What’s the Future of Education? Look to the Past for Answers

No doubt you’ve heard of John Dewey, the American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Even today, he is regarded as one of the most prominent American scholars in the first half of the twentieth century.

Dewey died in 1957 at age 92 in New York City. My guess is that if he were alive today, he’d be appalled at the educational landscape (and I like to think he’d be a proponent of The Levels of Development and the Discipline Without Stress methodology).

He taught for three years but struggled with the expectation that he should be a knuckle-rapping disciplinarian. That wasn’t how he viewed education.

After posts at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago, he taught at Columbia University from 1904 to 1930. It was at Columbia where he became a major exponent of pragmatism and rejected authoritarian teaching methods. He espoused instructional approaches that built upon the interests of students and the challenge of solving real-life problems.

Where Has Education Gone?

Teaching today has an emphasis on correct answers. However, in life outside of schooling, success is determined by what to do when you do not have the answer.

Dewey would certainly be opposed to current approaches of standardized testing to assess learning. Standardized tests are neither valid nor reliable in assessing educational progress. In addition, they do not emphasize character development, wisdom, or engender the desire to learn.

These tests are making testing companies and their publishers extremely wealthy—at the expense of creative teaching and students’ learning life skills.

Society is finally waking up to the misuse of this “testing experiment” as indicated by the increasing number of students who are refusing to take such tests and the increasing number of states that are dropping out of the “Common Core State Standards Initiative”—regardless of its good intentions.

Perhaps in the future, education will return to what Dewey envisioned.

Tip: If you haven’t already, get a copy of Discipline Without Stress. It will change your view on education, our schools, and discipline in general.


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To have Dr. Marvin Marshall speak at your next event, visit http://MarvinMarshall.com.

To handle every discipline problem simply and easily, visit http://DisciplineOnline.com.

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