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Teachers, Leaders, and Schools

Essays by John Dewey

Douglas J. Simpson

Publication Year: 2010

This book includes many of the most accessible and insightful articles on education written by John Dewey. The essays are selected largely but not exclusively for the accessibility to future and practicing educators, relevancy to current issues that educators face today, and breadth of information offered about Dewey’s overall educational theory.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Front Cover

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pp. 1-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

WE WANT TO EXPRESS OUR appreciation to a variety of people who have worked with us to help bring this collection of Dewey’s essays to the public. Among them are two eminent Dewey scholars—A. G. Rud Jr. and Lynda Stone—who spent extensive time analyzing our proposal, ...

Selected Chronological Dates and Events

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pp. xi

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General Introduction: John Dewey and His Educational Writings

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pp. 1-16

WHY, YOU MAY BE THINKING, should I study the ideas of John Dewey? Dewey was probably the most prominent educational thinker in the Western democracies of the twentieth century, and his influence in the twenty-first century continues. ...

Part One. The Classroom Teacher

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Introduction: The Classroom Teacher

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pp. 19-23

IN WHAT WAY DOES DEWEY’S teaching in public and private schools, serving as an assistant principal, overseeing a university laboratory school, investigating child development, studying schools in several countries, examining the issues of professional educators, ...

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My Pedagogic Creed (1897)

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pp. 24-32

I BELIEVE THAT ALL EDUCATION proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual’s powers, saturating his consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions. ...

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To Those Who Aspire to the Profession of Teaching (1938)

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pp. 33-36

THERE ARE THREE QUESTIONS WHICH I should want answered if I were a young man or woman thinking of choosing an occupation. I should want to know first what opportunities the vocation offers, opportunities for cultural development, intellectual, moral, social, and its material rewards along with its opportunities for usefulness and for personal growth. ...

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Professional Spirit among Teachers (1913)

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pp. 37-40

YOU AND I KNOW, we all know, how much time, effort and energy are spent in attempting to develop a professional spirit among teachers. We all know that it is said over and over, and truly said, that if we could achieve a thoroughly professional spirit, permeating the entire corps of teachers and educators, ...

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The Educational Balance, Efficiency and Thinking (1916)

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pp. 41-45

THERE ARE TWO TRAITS WHICH have to go together and which have to be balanced with each other in order that we may get an adequate and rounded development of personality, and for that reason there are two factors which have to be constantly borne in mind in all teaching and borne in mind in such a way that we do not first tend to one and develop one, ...

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Teaching Ethics in the High School (1893)

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pp. 46-51

IT WOULD BE, I AM inclined to believe, comparatively easy to bring arguments in support of the conclusion that there has never been such a widespread interest in teaching ethics in the schools as at present; or of the conclusion that there is a general consensus among experts against teaching it. ...

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Philosophy of Education (1913)

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pp. 52-62

RELATION OF PHILOSOPHY AND EDUCATION.—A clear conception of the nature of the philosophy of education in distinction from the science and principles of education is not possible without some antecedent conception of the nature of philosophy itself and its relation to life. ...

Part Two. The School Curriculum

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Introduction: The School Curriculum

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pp. 65-70

MANY EDUCATORS CONSIDER THE SCHOOL curriculum to be one area that is immediately pertinent to what they do. This perception is easily appreciated, especially when we understand that curriculum is defined in many, diverse, and sometimes overlapping ways. ...

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The Psychological Aspect of the School Curriculum (1897)

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pp. 71-80

THERE IS A ROUGH AND ready way, in current pedagogical writing, of discriminating between the consideration of the curriculum or subject-matter of instruction and the method. The former is taken to be objective in character, determined by social and logical considerations without any particular reference to the nature of the individual. ...

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The Moral Significance of the Common School Studies (1909)

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pp. 81-87

IT MAY ASSIST COMPREHENSION OF the more specific portions of this paper if we begin with stating the standpoint from which the paper is conceived. Why should we expect the subject-matter of school studies to have any moral value? How can bodies of knowledge, of information, get transmuted into character? ...

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Character Training for Youth (1934)

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pp. 88-94

THERE IS A GOOD DEAL of alarm just now at what seems to be a deterioration of character among the young. There is a growing increase of juvenile criminality. Revelations of breach of trust and shady practices among men the community had looked up to as leaders have led to questioning of the value of the education they received when they were young. ...

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Art in Education (1911)

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pp. 95-98

A STUDY OF EDUCATION IN its earlier forms, not only in savage communities, but in a civilization as advanced as the Athenian, reveals the great role played by the arts. Anthropological investigations have confirmed the obvious educational influence by showing the great part played by the arts in the life of the community and in determining progress. ...

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Science as Subject-Matter and as Method (1910)

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pp. 99-106

ONE WHO, LIKE MYSELF, CLAIMS no expertness in any branch of natural science can undertake to discuss the teaching of science only at some risk of presumption. At present, however, the gap between those who are scientific specialists and those who are interested in science on account of its significance in life, ...

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Theory of Course of Study (1911)

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pp. 107-114

THE COURSE OF STUDY MAY be considered from two quite distinct points of view. On the one hand, we may accept the curriculum as it obtains at a given time, and consider how each constituent study may be treated so as to make it most effective; what materials are available and what methods of presentation and enforcement are most successful. ...

Part Three. The Educational Leader

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Introduction: The Educational Leader

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pp. 117-122

IN EARLIER READINGS, WE GAINED insight into Dewey’s views of the teacher, the curriculum, and, at least indirectly, the school, but so far we have seen little of what he has to say about the educational leader or administrator of a school or school district. ...

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Democracy and Educational Administration (1937)

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pp. 123-130

MY EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION is limited. I should not venture to address a body of those widely experienced and continuously engaged in school administration about the details of the management of schools. ...

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Toward Administrative Statesmanship (1935)

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pp. 131-133

THE CURRENT MEETING OF THE Department of Superintendence of the N.E.A. makes appropriate a consideration of the problems of public school administration in this country and of the ways of meeting them. It is not necessary to insist upon the fact that the problems are complex and difficult. ...

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General Principles of Educational Articulation (1929)

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pp. 134-143

THERE ARE TWO WAYS OF approaching the problem of elimination of waste in the educative processes of the schools. One is the administrative. This takes the existing system as a going concern, and inquires into the breaks and overlappings that make for maladjustment and inefficient expenditure of time and energy on the part of both pupil and teacher ...

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Democracy in Education (1903)

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pp. 144-152

MODERN LIFE MEANS DEMOCRACY, DEMOCRACY means freeing intelligence for independent effectiveness—the emancipation of mind as an individual organ to do its own work. We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos. ...

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The Classroom Teacher (1924)

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pp. 153-160

WHAT I HAVE TO SAY this afternoon is more in continuation of the talk of this morning than might seem from the title. I hope the reasons for making this connection between the two subjects will become apparent as I go on. ...

Part Four. The Ideal School

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Introduction: The Ideal School

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pp. 163-166

YOU MAY RIGHTLY WONDER IF any school can be called ideal. Certainly, if we did call a school ideal we would want to be clear about what we mean by using the term. For Dewey, the ideal school should indirectly guide students’ growth and development of particular skills, attitudes, habits, and dispositions that shape their thinking, feeling, and acting. ...

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Monastery, Bargain Counter, or Laboratory in Education? (1932)

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pp. 167-176

SOME YEARS AGO WHEN I was in the Adirondacks, I climbed Mt. Marcy, the highest peak of those mountains. There, near the top, is a marshy space with a little brook trickling down, apparently insignificant. A few rods away, after a slight rise of land, there is a second little brook, likewise apparently insignificant. ...

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Progressive Education and the Science of Education (1928)

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pp. 177-186

WHAT IS PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION? What is the meaning of experiment in education, of an experimental school? What can such schools as are represented here do for other schools, in which the great, indefinitely the greater, number of children receive their instruction and discipline? ...

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Dewey Outlines Utopian Schools (1933)

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pp. 187-190

THE MOST UTOPIAN THING IN Utopia is that there are no schools at all. Education is carried on without anything of the nature of schools, or, if this idea is so extreme that we cannot conceive of it as educational at all, then we may say nothing of the sort at present we know as schools. ...

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What Is Learning? (1937)

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pp. 191-194

TO DISCOVER THE REALITY BEHIND such educational terms as study, teaching, learning, reference to their meaning in outside life will be helpful. How then does the professional or business man or other adult learn and, as judged by these, what conditions are most favorable to learning? ...

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Education, Direct and Indirect (1904)

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pp. 195-201

THE OTHER DAY A PARENT of a little boy who recently entered our elementary school, after having been in a public school, told me that her son came to her and said, “I think we learn almost as much at that school as we did at the John Smith school—I believe, maybe, we learn more, only we have such a good time that we do not stop to think that we are learning anything.” ...

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The Need for Orientation (1935)

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pp. 202-206

FOR ONE WHOSE LIFE HAS been given in one form or another to education, it is no gratification to say things that may be construed as an attack on our educational system. But we are living in a time when discriminating criticism is a necessary condition both for progress and for cashing in on the many good things that are already in the schools. ...

Part Five. The Democratic Society

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Introduction: The Democratic Society

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pp. 209-215

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY democracy and what are its implications for teachers, leaders, students, and society in general? The word democracy derives from the Greek demos, meaning “people,” and kratos, or “strength, power,” so literally it means “the power of the people to rule themselves,” or “government by the people.” ....

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What Is Democracy? (ca. 1946)

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pp. 216-219

AT NO TIME IN THE past has the world faced as many and as serious problems as at the present time. For at no past time has the world in which man lives been so extended and so complicated in its interconnected parts. This statement is made, however, not for its own sake but as an introduction to the aspect of the world’s problems that will be here considered. ...

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Democracy Is Radical (1937)

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pp. 220-222

THERE IS COMPARATIVELY LITTLE DIFFERENCE among the groups at the left as to the social ends to be reached. There is a great deal of difference as to the means by which these ends should be reached and by which they can be reached. This difference as to means is the tragedy of democracy in the world today. ...

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Freedom (1937)

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pp. 223-229

THE OLD SAYING THAT “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” has especial significance at the present time. Freedom from oppression was such a controlling purpose in the foundation of the American Republic, and the idea of freedom is so intimately connected with the very idea of democratic institutions, ...

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Intelligence and Power (1934)

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pp. 230-233

THOSE WHO CONTEND THAT INTELLIGENCE is capable of exercising a significant role in social affairs and that it would be well if it had a much larger influence in directing social affairs can readily be made to appear ridiculous. From the standpoint of past human history it not only appears but is ridiculous. ....

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Nationalizing Education (1916)

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pp. 234-240

THE WORDS NATION AND NATIONAL have two quite different meanings. We cannot profitably discuss the nationalizing of education unless we are clear as to the difference between the two. For one meaning indicates something desirable, something to be cultivated by education, while the other stands for something to be avoided as an evil plague. ...

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The Teacher and the Public (1935)

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pp. 241-244

WHO IS A WORKER? Are teachers workers? Do workers have common ties to unite them? Should these ties be expressed in action? These are some of the questions I want to discuss with you for a few moments this evening. ...

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The Duties and Responsibilities of the Teaching Profession (1930)

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pp. 245-248

AMONG THOSE WHO ACCEPT THE principle of general objectives, there seems to be at the present time a general consensus as to the nature of these objectives. On the psychological or individual side, the aim is to secure a progressive development of capacities, ...

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Creative Democracy—The Task before Us (1939)

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pp. 249-254

UNDER PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES I CANNOT hope to conceal the fact that I have managed to exist eighty years. Mention of the fact may suggest to you a more important fact—namely, that events of the utmost significance for the destiny of this country have taken place during the past four-fifths of a century, a period that covers more than half of its national life in its present form. ...


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pp. 255-258

Author bios

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pp. 259

Back Cover

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p. 274-274

E-ISBN-13: 9780809385805
E-ISBN-10: 0809385805
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329991
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329999

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Dewey, John, -- 1859-1952 -- Philosophy.
  • Education -- Philosophy
  • Dewey, John, 1859-1952 -- Criticism and interpretation.
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