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ERIC Number: EJ1091514
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1556-763X
Conceptions of Childhood in the Educational Philosophies of John Locke and John Dewey
Bynum, Gregory Lewis
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2015 n2 2015
This article compares progressive conceptions of childhood in the educational philosophies of John Locke and John Dewey. Although the lives of the two philosophers were separated by an ocean and two centuries of history, they had in common the following things: (1) a relatively high level of experience working with, and observing, children that is unusual among philosophers (Dewey started a progressive children's school and Locke worked as an educator of children and as an advisor to parents), (2) a high level of respect, grounded in observations and experiences of children, for children's intellectual powers, and for the influence of childhood intellectual experience on adult life and adult political institutions, (3) a respect for children's spontaneity and love of play, (4) a philosophical emphasis on the need for education that provides continuity (instead of abrupt and confusing ruptures) between childhood experience and adult experience, and (5) an impatience with traditional forms of education that force children into educational projects without regard for children's interests and desires. There are also interesting differences of emphasis between the two philosophers; Locke was particularly attentive to the need for educators to respond to the diverse temperaments of individual children, while Dewey emphasized the need for education that draws children into socially and technologically relevant projects. Studying Locke and Dewey together can provide today's childhood educators with a helpful and empowering sense of intellectual heritage to support educational practices that better respect the intellectual and experiential lives of young children. Further, examining the two philosophers' differences can stimulate us to illuminating debate on possible, varying approaches to childhood-intellect-respecting education that we might use today.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
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