“Development as an Aim of Education”: A Reconsideration of Dewey’s Vision

From Section:
Theories & Approaches
Mar. 01, 2011

Source: Curriculum Inquiry 41:2 (March, 2011), p. 250-266.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the author refers to Dewey's vision of development in order to consider a number of the challenges posed to a concept of development.

The author claims that Dewey’s view was that development consists of enhanced changes in children’s participation in the world around them.

Dewey assumed that motivation is internal and that children, when not coerced, will express interest and find purpose in activities they choose.
Dewey emphasized commonalities of experience among different social and ethnic groups, whereas we are living in an era that emphasizes differences. The challenge in his words is to forge a common ground in the experiences children have together, particularly through their participation in service which is a part of the intellectual program.

However, the author claims that Dewey's ideas have been misunderstood and misrepresented since the psychological accounts identify only individual growth as development.
The author argues that the conception of development is potentially more than only an aim; it offers a way of thinking about processes of change over time—in children and in schools, and how educators can support these processes.

The author concludes that we can draw out from Dewey’s concepts—of bridging individual to social progress, of transformation of lived experience, of enhanced participation in cultural practices—commitments that we can reaffirm as a developmental perspective for our time.

Updated: Aug. 07, 2018
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