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John Dewey

educational pragmatism

Dewey, John (1859–1952), U.S. philosopher and educator. Dewey founded the philosophical school known as instrumentalism (or experimentalism) and was the leading promoter of educational reform in the early years of the 20th century. Profoundly influenced by the pragmatism of William James, Dewey developed a philosophy in which ideas and concepts were validated by their practicality. He taught that “learning by doing” should form the basis of educational practice, though in later life he came to criticize the “progressive” movement in education, which, in abandoning formal tuition altogether, he felt had misused his educational theory.

See also: Pragmatism.

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