PHILOSOPHICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION: Which are some of the aims of education according to John Dewey?



6a ii). Examine the aims of education according to John Dewey


He was born in 1859 in England and migrated to America. He was a teacher, writer, educationist, psychologist, and philosopher. He was a pragmatist. He is one of the modern philosophers. He greatly influenced the American system of education. His ideas had a great influence on the American system of education. He believed that the aim of living is the never-ending process of perfecting and refining. He defined education as the continuous reconstruction of experiences. He established a laboratory at the University of Chicago where he implemented his educational theories. Education during Dewey’s time was teacher-centered and rote learning was the main method of teaching. The teacher completely controlled teaching-learning process.  


     His contributions to early childhood education.

  • He developed a theory of education “progressivism”. The child was at the centre of his system of education.
  • Introduced the idea of child-centered curriculum.
  • Introduced the idea of child-centered schools.
  • He founded an “experimental school;” known as laboratory school, which made him famous.


        His beliefs about children and how they should be educated.

  • Curriculum for children should be built from the interests of children.
  • He believed that philosophy should solve the problems of life.


        Role of schools according to John Dewey.

  • To provide education (knowledge, skills and attitudes) which are useful. Knowledge and skills which are not useful are death. The knowledge and skills should make children useful to themselves, family and society.
  • Schools should develop problem solving skills and not memorization.

Schools should prepare children for realities of today rather than some vague future time. He says that education is a process of living and not a preparation for future living. Learning activities should come out of daily life. Through the activities children learn about life and the skills necessary for living. In classroom based on Dewey’s ideas, children are involved with physical activities, utilization of things, intellectual pursuits, and social interaction. The physical activities include running, jumping, and active involvement with materials. According to Dewey’s in this phase the child begins the process of education and develops other interests. The growing child learns to use tools and materials to construct things. He further says that an ideal expression for the interest was daily living activities or occupations like coking and carpentry.      

  • To ensure proper growth and development of a child. Schools should help children to grow and develop.
  • To prepare a child for life.
  • To make a child socially efficient.


Aims of education according to Dewey’s.

He did not belief in fixed aims of education. According to him aims of education is to have more education. He says that aims of education should grow out of life situations. Education should help in the harmonious development of the individual. He believes education is a process of living and not a preparation of future living.


Dewey’s proposed the following as the aims of education:

  • To produce socially efficient individuals.
  • Development of an individual. Education should help in the harmonious development of an individual.


           Curriculum according to Dewey.

  • The curriculum should not be fixed.
  • The curriculum should have subjects and activities which have utility to the child.
  • The curriculum should be child-centered.
  • The curriculum should provide for integration.


            Methods of teaching according to Jon Dewey.

  • Project method. It emphasizes on children’s needs, interests and participation in teaching and learning process. Examples of projects are animals in the sea.
  • Experimental method.
  • Problem-solving method. Problematic situations should be provided to children in the classroom and outside the classroom.
  • Activity method. He emphasized learning by doing.
  • Play method.


           Dewey’s philosophy and discipline.

  • Self-discipline. It refers t the discipline that results out of free, purposeful and creative activity. Teachers provide conducive environment so that the child may develop as a responsible member of a society. The teacher never imposes himself on the child. It is not discipline for the sake of discipline.
  • Social discipline. It refers to the discipline, which emanates from the cooperation in social life. It is main purpose is to cultivate in children favourable attitudes and habits.



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