Dewey and progressivism. What the literature has to say.


Ben Wilbrink


I will collect publications that touch on the influence of Dewey on education and educational ideology in our time. As time allows, I will annotate them.


pragmatism.org | John Dewey, American Pragmatist. Website with loads of publications and/or information of publications by Dewey and by thers on Dewey.


Many ideas attributed to constructivism really belong to the older and more comprehensive ideology of progressivism. Because contemporary authors are not in the habit to furnish exact sources for these ideas except blanket reference to, for example, John Dewey or Jean Piaget, it is a major problem in critical discourse that concepts like discovery learning typically are presented as self-evident or self-expaining, not as the rhetorical invention of this or that author on pp xx to yy in a named publication. A big surprise, therefore, to read Kieran Egan’s Getting it wrong from the beginning, supplying all those sordid details in a well written small book! I hope to be able to use it as the starting point of my own inventory of the sources of the main progressive misconceptions in education circles.



Kieran Egan (). Getting it wrong from the beginning. The mismatch between school and children's minds. webpage



Kieran Egan (2002). Getting it wrong from the beginning. Our progressivist inheritance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget. New Haven: Yale University Press. isbn 0300094337

Egan seems to lean towards constructivism/situationism, making his own psychology a bit less useful. I come across the first clear statement of his ideology on p. 72

For what is the problem with this statement of Egan, see Anderson, Reder & Simon 1998.


Obscurantism in Holland: Paul Drijvers, 'mathematical thinking activities', now state pedagogy (incorporated in national exit exams in secondary education) http://www.rug.nl/education/lerarenopleiding/professionalisering/studiedagen/drijvers.pdf




Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (2000). An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research. University of Chicago Press. isbn 0226467724 review short review & 1997 article


Chapter 2 on John Dewey: Specialization and isolation: Education research becomes a profession (John Dewey’s youth and early career ; Dewey at the laboratory school ; A creative community: the social sources of Dewey’s thought ; Edward L. Thorndike: Conquering the new world of pedagogy ; Thorndike and Teachers College: A reciprocal relationship ; Dewey displaced: Charles Hubbard Judd at the University of Chicago ; )



M. D. Shipman (1971). Education and modernisation. Faber and Faber. isbn 0571095992


Special: no mention of Rousseau, Dewey, Spencer, Piaget, Pestalozzi.



J. D. C. Branger (1995). Twee eeuwen voor de klas. Lerarenopleiding basisonderwijs Haarlem. Haarlem: De Vrieseborch.


Zegt deze geschiedenis het nodig over de impact van Rousseau, Spencer, Dewey op het kweekschoolonderwis in Nederland? Jawel hoor: directeur Prinsen was bewonderaar van Pestalozzi (blz. 23): Alle kennis berust op aanschouwing. Meer over vernieuwing: hoofdstuk 4, p. 77 e.v.



W. K. Frankena (1965). Three historical philosophies of education. Aristotle, Kant, Dewey. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresmann and company.




Joop Berding (1999). De participatie-pedagogiek van John Dewey. Proefschrift Vrije Universiteit. isbn 9090131523




George R. Geiger (1958). John Dewey in perspective. Oxford University Press. lccc 58-9463




George Dykhuizen (1973). The life and mind of John Dewey. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. isbn 0809306166




John Dewey & Evelyn Dewey (1915). Schools of to-morrow. E. P. Dutton. archive.org


The opening pages present the progressivist ideology, in the words of Rousseau, not those of Spencer. Beautiful expressions of the end-of-the-18th-century educational ideology, fully embraced by Dewey & Dewey.



J. J. McDermott (ed.) (1973). The philosophy of John Dewey. University of Chicago Press. isbn 0226144011




Paul Arthur Schilpp and Lewis Edwin Hahn (Eds.) (1951/1989). The philosophy of John Dewey. Open Court. isbn 0812691024




Jerome A. Popp (1998). Naturalizing philosophy of education. John Dewey in the Postanalytic Period. Southern Illinois University Press. isbn 0809321718




Samuel Blumenfeld (). Preface to John Dewey’s Plan to Dumb-Down America. web page




John Dewey (1898). The Primary-Education Fetich. FORUM,
Vol. XXV, May 1898, Pages 315 to 328 transcription




Henry T. Edmondson III (2006). John Dewey and the decline of american education. How the patron saint of schools has corrupted teaching and learning. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books. preview




David Vaillancourt (Feb 18, 2016). The Dewey deception. blog




Greg Ashman (Jan 2, 2016) on progressivism here




Horatio Speaks (Jan 1, 2016) on the traditional - progressive debate being ‘boring’ here




Greg Ashman (Dec 31, 2015) on the UK debate between traditionalism and progressivism in education here




J. E. Stone (1996). Developmentalism: An Obscure but Pervasive Restriction on Educational Improvement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 4. open access


Developmentalism is just another term for progressivism.



John Dewey (1916). Democracy and education. : An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. The Macmillan Company. pdf or in Project Gutenberg download




Josep Kahne (1994). Democratic Educational Practices and the Constraining Culture of Mainstream Policy Analysis. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, ApriL 4-8, 1994). https://archive.org/stream/ERIC_ED375520/ERIC_ED375520




NN (2010). Sidebar: Tracking Student Success from Experimental Schools: The Eight-Year Study from the 1930's. webpage




Doug Feldman & Tim Watson (2003). The Eight-Year Study Revisted: John Burroughs School, St. Louis, Missouri. Educational Research Quarterly, 27 no. 1. preview




Joanne Brown (1992). The definition of a profession. The authority of metaphor in the history of intelligence testing, 1890-1930. Princeton Universty Press. [als eBook in KB] info




Rhonda Maree Farkota (2015?). The Effects of a 15-minute Direct Instruction Intervention in the Regular Mathematics Class on Students’ Mathematical Self-efficacy and Achievement. Thesis pdf




Scott L. Montgomery (1994). Minds for the making. The role of science in American education, 1750-1990. Guilford Press. isbn 0898621895 info


Dit boek gaat vooral ook over de progressive movement, niet helemaal hetzelfde als wat nu in het VK progressivism heet. Komen uit deze beweging ook al die ideeën zoals ‘wiskundig leren denken’ voor zelfs de kleinere scholiertjes opborrelen? Dat zou best eens kunnen. Het is een fantastisch boek, direct relevant om de huidige inhoudelijke teloorgang van het onderwijs beter te begrijpen. Ik citeer Montgomery’s karakteristiek van het constructivisme.



Andrew Old (Feb 18, 2016). Denying the debate about progressive and traditional education (Part 1) (teachingbattlground @oldandrewuk) blog 1; Feb 19 blog 2




Katherine C. Reynolds (1997). Progressive Ideals and Experimental Higher Education: The Example of John Dewey and Black Mountain College. Education and Culture Spring, 1997 Vol. XIV No. 1 pdf




Joop W. A. Berding (1997). Towards a Flexible Curriculum John Dewey's Theory of Experience and Learning. Education and Culture Spring, 1997 Vol. XIV No. 1, 24-31. pdf


The personal position of Berding is evidently clear from the closing sentence of the article:



J.F. Staring (2013). Midwives of progressive education: The Bureau of Educational Experiments 1916-1919. Nijmegen: Integraal (Werkgroep Integrerende Wetenschapsbeoefening). Dissertation. Supervisors: Merry & Karsten. download




John Dewey, the later works, 1925-1953.




Levine Barbara (2013). Works about John Dewey, 1886-2012. Southern Illinois University Press. [eBook KB]




John Dewey (1912). How we think. Dover. [eBook KB] archive.org


HAMBLETON, R.K., EIGNOR,.D.R., en ROVINELLI, R.J., Toward better achievement tests and testscore interpretations in PSI courses. Journal of Personalized Instruction, 1978, 3, 180-186.

William Heard Kilpatrick https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Heard_Kilpatrick



John Dewey (1930). How Much Freedom in New Schools? New Republic, 9 July 1930, 204 scan



In this article Dewey criticizes the progressives in education, without taking leave of what he himself regards the kernel of progressivism.



John Dewey (1897). My pedagogic creed. School Journal, 54, 77-80 webpage




(197). Creative intelligence; essays in the pragmatic attitude by Dewey, John, 1859-1952; Moore, Addison Webster, 1866-1930; Brown, Harold Chapman, b. 1879; Mead, George Herbert, 1863-1931; Bode, Boyd Henry, 1873-1953; Stuart, Henry Waldgrave, 1871-; Tufts, James H. (James Hayden), 1862-1942; Kallen, Horace Meyer, 1882-1974. online
















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