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ERIC Number: ED346473
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Exploring Water-Tight Compartments.
Fishman, Steve
John Dewey employed the phrase "water-tight compartments" to mark deficiencies of integration within an individual's personality. For Dewey, the self is complex, but a strong personality integrates its various habits so that they reinforce rather than conflict with one another. Dewey's focus on this problem of personality has relevance for teachers in the everyday world, in the classroom, and in the field of composition. Dewey's ideas can help teachers understand their own struggles for integration, the inability to bring the varied activities of teacher, father, and friend together so that they can energize one another. Dewey described biological, social, and political factors which promote a separation of personality in the modern world. He also analyzed certain habits of mind which have an affinity with an old-fashioned individualism dating back at least seven centuries to medieval religion. Dewey criticized this brand of individualism by showing how Americans associate it with living in isolation and identify it with the self-reliance of frontier people. The upshot of Dewey's critique is his discussion of democracy, the essence of which (in his view) is community. According to Dewey, all of the great modern advances have been cooperative affairs. The modern lack of integration has two causes: (1) modern life is too weighted toward isolation; and (2) modern life is victimized by professionalization. Thus, many teachers are driven to experimentation in the classroom, where they have the most control, and attempt to create a community along Deweyan lines by overcoming the water-tight compartments that separate human beings. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A