I wrote in yesterday’s post about being an ‘efficacious agent‘. Dewey has a much better term for this: freedom. The freedom which comes from the “power to frame purposes, to judge wisely, to evaluate desires by the consequences which will result from acting upon them; power to select and order […]
What does it mean to be an efficacious agent? Some sketchy notes on critical realism and educational sociology
In the last few months, I’ve been trying to define my interest in education and often find myself coming back to the idea of the efficacious agent. This is a placeholder really but it rests on my sense that education (in the broadest sense of the formal or informal) leaves […]
I’m unsure whether ‘collateral learning’ is a throwaway phrase used by Dewey in Experience and Education or whether it’s more fully developed elsewhere. However I’ve found it a really useful concept to make sense of informal learning through social platforms and their impact upon the socialisation process.
What I find particularly valuable in Dewey is his sense of how as an individual “passes from one situation to another, his world, his environment, expands or contracts” with the “knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situations which follow” (pg 44). The nature of this experience constitutes the conditions which facilitate or frustrate the individual’s flourishing.
What sorts of experiences do social platforms generate? What “attitudes and habitual tendencies” (pg 38) are being generated? Which “are actually conducive to continued growth and what are detrimental” (pg 39)?
From John Dewey’s Experience and Education pg 17: The history of educational theory is marked by opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without; that it is based upon natural endowments and that education is a process of overcoming natural inclination […]
In his account of socialisation in Democracy and Education, Dewey places a great stress on habit formation. There’s an inevitability to habit as “excessive stimulation and excessive and ill-adapted response” necessitate that “certain stimuli are selected because of their relevancy, and others are degraded”.
I found this extremely interesting from Dewey’s Democracy and Education loc 562-575. He argues that the concept of ‘imitation’ tends to mistake an outcome for cause, imputing to a generic tendency to copy each other what is better explained by commonly constituted agents finding themselves in similar situations which tend to produce similar responses.
“Why is it, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by a passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so entrenched in practice? That education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle almost as generally violated in practice as conceded in theory.”
Following from this afternoon’s post about John Dewey, I wanted to share this extract from later in Democracy and Education about the socialising role played by communities. He explains how the groups to which an individual belongs inevitably exercises an influence over them, by virtue of that belonging. I understanding him to be saying these are educative in the sense that they provide an environment which solicits certain responses by virtue of collaborating as part of a more or less shared existence.