You are on page 1of 5

For this assignment I read Deweys book several times.

The first time was to get the general idea of this book. The second time I read it with a newfound knowledge resulting from the assigned readings I finished for both classes I was currently taking. The last reading was more of an opportunity for me to highlight areas of overlap between texts as well as critically reflect on how I can use the idea that adults are a reflection of their experiences in the classroom. By reading this book numerous times, I not only was I able to take many things away from it and see how Deweys ideas still apply to adult education today, this book also gave me a reference and a framework for which to reflect on and to improve my practice. From the very first chapter of this book, I noticed a prevailing idea of variability as well as using adults experiences in order to create your lessons while remembering that students will be at different areas regarding their experience continuum. I think this was shown frequently in this course. Galbraith (2004) states that, There is the implication that experience plays a strong role in the process of learning with adults (p. 361). With this in mind, I feel that it is important that an adult educator conduct some activities in the beginning to get to know what kind of experiences his or her students have had. Another quote from that made me think about what my goals are as a teacher as well as what kind of class I want to create is the quote that states, When education is based on experience and educative experience is seen as a social process, the situation changes radically. The teacher loses the position of external boss or dictator but takes on that of leader of group activities (Dewey 1938 p. 59). This is the kind of teacher that I want to be, a leader of group activities. It reminds me of the communities of practice that was mentioned in

our textbook (Kasworm et. al., 2010) I think in order to create my own community of practice there are many methods that I can use in the classroom. I do feel that there is a connection between education and experience (Dewey 1938). Also that the doing of an activity imprints an experience on your mind that good or bad will affect you in the future. From the first time I was scolded by my kindergarten teacher for coloring outside the lines and not following instructions to the first time I had a teacher ask me about my experiences with a certain topic we were studying at the time, these moments shaped who I am as a lifelong learner. Recognizing these experiences in myself that have shaped my idea of education is something that I want to reflect on in the hopes that knowing who I am will help me find ways to motivate others to become lifelong learners. Furthermore, forming relationships with students by reaching out to them as well as understanding what kind of community you are working in as a teacher are important ingredients in getting students to buy-in to your classroom and get them engaged. Dewey (1938) was correct in my opinion when he says, A primary responsibility of educators is that they not only be aware of the general principle of the shaping of actual experience by environing conditionsTraditional education did not have to face this problemThere was no demand that the teacher should become intimately acquainted with the conditions of the local community, physical historical, economic, occupational, etc., in order to utilize them as educational resource. A system of education based upon the necessary connection of education

with experience must, on the contrary, if faithful to principle, take these things into account (p. 40) Being an active member of the community that the students live in not only shows the student that you are taking part in the society that you are trying to prepare them for, it also gives you insights on how to motivate your students. The one community that I am definitely going to take advantage of is the Internet. I think Dewey would feel that the technology available to us today through bogs, wikis and podcasts are all forms of interaction that bring about positive situations. I think its great that through technology, teachers can create an online world that adds value to what the students are learning. Ive experienced this myself through participating in this online class through group projects and through our discussion forums. I can see how simply creating a class blog or wiki could bring about experiences that move toward growth (Dewey 1938). On top of these activities mentioned, I feel that taking some time to facilitate discussion through small groups and one-on-one discussions, is important to critically reflect on what the students are learning as well as help them understand where the foundation for their values and beliefs begin. Since I am a lifelong learner, I feel that it is important to have my students provide feedback as to how they think I am doing. I know this may be a painful experience at times, but according to Dewey (1938), The plan is a cooperative enterprise, not a dictation. The teachers suggestion is not a mold for a cast-iron result but is a starting point to be developed into a plan through contributions from the experience of all engaged in the learning process (p.72). This is why I want to make sure to spend time at the end of each week to have students reflect on what has been taught and

then address any issues they have at the beginning of the next class session. I value and want to hear what they have to say and I would like feedback on things like instruction style, certain lessons, any issues or problems they are having. By using these methods, I feel that students will not only be interested in every unit taught, but they will also be able to relate what is being taught in the classroom to the outside world as well as take part in a more democratic classroom. This book for me is like a book of proverbs that I know will influence my practice for a long time. I really admire John Dewey and his ideas are shown to be relevant in the adult education field today. I really admire John Dewey for creating educational ideas that are relevant to this day and am grateful that I have such a valuable resource now in my teaching toolbox.

References: Dewey, J. (1938). Experience & education. New York: Touchstone Kasworm, C.E., Rose, A.D., & Ross-Gordon, J.M. (2010). Handbook of adult and continuing education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.