John Dewey’s profound essay, My Pedagogic Creed, was instrumental in shaping the way we view education today, and hopefully, how education progresses in the future. Dewey floods his article with numerous and varying “I believe” statements that showcase the purpose of education, the importance of a child centered curriculum, and the relationship each student should have with their teachers and the outside world. It is composed of five main articles, but we have chosen to study the first three: What Education Is, What The School Is, and The Subject-Matter Of Education. These articles encompass Dewey’s philosophy in the importance of restructuring the way education is viewed and therefore taught. This article exposes the flaws within the school system, which unfortunately are still immense problems today and gives his audience his perspective in how he believes education should look today.
In the first article, Dewey illustrates what education is and its purpose. One notable “I believe” statement is, “I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself.” This essentially means that any individual student’s education should revolve around what he or she finds interesting as well as whatever skills are required to thrive in their environment. Dewey’s desire to adjust how curriculum is incorporated is obvious in this article and is still extremely relevant today.
In the second article, John Dewey showcases the purpose of schools and what their responsibilities are in the development of a student. One notable quote to me is, “the school life should grow gradually out of the home life.” To me this essentially means that school life should stem from a person’s home life and slowly each student should grow and develop as they age. Furthermore, I also believe that this quote encompasses Dewey’s value in a positive home life in order for a student to intellectually flourish. In addition, Dewey also states that “I believe that the discipline of the school should proceed from the life of the school as a whole and not directly from the teacher,” which highlights the importance of having a healthy and supportive school environment.
In the third article, The Subject-Matter Of Education, John Dewey explores specifics about different subjects and the overall curriculum. Dewey states,“I believe that they are not special studies which are to be introduced over and above a lot of others in the way of relaxation or relief, or as additional accomplishments. I believe rather that they represent, as types, fundamental forms of social activity.” Essentially, specific subjects are not salient to education. Students should learn skills that benefit them to thrive in society as well as skills that interest them.
In my opinion, what this article is essentially arguing is that education should step away from a normal curriculum and focuses on what would be beneficial to each individual student. One of Dewey’s most famous quotes states that, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” What this quote means to me is that many treat education as a preparation for college, but in my experience a large majority of things learned in school were futile and simply to prepare for a test, not a life. We were taught to memorize, take a test, then forget it and move on the next day. Education is life itself. We should be taught life skills like cooking, how to balance a checkbook, and how to pay for something. One classic example that comes to mind is how bold Gen Z is yet how scared they are to make a simple phone call or ask a waiter for a straw. There is a lack of skills taught that lead to maturity and livelihood. In addition to this, I think Dewey would want us to be taught things that are more serious matters like racism or sexism.
Overall, I thought our presentation went well! In our lesson we focused mainly on what Dewey was attempting to say, and how we could incorporate this into our schools as future teachers. I was very nervous to present my portion of the powerpoint but I think after sharing the information, I was able to have some very productive conversation in our breakout room. All in all I thought our lesson went very well and I am happy with the information I learned and the conversations I’ve had.