John Dewey is a renowned philosopher whose educational theories form the basis of progressive learning. Dewey argues that education is a perfect platform for social and economic reform. According to Dewey, learning and education should be viewed as interactive processes that bring both social and economic transformation (Boisvert, 1997).
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The theory suggests that active participation by students in their learning is the best way of improving the quality of education in schools and other academic institutions (Boisvert, 1997). The curriculum is schools should be designed in a way that enables students to interact with it.
Dewey argues that education should enable students attain practical life skills rather than fill their heads with content knowledge. Dewey’s theory of education is applicable to practical courses such as nursing which require interactive learning (Boisvert, 1997). This paper will highlight how Dewey’s theory on education supports social and economic environment in relation to nursing education.
The use of education to realize one’s potential is the fundamental aspect of Dewey’s theory on education (Garrison, 1995). Pre-determined acquisition of skills in educational institutions is not good enough to enable students live successful and fulfilling lives. Dewey suggests that students should be trained to use their capacities as a way of preparing them for the future.
Students should take full control of their lives in order to realize their innate potentials (Garrison, 1995). Dewey is of the opinion that social and economic reforms can only be achieved through education and schooling.
Social reconstruction is achieved through social consciousness that is brought about by education (Boisvert, 1997). A suitable social and economic environment can only be created by the regulatory element of education (Boisvert, 1997). Dewey‘s ideas are based on the effects of education on social and economic environment.
The idea of focusing on the subject matter is a flawed teaching method because it encourages inactivity on the part of students (Garrison, 1995). Dewey reiterates that new knowledge can only become effective if the curriculum relates the information taught in class with real life experiences (Boisvert, 1997). According to Dewey, teachers should transform a student from being immature to maturity (Boisvert, 1997).
Dewey also argues that quality education is not based on the subject matter but on the individual initiative of students. Nursing education entails combining a student’s initiative and the subject matter (Boisvert, 1997). Dewey’s school of thought tends to minimize the role of teachers and content in the learning process. As a way of dealing with this flaw, Dewey calls for a balance between knowledge and students’ interests.
Dewey is a proponent of experiential education which encourages students to play a significant role in academic research (Boisvert, 1997). Project Based Learning involves the use of natural objects to stimulate the mind. This hypothesis is applicable in scientific studies and academic research.
The selection of the best influences for students is the fundamental role of teachers in a learning institution (Garrison, 1995). Dewey insists that imposing knowledge and habits on students is not good for their education (Garrison, 1995). This content centered model of teaching makes students to become passive learners who are completely dependant on teachers.
Teachers should only facilitate the learning process without imposing knowledge and ideas on students (Garrison, 1995). Teachers should only be partners in the learning process to enable students discover the meaning
of education on their own. Dewey’s theory on education and democracy is being used across the world in designing teaching programs (Garrison, 1995). Dewey’s theory on education is widely used by nursing teachers to equip nursing students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills (Garrison, 1995).
Boisvert, R., (1997). John Dewey: Rethinking our time. New York, NY: SUNY Press
Garrison, J., (1995). The new scholarship on Dewey. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.