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Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education   By: (1859-1952)

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by John Dewey

Transcriber's Note: I have tried to make this the most accurate text possible but I am sure that there are still mistakes. Please feel free to email me any errors or mistakes that you find. Citing the Chapter and paragraph. and are my email addresses for now. David Reed

I would like to dedicate this etext to my mother who was a elementary school teacher for more years than I can remember. Thanks.


Chapter One: Education as a Necessity of Life Chapter Two: Education as a Social Function Chapter Three: Education as Direction Chapter Four: Education as Growth Chapter Five: Preparation, Unfolding, and Formal Discipline Chapter Six: Education as Conservative and Progressive Chapter Seven: The Democratic Conception in Education Chapter Eight: Aims in Education Chapter Nine: Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims Chapter Ten: Interest and Discipline Chapter Eleven: Experience and Thinking Chapter Twelve: Thinking in Education Chapter Thirteen: The Nature of Method Chapter Fourteen: The Nature of Subject Matter Chapter Fifteen: Play and Work in the Curriculum Chapter Sixteen: The Significance of Geography and History Chapter Seventeen: Science in the Course of Study Chapter Eighteen: Educational Values Chapter Nineteen: Labor and Leisure Chapter Twenty: Intellectual and Practical Studies Chapter Twenty one: Physical and Social Studies: Naturalism and Humanism Chapter Twenty two: The Individual and the World Chapter Twenty Three: Vocational Aspects of Education Chapter Twenty four: Philosophy of Education Chapter Twenty five: Theories of Knowledge Chapter Twenty six: Theories of Morals

Chapter One: Education as a Necessity of Life

1. Renewal of Life by Transmission. The most notable distinction between living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by renewal. A stone when struck resists. If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to react in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow, much less so as to render the blow a contributing factor to its own continued action. While the living thing may easily be crushed by superior force, it none the less tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its own further existence. If it cannot do so, it does not just split into smaller pieces (at least in the higher forms of life), but loses its identity as a living thing.

As long as it endures, it struggles to use surrounding energies in its own behalf. It uses light, air, moisture, and the material of soil. To say that it uses them is to say that it turns them into means of its own conservation. As long as it is growing, the energy it expends in thus turning the environment to account is more than compensated for by the return it gets: it grows. Understanding the word "control" in this sense, it may be said that a living being is one that subjugates and controls for its own continued activity the energies that would otherwise use it up. Life is a self renewing process through action upon the environment.

In all the higher forms this process cannot be kept up indefinitely. After a while they succumb; they die. The creature is not equal to the task of indefinite self renewal. But continuity of the life process is not dependent upon the prolongation of the existence of any one individual. Reproduction of other forms of life goes on in continuous sequence. And though, as the geological record shows, not merely individuals but also species die out, the life process continues in increasingly complex forms. As some species die out, forms better adapted to utilize the obstacles against which they struggled in vain come into being... Continue reading book >>

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