John Dewey

John Dewey was a psychologist who is most known for his progressive views on education. Stefan Neubert (2009) argued that Dewey was a reconstructionist. He believed in the ideals of constructivism and saw experience as an opportunity to educational growth. Experience for Dewey was a vital key that transcended Kant's notion of experience or interpretation of reality, for he believed that the continuous interaction of humans with their natural and artificial environment was essential for growth, both public and private, thought, social progress, and personal development (source) Shusterman (2010) describes an article written by Dewey, Art as Experience, as the first established pragmatist aesthetics on the philosophical map yet he does not explicitly talk about pragmatism, something that Dewey is now well-known for. It can be said that experience revolved wholeheartedly around many of Dewey's views and writings.

One interesting article explored Dewey's "racialized" view of his own theories, arguing that Dewey intended for his views and practices to benefit and only apply to students of European Americans and not necessarily African-American students. Margonis (2009) argues that:

"Because of the racial assumptions operative in Dewey's educational philosophy, Margonis suggests, Dewey's fundamental conceptions of the "student" and "classroom community" would best be abandoned by educational philosophers hoping to write philosophy that serves all students."

Ultimately, Dewey's philosophy on education is considered progressive and is still used today in several topics of research and instructional design. His beliefs were also a basis, or at least apart of the basis for Social Constructivism. His focus on experience has helped lead a way into how constructivism can be used for educational purposes, including instructional design and learning theories. Dewey also spoke about "Educational Engineering" which was an infusion of using experience to learn and increase a person's knowledge base. He stated:

"Given imagination, courage and the desire to experiment and to learn from its results, there is a push toward, a momentum for creative work. Its concrete consequences if subjected to honest or discriminating reflection will afford material for the elaboration of an art, a fairly definite body of suggestions and instructions for the later intelligent conduct of an educative art" (Dewey, 1922).


Dewey, John (2009) 'Education as engineering', Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41:1, 1 - 5

Leffew, D. (unknown). John Dewey. Retrieved April 19, 2010 from East Carolina University website.

Margonis, F. (2009). John dewey's racialized visions of the student and classroom community. Educational Theory, 59(1), 17-39.

Shusterman, R. (2010). Dewey's "art as experience": The psychological background. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 44(1), 26-43.