of education. Dewey stated that the pupil must first " have a genuine situation of experience-that there be a continuous activity in which he is interested for its own sake." He continues with the methods that would best help the pupil to formulate their own conclusions.
"Secondly, that a genuine problem develop within this situation as a stimulus to thought; third, that he process the information and make the observations needed to deal with it; fourth, that suggested solutions occur to him which he shall be responsible for developing in an orderly way; fifth, that he have opportunity and occasion to test his ideas by application, to make their meaning clear and to discover for himself their validity." This brings us to the scientific method. Now, instead of being fed information, we begin to formulate knowledge. There is a problem (noticed detail), thinking, hypothesis (educated idea), experiment, conclusion which compares to the hypothesis and reaches for a proof or disproof. We have created proof or even a habit.
Whitehead expresses the danger of the implantation of inert ideas. Dewey wrote that .".. ideas are anticipations of possible solutions... and tested by the operation of acting upon them." Dewey was concerned with the school problems that are assigned to students becoming empty pointless problems that importance ends with the beginning of the pupil as a human. An idea that came to mind was to have a basic break down as far as the needed subject matter that has to be covered yet letting the pupil's go out and find it in their lives as human beings. Dewey would describe this as an un scholastic approach.
A problem that can lie here, is insufficient material being covered or students not fulfilling their part. Another potential problem would lie in the size of the class. A larger class size would have the great possibility of some student's ideas being left uncovered. I considered how that might have a worse effect than inert ideas. Their ideas being left uncovered leave them with a lack! on the information as a whole. The realism of the situation is another factor to consider as well as the time prospective.
In closing, I understand and agree with both Whitehead and Dewey's propositions for a more efficient style of acquiring a more fruitful, long term, though process, it would take more than I think is possible without lengthening the academic year. And what student would really want that?