Hello, I’m Laura, I’m in my second semester of the TIL program with a focus on TESOL. I’m from the Chico area, went to San Diego for my BA in English before joining the Peace Corps as a Teaching English volunteer in Panama.
The Dewey article discusses how the school system is organized around passive, listening students with limited participation. This teaching method discourages students natural curiosity and motivation for learning. The classroom is designed not around the children/students but around creating a place where they can be gathered in large groups to passively and uniformly receive knowledge. This modern education method is very different from how children learn in the home, or the “ideal home” as Dewey phrases it, where they learn through practicing and participating.
Dewey describes a school where learning is an interactive process that encourages and productively directs the curiosity and motivation innate in all children. This means creating a learning community that treats students as individuals as well as a group, and utilizes hands on learning with a variety of accesible resources within a space conducive to learning. This is a real challenge to implement in real life whether due to the conditioning of students that makes them hesitant to these more interactive methods that ask more of them or limited resources available. In my experience working with young students, in after school programs and while teaching abroad, they are more comfortable being given the answers in a traditional lecture format than make guesses or work out the answer themselves. Being asked to do so often made them uncomfortable or confused though if they could get past the discomfort they enjoyed the experience more and did better on their work.