Thinking Citizen Blog — John Dewey, “Learn by doing” — Variations on a Theme
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic: John Dewey (1859–1952), “Learn by doing” — Variations on a Theme
Dewey and education were once synonymous. Like Einstein and relativity. And what was Dewey’s philosophy? In a nutshell: learn by doing. True then. True now. The first third of today’s post is my own riff on “learn by doing.” The next two thirds are quotes from the master. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY DEWEY
1. To really learn something, you must not only do it, you must repeat doing it until it becomes automatic, second nature, myelinated.
2. To do it well you must focus on the basics to the point of being able to verbalize and demonstrate each step. The best test of mastery is your ability to model it. If you learn by doing, you teach by example.
3. Trying too hard, going too fast, and hesitating even for a moment can be major obstacles to mastery. Relax, slow down, don’t stop.
QUOTES — Education and life, the key to happiness, what it means to be good
1. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
2. “To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.”
3. “The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.”
NB: “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”
QUOTES — Learn by doing, Correct Answers, Conflict
1. “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”
2. “Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.”
3. “Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving… conflict is a sine qua non of reflection and ingenuity.”
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed.
Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away. This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.