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Psycology » Persons » Thinkers » John Dewey (1859-1952)

In 1896 together with his wife, he creates at the University laboratory school, the purpose of which was to test his philosophical and psychological ideas. Theoretical key in the school was the idea of ​​Dewey that "society can be reformed through the school." But for this school itself must change radically and become a community in which all students are involved in collaborative and productive work and learning occurs in the course of this activity.

Chicago period in the life of Dewey (1894-1904) - the most active and fruitful in the field of pedagogy. He directs the ideological work of the school laboratory, helping to develop new forms and methods of teaching children in primary school. In the late 1890s he gave a series of lectures on the "new education" for the parents of the school. Lectures amounted book under the title "School and Society" (1899).

In 1904, due to friction with the university, related to a school-laboratory, Dewey leaves Chicago. He accepts an invitation from one of the oldest and most prestigious universities - Columbia - take the place of the head of the Department of Philosophy. At Columbia University, Dewey remained until the end of his life (1930 - as Professor Emeritus), and mainly engaged in the development of philosophical problems. Major work started in this period ("How we think", "Reconstruction of Philosophy", "Problems of man," etc.), glorify his name not only in the country but also worldwide.

On the theoretical and philosophical level, he develops a problem of democracy and education and published a book by that name ("Democracy and Education", 1916); together with his daughter Evelyn Dewey summarizes the experience of the "new" schools and published the book "School of the Future" ( 1915), and he holds key positions in a number of influential educational organizations - the American Federation of Teachers, the American Association of University Professors, the Association of progressive education that allows him to spread their ideas and pedagogical influence on classroom practice.

A keen interest in life, its social problems Dewey did not leave until the end of his life. With world-renowned, already fairly advanced age, he goes at the end of the 1920s in the long journey of the countries in which there have been revolutionary changes emerging from monarchic-dictatorial regimes (Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey).

In the Soviet Union, Dewey met with many prominent teachers of the time, busy creating a new school, to visit the famous pilot Narcompros experimental station near Moscow, which was led by C. Shatsky. Dewey was delighted with what he saw: "For the first time I saw not a single school, and the whole educational system, officially organized on the principle of communication with the community and school environment. What I saw in the colony Shatsky, has no analogue in the world. Students involved in the present work to improve the social environment, they improve sanitary conditions, participate in literacy teaching farmers how to increase crop, etc etc. Russian schoolchildren organized more democratic than ours. " Many of Dewey's been translated and published in the USSR, with a foreword by prominent Soviet teachers.

In the second half of the 1930s, Dewey became in our country one of the most odious figures. The fact is that after the known processes in Moscow, he accepted an offer to head a commission to investigate the so-called "anti-Soviet activity" Trotsky. The Commission traveled to Mexico, where he lived, Trotsky, and studied all available materials.

Withdraw it signed Dewey was unequivocal: Trotsky or not guilty, and a reference to it, which were made on the processes is nothing but slander.

However, even in their country Dewey criticized. After the first launch of Sputnik, which was regarded in the U.S. as "a triumph of Soviet education," the ideas of Dewey, sucked movement for progressive education, a barrage of criticism.

Watching the destructive processes in a rapidly changing society, however, Dewey did not agree with those who interpreted democracy as the cause of all social evils. He tried to justify his theory of a democratic society. In fact, since the late 1880s until his death, the problem of democracy and democratic society has become a leitmotif of his philosophical and pedagogical works.

A huge impact in these quests have had on Dewey ideas developed Metaphysical Club at Harvard University. It consisted of philosophers, historians, lawyers, mathematicians, theologians. Despite the diversity of the composition, all the participants were united by the desire to understand the radical changes taking place in the U.S., and to develop a theory that would meet the specifics of development of the country and would be a "third" line between materialism and fideism in philosophy.

In Metaphysical Club was born the first ideas that later formed the philosophical trend called "pragmatism" (from the Greek pragma - case), which became the hallmark of the American theoretical thought.

A special place in the club belonged to Charles Peirce and William James, whose work played a crucial role in the formation of Dewey as a philosopher and educationalist pragmatic direction. Pierce defended the position that the world has no innate ideas and eternal truths. The truth, according to Peirce, is always relative. It may be true only at this stage of knowledge - provided clarity, distinctness, irrefutable phenomenon. Truly all that helps a person to solve the problem and achieve success.

In the same vein developed his philosophical design William James, who wrote for the American intelligentsia, simply and expounded his thoughts and thus largely contributed to popularize the ideas of pragmatism and assimilate their people far removed from the narrow philosophical circle.

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