John Dewey: From the book we learn that he had some strong opinions about education. He believed that knowledge could only be gained in a child by the demands of social situations. We see this in young children as they learn to interact in their environment. When taking a closure look into John Dewey we find right away that unlike most of the people in the book, he wasn’t Australian but American. A philosopher, educator, social critic, and political activist were his daily hobbies.
His background: Graduated from the University of Vermont with a PhD in Philosophy. He then began teaching in Michigan in psychology and philosophy where he generated his ideas and philosophy on education. What does that mean exactly? Well the philosophy of educations deals with the goals and problems found in education and its practises. Which can be seen, like most , as far back as in ancient Greece.
One of his views is that everything is subject to change, and will change. Nothing is static. This is in controversy to the previous more dualistic forms of thinking. He also believed that there no absolutes and each person takes into the events of their life and analyzes them based on causes and effects and then determines changes they can make in order to produce a desired outcome. In short, he believed that ideas are tools for plans of action in order to make sense of the world.
I also found a blog on social issues that reflect John Dewey’s ideas which is pretty interesting. And here is a post specifically on Dewey and how his philosophy impacted education in the 20th century.
John Dewey has written extensively on Education being a social function. He felt that to teach a person you cannot simply convey specific ideas or beliefs, but by having the individual come to those conclusions by being in an environment that produces those ideas or beliefs. Such as teaching math through the use of cooking. With each experience they give their own judgements and emotions through their learning experience instead of having those judgements placed upon them.
Paulo Freire: Freire also shared in similar hobbies as John Dewey, but was a Brazilian educator. He was also a philosopher, and theorist on pedagogy as well. He was jailed and became a political exile for fifteen years. He sees education as a learning as culture and freedom. Some of his more well-known concepts are as follows:
“”Banking” Education, in which passive learners have pre-selected knowledge
deposited in their minds; “Conscientization”, a process by which the learner
advances towards critical consciousness; the “Culture of Silence”, in which
dominated individuals lose the means by which to critically respond to the
culture that is forced on them by a dominant culture“
How many times have we been oppressed with “Banking” Education? By following word for word what the teacher says in order to get a good grade. This, if I understand it correctly, encourages short-term memory, I of which learned how to do for various classes k-12. This type of education is not beneficial for the student because it is quickly forgotten and doesn’t make the student learn anything besides words. A better for would be any version of a critical thinking team of teacher and student. This isn’t as easy for teachers or students, but its a more appropriate version of learning instead of flying through material because they can memorize words.
Conscientization can best be described as:
“achieving an in-depth understanding of the world, allowing for the perception and exposure of social and political contradictions“
Or in other words, by becoming more of a critical thinker instead of regurgitation another’s ideas, by thinking for oneself instead of taking on another’s opinions. We see this change in our learning strongly in or after high school as we start thinking for ourselves instead of believing teachers and parents theories and ideas. It is putting action into their own ideas to further success in areas such as politics.
Culture of Silence can best be described as:
“a major product of an educational system that does not encourage students to develop the critical awareness necessary to break the pattern of oppression”
Education systems like passive students who sit back and learn exactly what the teachers design. To have a strong-willed student can be a teachers nightmare. But having a strong will is not a flaw if encouraged in the right direction. A strong-willed person, is the only person, who can fight their way out from under the thumb of oppression. The strong-willed too often have their spirits crushed into submission when really they need to be taught how to use their passions but this all too often is overlooked in the educational system. It is about finding a voice and speaking out for reform against oppression.