NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1172651
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1857
The Teacher Is a Learner: Dewey on Aims in Education
HarĂ°arson, Atli
Educational Philosophy and Theory, v50 n5 p538-547 2018
In Chapter VIII of "Democracy and Education", Dewey objects to all three of the following propositions: (1) education serves predefined aims; (2) Education serves aims that are external to the process of education; and (3) Education serves aims that are imposed by authority. From the vantage point of policy-makers and authors of curriculum guides, these three propositions seem plausible, even self-evident. In this paper, I set forth a critical interpretation and evaluation of Dewey's objections to them and argue that he saw the aims of education from another point of view, that of a learner. From a learner's point of view, propositions 2 and 3 are only half-true because external aims that are not shared by the students cannot successfully guide educative activities. As regards proposition 1, Dewey's philosophy does not accommodate the birds-eye view required to make it literally true. As learners, we cannot have an external view of our entire progress. Some of our aims are, therefore, not predefined but discovered on the way. Dewey's stance on the role of aims in education is worth serious consideration, because the view of curriculum development and school administration that these three propositions engender is as deeply problematic today as it was when Dewey wrote against them a century ago.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A