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Carl Rogers

by Saul McLeod published 2007, updated 2014


Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was a humanisticpsychologist who agreed with the main assumptions of Abraham
Maslow, but added that for a person to "grow", they need an environment that provides them with genuineness
(openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being
listened to and understood).
Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not
grow without sunlight and water.
Rogers believed that every person can achieve their goals, wishes and desires in life. When, or rather if they did
so, self actualization took place. This was one of Carl Rogers most important contributions to psychology and
for a person to reach their potential a number of factors must be satisfied.
Self Actualization
"The organism has one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing
organism (Rogers, 1951, p. 487).
Rogers rejected the deterministic nature of both psychoanalysis and behaviorism and maintained that we behave
as we do because of the way we perceive our situation. "As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the
best experts on ourselves."
Carl Rogers (1959) believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize - i.e. to
fulfill one's potential and achieve the highest level of 'human-beingness' we can. Like a flower that will grow to
its full potential if the conditions are right, but which is constrained by its environment, so people will flourish
and reach their potential if their environment is good enough.
However, unlike a flower, the potential of the individual human is unique, and we are meant to develop in
different ways according to our personality. Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative. They
become destructive only when a poor self-concept or external constraints override the valuing process. Carl
Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence.
This means that self-actualization occurs when a persons ideal self (i.e. who they would like to be) is
congruent with their actual behavior (self-image). Rogers describes an individual who is actualizing as a fully
functioning person. The main determinant of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood experience.
The Fully Functioning Person
Rogers believed that every person could achieve their goals, wishes, and desires in life. When they did so selfactualization took place. For Rogers (1961) people who are able be self-actualize, and that is not all of us, are
called fully functioning persons. This means that the person is in touch with the here and now, his or her
subjective experiences and feelings, continually growing and changing.

In many ways Rogers regarded the fully functioning person as an ideal and one that people do not ultimately
achieve. It is wrong to think of this as an end or completion of lifes journey; rather it is a process of always
becoming and changing.
Rogers identified five characteristics of the fully functioning person:
1. Open to experience: both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative
feelings are not denied, but worked through (rather than resorting to ego defence
mechanisms).
2. Existential living: in touch with different experiences as they occur in life, avoiding prejudging and
preconceptions. Being able to live and fully appreciate the present, not always looking back to the past
or forward to the future (i.e. living for the moment).
3. Trust feelings: feeling, instincts and gut-reactions are paid attention to and trusted. Peoples own
decisions are the right ones and we should trust ourselves to make the right choices.
4. Creativity: creative thinking and risk taking are features of a persons life. A person does not play
safe all the time. This involves the ability to adjust and change and seek new experiences.
5. Fulfilled life: person is happy and satisfied with life, and always looking for new challenges and
experiences.
For Rogers, fully functioning people are well adjusted, well balanced and interesting to know. Often such
people are high achievers in society. Critics claim that the fully functioning person is a product of Western
culture. In other cultures, such as Eastern cultures, the achievement of the group is valued more highly than the
achievement of any one person.
Personality Development
Central to Rogers' personality theory is the notion of self or self-concept. This is defined as "the organized,
consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself".
The self is the humanistic term for who we really are as a person. The self is our inner personality, and can be
likened to the soul, or Freud's psyche. The self is influenced by the experiences a person has in their life, and
out interpretations of those experiences. Two primary sources that influence our self-concept are childhood
experiences and evaluation by others.
According to Rogers (1959), we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our selfimage and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self. The closer our self-image and ideal-self
are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth.
A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to
them and is denied or distorted in the self-image.
The humanistic approach states that the self is composed of concepts unique to ourselves. The self-concept
includes three components:

Self worth (or self-esteem) what we think about ourselves. Rogers believed feelings of self-worth
developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and
father.
Self-image How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image
includes the influence of our body image on inner personality. At a simple level, we might perceive
ourselves as a good or bad person, beautiful or ugly. Self-image has an effect on how a person thinks,
feels and behaves in the world.
Ideal self This is the person who we would like to be. It consists of our goals and ambitions in life,
and is dynamic i.e. forever changing. The ideal self in childhood is not the ideal self in our teens or
late twenties etc.

Self Worth and Positive Regard

Carl Rogers (1951) viewed the child as having two basic needs: positive regard from other people and selfworth.
How we think about ourselves, our feelings of self-worth are of fundamental importance both to psychological
health and to the likelihood that we can achieve goals and ambitions in life and achieve self-actualization.
Self-worth may be seen as a continuum from very high to very low. For Carl Rogers (1959) a person who has
high self-worth, that is, has confidence and positive feelings about him or herself, faces challenges in life,
accepts failure and unhappiness at times, and is open with people.
A person with low self-worth may avoid challenges in life, not accept that life can be painful and unhappy at
times, and will be defensive and guarded with other people.
Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the
child with the mother and father. As a child grows older, interactions with significant others will affect feelings
of self-worth.

Rogers believed that we need to be regarded positively by others; we need to feel valued, respected, treated with
affection and loved. Positive regard is to do with how other people evaluate and judge us in social interaction.
Rogers made a distinction between unconditional positive regard and conditional positive regard.
Unconditional positive regard is where parents, significant others (and the humanist therapist) accepts
and loves the person for what he or she is. Positive regard is not withdrawn if the person does
something wrong or makes a mistake.
The consequences of unconditional positive regard are that the person feels free to try things out and
make mistakes, even though this may lead to getting it worse at times. People who are able to selfactualize are more likely to have received unconditional positive regard from others, especially their
parents in childhood.
Conditional positive regard is where positive regard, praise and approval, depend upon the child, for
example, behaving in ways that the parents think correct. Hence the child is not loved for the person he
or she is, but on condition that he or she behaves only in ways approved by the parent(s).
At the extreme, a person who constantly seeks approval from other people is likely only to have
experienced conditional positive regard as a child.

Congruence
A persons ideal self may not be consistent with what actually happens in life and experiences of the person.
Hence, a difference may exist between a persons ideal self and actual experience. This is called incongruence.
Where a persons ideal self and actual experience are consistent or very similar, a state of congruence exists.
Rarely, if ever, does a total state of congruence exist; all people experience a certain amount of incongruence.

The development of congruence is dependent on unconditional positive regard. Carl Rogers believed that for a
person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence.
According to Rogers, we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image
and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self.
The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the
higher our sense of self-worth. A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their
experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image.
Incongruence is "a discrepancy between the actual experience of the organism and the self-picture of the
individual insofar as it represents that experience.
As we prefer to see ourselves in ways that are consistent with our self-image, we may use defense
mechanisms like denial or repression in order to feel less threatened by some of what we consider to be our
undesirable feelings. A person whose self-concept is incongruent with her or his real feelings and experiences
will defend because the truth hurts.
Carl Rogers Quotes
"When I look at the world I'm pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic."
"The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it" (Rogers,
1961, p. 351).
"I have gradually come to one negative conclusion about the good life. It seems to me that the good life is not
any fixed state. It is not, in my estimation, a state of virtue, or contentment, or nirvana, or happiness. It is not a

condition in which the individual is adjusted or fulfilled or actualized. To use psychological terms, it is not a
state of drive-reduction, or tension-reduction, or homeostasis" (Rogers, 1967, p. 185-186).
"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination" (Rogers, 1967, p. 187).

Theory
Edit 122
Carl Rogers's Theory of Personality
Table of Contents
Carl Rogers's Theory of Personality
A Theory of Personality
The Development of Incongruence between Self and Experience
Summary
Carl Rogers was a humanist and psychotherapist. He believed if an individual attained selfactualisation they would be a fully functioning person living "the good life". By this, he means that the
individual would have a positive healthy psychological outlook, trust their own feelings and have
congruence in their lives between self and experience (Rogers 2004).

Return to top
Carl Roger's theory is phenomenological and idiographic. He believed that human nature is
"exquisitely rational" (Rogers, 2004 p 194). His theory came from his work as a psychotherapist. The
aim of the therapy is to facilitate a reintegration of the self-concept. Rogers believed that people know
what is causing the psychological imbalance in their lives and that deep down they know what they
need to do to regain their balance or self-actualisation to become "Fully Functioning" persons (Rogers
2004). Psychotherapy is the change agent that assists individuals in making personal changes to
regain balance and achieve their potential or self-actualisation.

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A Theory of Personality
Self-Actualisation: Rogers believed humans are born with a desire to be the best they can. Selfactualisation is the motivating force to achieving their full potential. As infants the main goal towards
self-actualisation is to have needs met e.g. to be fed.
Real Self: Defined as the underlying organismic self: What a person is capable of becoming if they
lived in an ideal world. An individual would have lived in an environment of unconditional positive
regard. Their parents would have accepted and loved them just as they are. Such individuals would
be psychologically healthy with a positive unconditional self-regard and the potential to attain selfactualisation. Unfortunately, such environments are rare and as result people develop
conditions of worth.
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Self-Concept: A person's perception of themselves is shaped by how others see them. The self is the
central construct in this theory. It is based largely on life experiences, social evaluation and the

attitude of the individual's significant other. If the individual experiences conditional positive regard
from their parents, the individual develops their parent's values and conditions of worth. If selfconcept is based on the values of the significant other this can give rise to incongruence between self
and experience.
Self-concept and conditions of worth are linked together and are important. They are guidelines as to
how people behave towards others because people value their opinion of themselves above their
own. This affects their decision making and can result in them doing things to please others rather
than satisfying their own needs. Conditions of worth reduce people's self-confidence, trust in their
own feelings and can affect their potential towards self-actualisation (Rogers 1986).
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The Development of Incongruence between Self and Experience
The need for self-regard or approval is enormous. Children are influenced by their parents and strive
for their approval by doing things to please them which make them feel more loved. However, if their
behaviour does not meet with their approval they feel less loved. They may then experience
incongruence between self and experience and this may lead to psychological maladjustment
hindering personal growth towards self-actualisation (Rogers as cited in Patterson 1977).

Positive Regard: "To feel that one is understood is to feel that one has made some kind of a positive
difference in the experience of another" (Rogers, 2004 p 343). If the individual experiences
unconditional love and does not develop conditions of worth there iscongruence between self and
experience.
The process of reintegration: In order for this to be successful, the individual must experience the
feelings of empathy, understanding and unconditional positive regard from a significant other. These
feelings reduce conditions of worth and encourage unconditional positive regard for others. They
increase self-regard and re-establishe congruence between self and experience (Maltby, Day and
Macaskill, 2010).
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Summary
As a result of his work as a psychotherapist, Carl Rogers developed his theory of personality and that
is for individuals to become "Fully Functioning" persons. The "Fully Functioning" person according to
Rogers is psychologically healthy, open to new experiences and aware of their own feelings and
those of others. They live in the now, fully immersed in their experience and not restricted by
conditions of worth or self-concepts. They are not afraid to make decisions based on their own
experiences, and they trust their own feelings of doing what is right and will accept the
consequences. They accept that life changes and they welcome the opportunity to use their creativity
in adapting to the new changes.
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Carl Rogers, core conditions and education

Carl Rogers, core conditions and education. Best known for his contribution to clientcentered therapy and his role in the development of counselling, Rogers also had much
to say about education and group work.
contents: introduction core conditions carl rogers on education rogers influence further reading
and references links how to cite this article

Carl Ransom Rogers (1902 1987) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and is best known as the
founder of client-centred or non-directive therapy. Rogers initially studied theology and as part of
his studies acted as the pastor in a small church in Vermont. However, he turned to clinical and
educational psychology, studying at Teachers College of Columbia University. There he grew into
clinical practice drawing on such diverse sources as Otto Rank and John Dewey (the latter through
the influence of W. H. Kilpatrick a former student of Deweys). This mix of influences and Carl
Rogers ability to link elements together helps to put into context his later achievements. The
concern with opening up to, and theorizing from experience, the concept of the human organism as a
whole and the belief in the possibilities of human action have their parallels in the work of John
Dewey. Carl Rogers was able to join these with therapeutic insights and the belief, borne out of his
practice experience, that the client usually knows better to how to proceed than the therapist.
Core conditions

Thorne argues that it is not too simplistic to, affirm that the whole conceptual framework of Carl
Rogers rests on his profound experience that human beings become increasingly trustworthy once
they feel at a deep level that their subjective experience is both respected and progressively
understood (1992: 26). We can see this belief at work in his best known contribution the core
conditions for facilitative (counselling and educational) practice congruence (realness), acceptance
and empathy).
Exhibit 1: Carl Rogers on the interpersonal relationship in the facilitation of learning

What are these qualities, these attitudes, that facilitate learning?


Realness in the facilitator of learning. Perhaps the most basic of these essential attitudes is
realness or genuineness. When the facilitator is a real person, being what she is, entering into a
relationship with the learner without presenting a front or a faade, she is much more likely to be
effective. This means that the feelings that she is experiencing are available to her, available to her
awareness, that she is able to live these feelings, be them, and able to communicate if appropriate. It
means coming into a direct personal encounter with the learner, meeting her on a person-to-person
basis. It means that she is being herself, not denying herself.
Prizing, acceptance, trust. There is another attitude that stands out in those who are successful
in facilitating learning I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing her feelings, her opinions, her
person. It is a caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring. It is an acceptance of this other
individual as a separate person, having worth in her own right. It is a basic trust a belief that this
other person is somehow fundamentally trustworthy What we are describing is a prizing of the
learner as an imperfect human being with many feelings, many potentialities. The facilitators prizing
or acceptance of the learner is an operational expression of her essential confidence and trust in the
capacity of the human organism.
Empathic understanding. A further element that establishes a climate for self-initiated
experiential learning is emphatic understanding. When the teacher has the ability to understand the

students reactions from the inside, has a sensitive awareness of the way the process of education and
learning seems to the student, then again the likelihood of significant learning is increased.
[Students feel deeply appreciative] when they are simply understood not evaluated, not judged,
simply understood from their own point of view, not the teachers. (Rogers 1967 304-311)
This orientation has a number of attractions for those seeking to work with the whole person and to
promote human flourishing. Notions ofwholeness overlap with what Carl Rogers describes as
congruence or realness; and the attitude embodied and conveyed by educators may be accepting and
valuing of the other (Rogers 1951). However, his third condition empathetic understanding does
raise a number of problems. Rogers emphasizes achieving a full an understanding of the other person
as is possible. This involves a willingness and ability to enter the private perceptual world of the client
without fear and to become thoroughly conversant with it (Thorne 1992: 31). Here we might argue
that inconversation, the task is not so much to enter and understand the other person, as to work for
understanding and commitment. This is not achieved simply by getting into the shoes of another.
Conversation involves working to bring together the insights and questions of the different parties; it
entails the fusion of a number of perspectives, not the entering into of one (Gadamer 1979: 271-3).
As Freire (1972: 63) put it, at the point of encounter, there are neither ignoramuses nor perfect sages;
there are only men who are attempting, together to learn more than they now know. In this respect,
we might be arguing for dialogical rather than person-centred, practice. There are problems when
the practitioner , concentrates on the other person as such rather than on the subject matter when
he looks at the other person, as it were, rather than with him at what the other attempts to
communicate (Linge 1976: xx).
On education

The strength of Rogers approach lies in part in his focus on relationship. As he once wrote, The
facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities that exist in the
personal relationshipbetween facilitator and learner(1990: 305). Freedom to Learn (1969; 1983;
1993) is a classic statement of educational possibility in this respect. However, he had already begun
to explore the notion of student-centred teaching in Client-Centered Therapy (1951: 384-429).
There, as Barrett-Lennard (1998: 184) notes, he offered several hypothesized general principles.
These included:
We cannot teach another person directly; we can only facilitate his learning.
The structure and organization of the self appears to become more rigid under threat; to
relax its boundaries when completely free from threat
The educational situation which most effectively promotes significant learning is one in
which 1) threat to the self of the learner is reduced a minimum, and 2) differentiated
perception of the field of experience is facilitated.
In this we can see something of Rogers debt to Dewey but something else had been added in his
particular concern with experience andselfhood. First, there is an interest in looking at the particular
issues, questions and problems that participants bring (this is not a stronglycurriculum-based
orientation and has some parallels with the subsequent interest in self-direction in learning). Second,

he draws in insights from more psychodynamic traditions of thinking (as did educators such as A. S.
Neill and Homer Lane).
Freedom to Learn brought together a number of existing papers along with new material including
a fascinating account of My way of facilitating a class. Significantly, this exploration brings out the
significant degree of preparation that Rogers involved himself in (including setting out aims, reading,
workshop structure etc.) (Barrett-Lennard 1998: 186). Carl Rogers was a gifted teacher. His approach
grew from his orientation in one-to-one professional encounters. He saw himself as a facilitator one
who created the environment for engagement. This he might do through making a short (often
provocative, input). However, what he was also to emphasize was the attitude of the facilitator. There
were ways of being with others that foster exploration and encounter and these are more
significant than the methods employed. His paper The interpersonal relationship in the facilitation of
learning is an important statement of this orientation (included in Hirschenbaum and Hendersons
[1990] collection and in Freedom to Learn). The danger in this is, of course, of underestimating the
contribution of teaching. There is a role for information transmission. Here Carl Rogers could be
charged with misrepresenting, or overlooking, his own considerable abilities as a teacher. His
apparent emphasis on facilitation and non-directiveness has to put alongside the guru-like status that
he was accorded in teaching encounters. What appears on the page as a question or an invitation to
explore something can be experienced as the giving of insight by participants in his classes.
Rogers influence

These elements do not, on their own, explain the phenomenal growth of the person-centred school of
psychotherapy. To explain this we have to look at the man and the moment. Carl Rogers was an
accomplished communicator both in person and through his writings and films. He was also a
committed practitioner who looked to his own experiences (and was, thus, difficult to dismiss as
academic). He was able to demystify therapy; to focus on the person of the counsellor and the client
(as against a concentration on technique and method); and crucially to emphasize honesty and the
destructiveness of manipulation. In the service of the latter Carl Rogers was extremely wary of
attempting to dig into, and make sense of the unconscious (and this could also be seen as a significant
weakness in his work in some quarters). In short, he offered a new way, a break with earlier
traditions. Crucially these concerns chimed with the interests of significant groups of people.
Psychologists wanting to enter the field of psychotherapy; case, pastoral and youth workers wanting
to develop their practice; lay people wanting to help or understand those with problems all could
get something from Rogers.
The history and focus of Carl Rogers work was one of the reasons why he has been so attractive to
successive generations of informal educators. This was a language to which they could relate. The
themes and concerns he developed seemingly had a direct relevance to their work with troubled
individuals. Informal educators also had access to these ideas. Rogers popularity with those
providing counselling training (at various levels) opened up his work to large numbers of workers.
Crucially the themes he developed were general enough to be applied to therapeutic work with groups
(for example, see his work on Encounter Groups (1970, New York: Harper and Row) and in
education. Significantly, Carl Rogers took up the challenge to explore what a person-centred form of
education might look like.

Carl Rogers has provided educators with some fascinating and important questions with regard to
their way of being with participants, and the processes they might employ. The danger in his work for
informal educators lays in what has been a point of great attraction his person-centredness.
Informal education is not so much person-centred as dialogical. A focus on the other rather than on
what lies between us could lead away from the relational into a rather selfish individualism. Indeed,
this criticism could also be made of the general direction of his therapeutic endeavours.
Further reading and references

Key texts
Here I have picked five key texts that both give a flavour of Rogers thinking and practice, and are of
direct relevance to the work of educators.
Kirschenbaum, H. and Henderson, V. L. (eds.) (1990) The Carl Rogers Reader, London: Constable.
An excellent collection of extracts and articles . Includes autobiographical material, discussion of the
therapeutic relationship, the person in process, theory and research, education, the helping
professions, and the philosophy of persons. Also explores the shape of a more human world. The 33
pieces are a good introduction to his work.
Rogers, C. R. (1961) On Becoming a Person. A therapists view of psychotherapy, Boston: Houghton
Mifflin (1967 London: Constable). His classic work exploring the process of becoming a person
and how personal growth can be facilitated. Also examines the place of research in psychotherapy; a
philosophy of persons; and the implications for living.
Rogers, C. (1970) Encounter Groups, New York: Harper and Row; London: Penguin. For Rogers
(1970) encounter groups held the possibility of our opening up to ourselves and to others. By
working for an environment characterized by certain core conditions genuiness (congruence),
acceptance and empathy group members could authentically encounter each other (and
themselves). They could begin to trust in their feelings and accept themselves for what they are.
Rogers, C. R. (1980) A Way of Being, Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A collection of articles and pieces
said to be a coda to On Becoming a Person. The first part examines Rogers personal experiences; the
second his professional thoughts and activities. The third section deals with education (including his
paper on learning in large groups). The final piece speculates on the transformations needed in
society.
Rogers, C. and Freiberg, H. J. (1993) Freedom to Learn (3rd edn.), New York: Merrill. Freedom to
Learn takes the principles that Carl Rogers developed in relation to counselling and reworks them in
the context of education. In other words, it is an exploration of how person-centred learning can be
used in schooling and other situations and the nature of facilitation. The third edition is a reworking
of the text by Freiberg. I personally prefer the earlier editions (1969; 1983).
Biographical material and commentaries

Rogers included autobiographical material in his writing. Indeed, one of his most important essays,
This is me in which he describes his family background and three key experiences with clients first
appeared in (1961) On Becoming a Person. See also:
Barrett-Lennard, G. T. (1998) Carl Rogers Helping System. Journey and substance, London: Sage.
425 + x pages. Very useful discussion of key concepts and key figures plus a discussion of research
relating to Rogers approach.
Cohen, D. (1997) Carl Rogers. A critical biography, London: Constable. 252 pages. New biography
only in hardback.
Kirschenbaum, H. (1979) On Becoming Carl Rogers, New York: Delacorte Press. Biography written
while Rogers was still alive but with some interesting insights into the development of his thought.
Thorne, B. (1992) Carl Rogers, London: Sage. Brian Thorne has provided us with a good introduction
to Rogers work and life. He also adds a twist of his own suggesting that Rogers represented, and
drew upon, a long-standing spiritual tradition.
References

Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, London: Penguin.


Gadamer, H-G. (1979) Truth and Method 2e, London: Sheed and Ward.
Linge, D. E. (1976) Editors intorduction to H-G. Gadamer Philosophical Hermeneutics, Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Rogers, C. R. (1951) Client-Centered Counselling, Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.
Links

Websites: Matt Ryan has collected some useful material around client centred therapy and
includes some links to pages concerning Carl Rogers. The focus, though, is on counselling rather than
his educational work. Client Centered Therapy. See, also Carl Rogers. There also some links
from Rogers personality and consciousness.
How to cite this article: Smith, M. K. (1997, 2004) Carl Rogers and informal education, the
encyclopaedia of informal education. [www.infed.org/thinkers/et-rogers.htm. Last update: May 29,
2012]
Acknowlegement: The picture of Carl Rogers is by Victor Borges. It was sourced from
openclipart.org and has been reproduced by the artist into the public
domain. http://openclipart.org/detail/20962/carl-rogers-by-victorborges and http://openclipart.org
/share.
Mark K. Smith 1997, 2004, 2014.

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Carl Rogers contribution to education


Edit 0 2
Nondirective," "client-centered," and "person-centered." are the terms Rogers used
successively, at different points in his career, for his method. This method involves removing
obstacles so the client can move forward, freeing him or her for normal growth and development. It
emphasizes being fully present with the client and helping the latter truly feel his or her own feelings,
desires, etc.. Being "nondirective" lets the client deal with what he or she considers important, at his
or her own pace.
Education. Rogers views our schools as generally rigid, bureaucratic institutions which are resistant
to change. Applied to education, his approach becomes "student-centered learning" in which the
students are trusted to participate in developing and to take charge of their own learning agendas.
The most difficult thing in teaching is to let learn.
Empathic understanding: to try to take in and accept a client's perceptions and feelings as if they
were your own, but without losing your boundary/sense of selve.
Personal growth. Rogers' clients tend to move away from facades, away from "oughts," and
away from pleasing others as a goal in itself. Then tend to move toward being real, toward
self-direction, and toward positively valuing oneself and one's own feelings. Then learn to
prefer the excitement of being a process to being something fixed and static. They c ome to
value an openness to inner and outer experiences, sensitivity-to and acceptance-of others as
they are, and develop greater abilityachieve close relationships.
Student-centred learning (also called child-centred learning) is an approach to education focusing
on the needs of the students, rather than those of others involved in the educational process, such as
teachers and administrators. This approach has many implications for the design of curriculum,
course content, and interactivity of courses.
For instance, a student-centred course may address the needs of a particular student audience to
learn how to solve some job-related problems using some aspects of mathematics. In contrast, a
course focused on learning mathematics might choose areas of mathematics to cover and methods
of teaching which would be considered irrelevant by the student.
Student-centred learning, that is, putting students first, is in stark contrast to existing
establishment/teacher-centred lecturing and careerism. Student-centred learning is focused on the
student's needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles with the teacher as a facilitator of learning.
This classroom teaching method acknowledges student voice as central to the learning experience
for every learner. Teacher-centred learning has the teacher at its centre in an active role and students
in a passive, receptive role. Student-centred learning requires students to be active, responsible
participants in their own learning.

Background
Traditionally, teachers were at the centre of learning with students assuming a receptive role in their
education. With research showing how people learn, traditional curriculum approaches to instruction
where teachers were at the centre gave way to new ways of teaching and learning. Key amongst
these changes is the idea that students actively construct their own learning (known
as constructivism). Theorists like John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky whose collective work
focused on how students learn is primarily responsible for the move to student-centred learning. Carl
Rogers' ideas about the formation of the individual also contributed to student-centred learning.
Student centred-learning means reversing the traditional teacher-centred understanding of the
learning process and putting students at the centre of the learning process.
Assessment of student-centred learning
One of the most critical differences between student-centered learning and teacher-centred learning
is in assessment. In student-centred learning, students participate in the evaluation of their learning.
This means that students are involved in deciding how to demonstrate their learning. Developing
assessment that support learning and motivation is essential to the success of student-centred
approaches. One of the main reasons teachers resist student-centred learning is the view of
assessment as problematic in practice. Since teacher-assigned grades are so tightly woven into the
fabric of schools, expected by students, parents and administrators alike, allowing students to
participate in assessment is somewhat contentious.
John Dewey
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the structural geologist, see John Frederick Dewey. For the Minnesotan territorial legislator,
see John J. Dewey.
John Dewey

Born

October 20, 1859


Burlington, Vermont, United States

Died

June 1, 1952 (aged 92)


New York City, New York, United
States

Alma mate University of Vermont


r
Johns Hopkins University

Era

20th-century philosophy

School

Pragmatism

Institution University of Michigan


s
University of Chicago
University of Chicago Laboratory
Schools
Columbia University
Main
interests

Philosophy of
education,epistemology, journalism, ethi
cs

Notable
ideas

Reflective thinking[1]
American Association of University
Professors
Immediate empiricism
Inquiry into Moscow show
trialsabout Trotsky
Educational progressivism

Influences[show]
Influenced[show]
John Dewey (/dui/; October 20, 1859 June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist,
and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey is
one of the primary figures associated with the philosophy of pragmatism and is considered one of the
founders of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002,
ranked Dewey as the 93rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century.[2] A well-known public
intellectual, he was also a major voice of progressive education and liberalism.[3][4] Although Dewey is

known best for his publications about education, he also wrote about many other topics,
including epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, art, logic, social theory, and ethics.
The overriding theme of Dewey's works was his profound belief in democracy, be it in politics,
education or communication and journalism. As Dewey himself stated in 1888, while still at the
University of Michigan, "Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are to my mind
synonymous."[5]
Known for his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elementsschools
and civil societyto be major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental
intelligence and plurality. Dewey asserted that complete democracy was to be obtained not just by
extending voting rights but also by ensuring that there exists a fully formed public opinion,
accomplished by communication among citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being
accountable for the policies they adopt.
Instructor: Adam Jordan
Adam is a special educator with a Ph.D. in Education
John Dewey is one of the most influential thinkers in the history of modern educational theory. In this
video, we will briefly explore his philosophical position and how his ideas have impacted education for
decades.
Introduction
John Dewey is nothing less than a rock star of modern education. His ideas and approaches to
schooling were revolutionary ideas during his lifetime and remain fundamentally important to modern
schooling today. In this video, we will take a brief look at the background of John Dewey as well as a
more in depth look at his educational philosophies and ideals. When we're done, you should be able
to describe Dewey, but more importantly, you should be able to identify his philosophy in action.
Biography
John Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont, on October 20, 1859. He was a bright kid, attending
college at the University of Vermont at only 15 years old! At the University of Vermont, Dewey focused
on the study of philosophy. Dewey graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1879. He then began his
teaching career. He taught two years of high school in Oil City, PA and one year of elementary school
in Charlotte, Vermont.
In 1884, Dewey received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and immediately began his
university teaching career at the University of Michigan. Dewey spent most of his early career there,
except for a one-year stint at the University of Minnesota. In 1894, Dewey left for the University of
Chicago, where he would become the head of the philosophy department. At the University of

Chicago, Dewey would work to develop much of his viewpoints that have lasted far beyond his time.
In 1904, Dewey would become a professor at Columbia University, where he would retire in 1930.
The Views of John Dewey
John Dewey is probably most famous for his role in what is called progressive
education. Progressive education is essentially a view of education that emphasizes the need to
learn by doing. Dewey believed that human beings learn through a 'hands on' approach. This places
Dewey in the educational philosophy ofpragmatism.
Pragmatists believe that reality must be experienced. From Dewey's educational point of view, this
means that students must interact with their environment in order to adapt and learn. Dewey felt that
the same idea was true for teachers and that teachers and students must learn together. His view of
the classroom was deeply rooted in democratic ideals, which promoted equal voice among all
participants in the learning experience.
How John Dewey Reformed Education
Dewey's pragmatic and democratic approach to schooling may not stand out as radical today, but in
the early and mid-1900s his view of education was in contradiction to much of the then-present
system of schooling. Dewey's approach was truly child-centered. A child-centered approach to
education places the emphasis of learning on the needs and interests of the child. In Dewey's view,
children should be allowed to explore their environments.
He believed in an interdisciplinary curriculum, or a curriculum that focuses on connecting multiple
subjects, where students are allowed to freely move in and out of classrooms as they pursue their
interests and construct their own paths for acquiring and applying knowledge. The role of the teacher
in this setting would be to serve more as a facilitator than an instructor. In Dewey's view, the teacher
should observe the interest of the students, observe the directions they naturally take, and then serve
as someone who helps develop problem-solving skills.
Traditionally, a teacher would stand in front of a group of students who are all sitting in rows. The
teacher is usually the deliverer of information and the job of the students is usually to receive this
information and regurgitate it in some form of a written test.
In contrast, in a classroom based on the ideas of John Dewey, you may see a teacher deliver
background content information, but you would also likely see students working in groups, with those
groups exploring differing concepts within the content. You would see lots of conversation and lots of

collaboration. While you may see a written test, you may also see student projects, presentations, or
other differentiated techniques of evaluation.
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By W. F. Warde (George Novack)


John Deweys Theories of Education

Written: 1960
Source: International Socialist Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, Winter 1960.
Transcription/Editing: 2005 by Daniel Gaido
HTML Markup: 2005 by David Walters
Public Domain:George Novak Internet Archive 2005; This work is
completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet
address and the publishing information above.

October 20, 1959 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of John Deweys


birthday. This eminent thinker of the Progressive movement was the
dominant figure in American education. His most valuable and enduring
contribution to our culture came from the ideas and methods he fathered
in this field.
Dewey won a greater international following for his educational reforms
than for his instrumentalist philosophy. Between the two World Wars,
where previously backward countries were obliged to catch up quickly with
the most modern methods, as in Turkey, Japan, China, the Soviet Union
and Latin America, the reshapers of the educational system turned toward
Deweys innovations for guidance.
Most broadly considered, Deweys work consummated the trends in
education below the university level initiated by pioneer pedagogues
animated by the impulses of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. This
was especially clear in his views on child education which built on ideas

first brought forward by Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Froebel in Western


Europe and by kindred reformers in the United States.
In its course of development on a world scale the democratic movement
forced consideration of the needs and claims of one section of the
oppressed after another. Out of the general cause of rights of the people
there sprouted specific demands voicing the grievances of peasants, wage
workers, the religiously persecuted, slaves, women, paupers, the aged, the
disabled, prisoners, the insane, the racially oppressed.
The movement to reform child education must be viewed in this
historical context. Children as such are not usually included among the
oppressed. Yet they necessarily compose one of the weakest, most
dependent and defenseless sections of the population. Each generation of
children is not only helped but hindered and hurt by the elders who
exercise direct control over them.
Just as society may deny satisfaction to the physical, educational and
cultural needs of the young, so their parents and guardians may slight or
ignore their rights. Most adults cannot be held individually culpable for
such misdeeds; they, too, have been shaped by the society around them
and are goaded by its necessities. Through them and others around them
the rising generation suffers from the inadequacies of their social
inheritance and the evils of their surroundings. Growing children are
normally unaware of the remoter social causes of their misfortunes and
miseries; even their elders may not know about them. So they direct their
resentments, as well as focus their affections, upon the members of their
immediate circle. The novels of the past 150 years provide plenty of
pathetic tales and tragic descriptions of family conflicts at all age levels.
Children cannot formulate their grievances collectively, or conduct
organized struggle for improvements in their conditions of life and mode
of education. Apart from individual explosions of protest, they must be
helped by spokesmen among adults who are sensitive to the troubles of the
young and are resolved to do something about remedying them.
However, the impulsion for educational reform does not come in the
first place from any abstract recognition of the deprivations suffered by the
young. It arises from reactions to widespread changes in the conditions of
life which affect all age groups. Their new situation forces both parents
and children to seek new ways of satisfying the new demands thrust upon
them. The child brought up in a tenement or an apartment in crowded city
streets has different needs and faces more complex and perplexing
problems than the child on a family farm. The families who have migrated
from Puerto Rico to Manhattan since the end of the Second World War
can testify to this.

The problems of readjustment differ somewhat according to the childs


social status. The class structure quickly impresses its stamp upon the
plastic personality, conditioning and regulating the relations between the
sexes, the rich and the poor, the upper, middle and lower classes. This
determines both the characteristics of the educational system and of the
children tutored and trained under it.
Each broad struggle against antiquated social and political conditions
since the French Revolution has evoked demands for the reconstruction of
the educational system. The kindergarten and child-play movement now
incorporated in our public schools was part and parcel of the ferment
created by the French Revolution. Thomas Jefferson first called for
national free public schools to defend and extend the newly won American
democracy. The utopian socialists, in accord with their understanding that
people were the products of their social environment, gave much thought
to the upbringing of children and introduced many now accepted
educational innovations.
The communist colony in New Harmony, Indiana, founded by Robert
Owen in 1826, pioneered a pattern in free, equal, comprehensive and
secular education that had yet to be realized throughout this country over
a century later. From the age of two the children were cared for and
instructed by the community. The youngest spent the day in play school
until they progressed to higher classes. There the Greek and Latin classics
were discarded; practice in various crafts constituted an essential part of
the program. The teachers aimed to impart what the children could most
readily understand, making use of concrete objects and avoiding
premature abstractions. They banished fear and all artificial rewards and
punishments and appealed instead to the spontaneous interest and
inclinations of the children as incentives for learning. Girls were on an
equal footing with boys.
The educational reformers of the late eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries dealt with the two distinct aspects of childrens problems. One
concerned the claims of childhood as a specific and independent stage in
human growth. This perennial problem arises from the efforts of adults to
subject growing children to ends foreign to their own needs and to press
them into molds shaped, not by the requirements of the maturing
personality, but by the external interests of the ruling order. Rousseau had
protested against this when he wrote:
Nature wants children to be children before they are men . . .
Childhood has ways of seeing, thinking, and feeling, peculiar to itself,
nothing can be more foolish than to substitute our ways for them.
The other involved efforts to reshape the obsolete system of schooling to
make it fit the revolutionary changes in social life. These two problems

were closely connected. The play school, for example, was devised not only
to care for the specific needs of very young children but also to meet new
needs which had grown out of the transformations in the family affected
by industrial and urban conditions; it was no longer a unit of production
as in feudal and colonial times but became more and more simply a center
of consumption.
Deweys theories blended attention to the child as an individual with
rights and claims of his own with a recognition of the gulf between an
outdated and class-distorted educational setup inherited from the past and
the urgent requirements of the new era.
The educational system had to be thoroughly overhauled, he said,
because of the deep-going changes in American civilization. Under
colonial, agrarian, small-town life, the child took part in household,
community and productive activities which spontaneously fostered
capacities for self-direction, discipline, leadership and independent
judgment. Such worthwhile qualities were discouraged and stunted by the
new industrialized, urbanized, atomized conditions which had
disintegrated the family and weakened the influence of religion.
In the city the training of children became one-sided and distorted
because intellectual activities were dissociated from practical everyday
occupations. Dewey wrote:
While the child of bygone days was getting an intellectual discipline
whose significance he appreciated in the school, in his home life he was
securing acquaintance in a direct fashion with the chief lines of social and
industrial activity. Life was in the main rural. The child came into contact
with the scenes of nature, and was familiarized with the care of domestic
animals, the cultivation of the soil, and the raising of crops. The factory
system being undeveloped, the house was the center of industry. Spinning,
weaving, the making of clothes, etc., were all carried on there.
As there was little accumulation of wealth, Dewey continued, the
child had to take part in these, as well as to participate in the usual round
of household occupations. Only those who have passed through such
training, [as Dewey himself did in Vermont], and, later on, have seen
children raised in city environments, can adequately realize the amount of
training, mental and moral, involved in this extra-school life ... It was not
only an adequate substitute for what we now term manual training, in the
development of hand and eye, in the acquisition of skill and deftness; but
it was initiation into self-reliance, independence of judgment and action,
and was the best stimulus to habits of regular and continuous work.
In the urban and suburban life of the child of today this is simply
memory, he went on to point out. The invention of machinery, the

institution of the factory system, the division of labor, have changed the
home from a workshop into a simple dwelling place. The crowding into
cities and the increase of servants [!] have deprived the child of an
opportunity to take part in those occupations which still remain. Just at
the time when a child is subjected to a great increase in stimulus and
pressure from his environment, he loses the practical and motor training
necessary to balance his intellectual development. Facility in acquiring
information is gained; the power of using it is lost. While need of the more
formal intellectual training in school has decreased, there arises an urgent
demand for the introduction of methods of manual and industrial
discipline which shall give the child what he formerly obtained in his home
and social life. The old schooling had to be renovated for still another
reason. The curriculum and mode of colonial education had been largely
shaped by medieval concepts and aims. The schools were controlled by the
clergy and access to them was restricted to the favored few, the wealthy
and well born. The teacher tyrannized over the classroom, imposing a
schematic routine upon a passive, obedient, well-drilled student body.
In The School and Society Dewey pointed out how haphazardly the
existing school organization had grown up. It was composed of oddly
assorted and poorly fitting parts, fashioned in different centuries and
designed to serve different needs and even conflicting social interests.
The crown of the system, the university, had come down from medieval
times and was originally intended to cater to the aristocracy and train an
elite for such professions as law, theology and medicine. The high school
dated from the nineteenth century when it was instituted to care for the
demands from commerce and industry for better-trained personnel. The
grammar school was inherited from the eighteenth century when it was
felt that boys ought to have the minimum ability to read, write and
calculate before being turned out to shift for themselves. The kindergarten
was a later addition arising from the breakup of the family and the home
by the industrial revolution.
A variety of specialized institutions had sprung up alongside this official
hierarchy of education. The normal or teachers training school produced
the teachers demanded by the expansion of public education in the
nineteenth century. The trade and technical school turned out skilled
craftsmen needed for industry and construction.
Thus the various parts of our educational system ranged from
institutions of feudal formation like the university to such offshoots of
industrial capitalism as the trade school. But no single consistent principle
or purpose of organization unified the whole.
Dewey sought to supply that unifying pattern by applying the principles
and practices of democracy, as he interpreted them, consistently

throughout the educational system. First, the schools would be freely


available to all from kindergarten to college. Second, the children would
themselves carry on the educational process, aided and guided by the
teacher. Third, they would be trained to behave cooperatively, sharing
with and caring for one another. Then these creative, well-adjusted
equalitarians would make over American society in their own image.
In this way the opposition between the old education and the new
conditions of life would be overcome. The progressive influences radiating
from the schools would stimulate and fortify the building of a democratic
order of free and equal citizens.
The new school system envisaged by Dewey was to take over the
functions and compensate for the losses sustained by the crumbling of the
old institutions clustered around the farm economy, the family, the church
and the small town. The school, he wrote, must be made into a social
center capable of participating in the daily life of the community . . . and
make up in part to the child for the decay of dogmatic and fixed methods
of social discipline and for the loss of reverence and the influence of
authority. Children were to get from the public school whatever was
missing in their lives elsewhere that was essential for their balanced
development as members of a democratic country.
He therefore urged that manual training, science, nature-study, art and
similar subjects be given precedence over reading, writing and arithmetic
(the traditional three Rs) in the primary curriculum. The problems raised
by the exercise of the childs motor powers in constructive work would
lead naturally, he said, into learning the more abstract, intellectual
branches of knowledge.
Although Dewey asserted that activities involving the energetic side of
the childs nature should take first place in primary education, he objected
to early specialized training or technical segregation in the public schools
which was dictated, not by the individual needs or personal preferences of
the growing youth, but by external interests.
The question of how soon vocational training should begin had been
under debate in educational circles since the days of Benjamin Franklin.
The immigrants, working and middle classes regarded education, not as
an adornment or a passport to aristocratic culture, but as indispensable
equipment to earn a better living and rise in the social scale. They
especially valued those subjects which were conducive to success in
business. During the nineteenth century private business colleges were set
up in the cities to teach the mathematics, bookkeeping, stenography and
knowledge of English required for business offices. Mechanics institutes
were established to provide skilled manpower for industry.

These demands of capitalist enterprise invaded the school system and


posed the question of how soon children were to be segregated to become
suitable recruits for the merchant princes and captains of industry. One of
the early nineteenth century promoters of free public education, Horace
Mann, appealed both to the self-interest of the people and to the cupidity
of the industrialists for support of his cause on the ground that elementary
education alone could properly prepare the youth for work in the field,
shop or office and would increase the value of labor. Education has a
market value; that it is so far an article of merchandise, that it can be
turned to pecuniary account; it may be minted, and will yield a larger
amount of statutable coin than common bullion, he said.
Dewey, following his co-educator, Francis Parker, rejected so
commercial-minded an approach to elementary education. They opposed
slotting children prematurely into grooves of capitalist manufacture. The
business of education is more than education for the sake of business, they
declared. They saw in too-early specialization the menace of uniformity
and the source of a new division into a master and a subject class.
Education should give every child the chance to grow up spontaneously,
harmoniously and all-sidedly. Instead of trying to split schools into two
kinds, one of a trade type for children whom it is assumed are to be
employees and one of a liberal type for the children of the well-to-do, it
will aim at such a reorganization of existing schools as will give all pupils a
genuine respect for useful work, an ability to render service, and a
contempt for social parasites whether they are called tramps or leaders of
society. Such a definition did not please those who looked upon
themselves as preordained to the command posts of the social system.
Each stage of child development, as Gesells experiments and
conclusions have proved, has its own dominant needs, problems, modes of
behavior and reasoning. These special traits required their own methods
of teaching and learning which had to provide the basis for the educational
curriculum.
The kindergarten was the first consciously to adopt the methods of
instruction adapted to a particular age group. Dewey extended this
approach from pre-school age to primary and secondary schooling. Each
grade ought to be child-centered, not externally oriented, he taught. The
actual interests of the child must be discovered if the significance and
worth of his life is to be taken into account and full development achieved.
Each subject must fulfill present needs of growing children . . . The
business of education is not, for the presumable usefulness of his future, to
rob the child of the intrinsic joy of childhood involved in living each single
day, he insisted.

Children must not be treated as miniature adults or merely as means for


ministering to adult needs, now or later. They had their own rights.
Childhood was as much a period of consummation and of enjoyment of life
on its own terms as it was a prelude to later life. The first should not be
sacrificed to the second on penalty of wronging the child, robbing him of
his just due and twisting his personality development.
Socially desirable qualities could not be brought forth in the child by
pouring a ready made curriculum into a passive vessel. They could be most
easily and fully developed by guiding the normal motor activities,
irrepressible inquisitiveness and outgoing energies of the child along the
lines of their greatest interest.
Interest, not outside pressure, mobilizes the maximum effort in
acquiring knowledge as well as in performing work. The authoritarian
teacher, the cut-and-dried curriculum, the uniform procession from one
grade to the next and the traditional fixed seats and desks laid out in rows
within the isolated and self-contained classroom were all impediments to
enlightened education. Whenever the occasion warranted, children should
be permitted to go outdoors and enter the everyday life of their community
instead of being shut up in a classroom where each pupil sits at a screwed
down desk and studies the same part of some lesson from the same
textbook at the same time. The child could freely realize his capacities
only in an unobstructed environment.
The child learns best through direct personal experience. In the primary
stage of education these experiences should revolve around games and
occupations analogous to the activities through which mankind satisfies its
basic material needs for food, clothing, shelter and protection. The city
child is far removed from the processes of production: food comes from
the store in cans and packages, clothing is made in distant factories, water
comes from the faucet.
The school has to give children, not only an insight into the social
importance of such activities, but above all the opportunities to practice
them in play form. This leads naturally into the problem or project
method which has come to be identified with the essence of the
progressive procedure.
Children soak up knowledge and retain it for use when they are
spontaneously induced to look into matters of compelling interest to
themselves. They progress fastest in learning, not through being
mechanically drilled in prefabricated material, but by doing work,
experimenting with things, changing them in purposive ways.
Occasionally children need to be alone and on their own. But in the
main they will learn more by doing things together. By choosing what their

group would like to do, planning their work, helping one another do it,
trying out various ways and means of performing the tasks, involved and
discovering what will forward the project, comparing and appraising the
results, the youngsters would best develop their latent powers, their skill,
understanding, self-reliance and cooperative habits.
The questions and answers arising from such joint enterprises would
expand the childs horizon by linking his immediate activities with the
larger life of the community. Small children of six or seven who take up
weaving, for example, can be stimulated to inquire into the cultivation of
cotton, its processes of manufacture, the history of spinning devices. Such
lines of inquiry emerging from their own interests and occupations would
open windows upon the past, introduce them naturally to history,
geography, science and invention, and establish vivid connections between
what they are doing in school and the basic activities of human existence.
Participation in meaningful projects, learning by doing, encouraging
problems and solving them, not only facilitates the acquisition and
retention of knowledge but fosters the right character traits: unselfishness,
helpfulness, critical intelligence, individual initiative, etc. Learning is more
than assimilating; it is the development of habits which enable the
growing person to deal effectively and most intelligently with his
environment. And where that environment is in rapid flux, as in modern
society, the elasticity which promotes readjustment to what is new is the
most necessary of habits.
Dewey aimed to integrate the school with society, and the processes of
learning with the actual problems of life, by a thoroughgoing application of
the principles and practices of democracy. The school system would be
open to all on a completely free and equal basis without any restrictions or
segregation on account of color, race, creed, national origin, sex or social
status. Group activity under self-direction and self-government would
make the classroom a miniature republic where equality and consideration
for all would prevail.
This type of education would have the most beneficial social
consequences. It would tend to erase unjust distinctions and prejudices. It
would equip children with the qualities and capacities required to cope
with the problems of a fast-changing world. It would produce alert,
balanced, critical-minded individuals who would continue to grow in
intellectual and moral stature after graduation.
The Progressive Education Association, inspired by Deweys ideas, later
codified his doctrines as follows:
1. The conduct of the pupils shall be governed by themselves, according
to the social needs of the community.

2. Interest shall be the motive for all work.


3. Teachers will inspire a desire for knowledge, and will serve as guides
in the investigations undertaken, rather than as task-masters.
4. Scientific study of each pupils development, physical, mental, social
and spiritual, is absolutely essential to the intelligent direction of his
development.
5. Greater attention is paid to the childs physical needs, with greater use
of the out-of-doors.
6. Cooperation between school and home will fill all needs of the childs
development such as music, dancing, play and other extra-curricular
activities.
7. All progressive schools will look upon their work as of the laboratory
type, giving freely to the sum of educational knowledge the results of their
experiments in child culture. These rules for education sum up the
theoretical conclusions of the reform movement begun by Colonel Francis
Parker and carried forward by Dewey at the laboratory school he set up in
1896 with his first wife in connection with the University of Chicago. With
his instrumentalist theory of knowledge as a guide, Dewey tried out and
confirmed his new educational procedures there with children between the
ages of four and fourteen.
This work was subsequently popularized by the leading faculty members
of Teachers College in New York after Dewey transferred from Chicago to
Columbia University. From this fountainhead Deweys ideas filtered
throughout most of the teachers training schools and all the grades of
public instruction below the university level. His disciples organized a
John Dewey Society and the Progressive Education Association and have
published numerous books and periodicals to propagate and defend his
theories.
Deweys progressive ideas in education have had a curious career.
Despite the criticisms they have received from the right and from the left,
and even within Progressive circles, they have no serious rival. Today, on
the century of his birth, they are the accepted and entrenched creed on
education from Maine to California.
Yet this supremacy in the domain of educational theory has not been
matched by an equivalent reconstruction of the educational system.
Deweys ideas have inspired many modifications in the traditional
curriculum, in the techniques of instruction, in the pattern of school
construction. But they have not changed the basis or the essential

characteristics of the school system, and certainly not the class


stratification of American society.
Such restricted results are not a very good testimonial for the principal
product of a philosophy which demands that the merits of a theory be
tested and judged by its ability to transform a defective situation,
How is this ineffectiveness in practice to be explained? If Deweys
procedures, ideas and aims are so admirableas they arewhy after fifty
years havent they succeeded in accomplishing more in the spheres of
educational and social reform? Why have they fallen so far short of
expectations and even become one of the favorite targets of reaction?
[First of a series of two. Next: What Happened to Deweys Theories?]
Trotskys Tribute to Dewey
Credit for the definitive exposure of the infamous MOSCOW frame-up
trials engineered by Joseph Stalin, goes to the Commission of Inquiry
into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials. This
impartial body was headed by John Dewey and conducted hearings in
Coyoacan, Mexico, from April 10 to April 17, 1937, hearing the testimony
of Trotsky and examining a massive amount of documentary evidence.
After nine months of work in consultation with its legal advisor, John
Finerty, of worldwide fame in the defense of Tom Mooney and of Sacco
and Vanzetti, the Commission made its report which was published in
1938 by Harpers & Brothers under the title, Not Guilty. At the hearing,
in one of the great speeches of our time, Trotsky summarized his defense,
concluding with a tribute to Dewey and the Commission:
Esteemed Commissioners! The experience of my life, in which there
has been no lack either of successes or of failures, has not only not
destroyed my faith in the clear, bright future of mankind, but, on the
contrary, has given it an indestructible temper. This faith in reason, in
truth, in human solidarity, which at the age of eighteen I took with me into
the workers quarters of the provincial Russian town of Nikolaievthis
faith I have preserved fully and completely. In the very fact of your
Commissions formationin the fact that, at its head, is a man of
unshaken moral authority, a man who by virtue of his age should have the
right to remain outside of the skirmishes in the political arenain this fact
I see a new and truly magnificent reinforcement of the revolutionary
optimism which constitutes the fundamental element of my life.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Commission! Mr. Attorney Finerty and
you, my defender and friend, Goldman! Allow me to express to all of you
my warm gratitude, which in this case does not bear a personal character.
And allow me, in conclusion, to express my profound respect to the

educator, philosopher and personification of genuine American idealism,


the scholar who heads the work of your Commission.

Philosophy Subject Index


George Novack Internet Archive

John Dewey - The Child and The Curriculum

Contents
[hide]

1 John Dewey - Foundations of Multicultural Curriculum

2 The Child and The Curriculum, John Dewey 1902

3 Conclusions and Recommendations

4 References

5 Author

John Dewey - Foundations of Multicultural Curriculum


John Dewey was born in 1859 in the small New England village of Burlington Vermont. His
experiences in school contributed to his child-centered education philosophy. The elementary school
Dewey attended had no grade levels for younger students, and instruction focused on the basics,
using repetitive drills. In the upper grades, his English teacher's grammar explanation consisted of:
"There is a rule against that". He attended college at the University of Vermont, where he learned
about a more Continental philosophy that questioned the foundations of his Scottish education. His
wife who he met and married during this period sparked his interests in early education, feminism,
socialism, and the labor movement. (Peterson, 2010).

Carmichael (1971) observed that the world might have changed more during the time period of John
Dewey's life, than any comparable time in history. These changes included the abolition of slavery,
distribution of electricity, transportation by automobile, start and end of two world wars, and rise of
many new revolutionary ideas. As a philosopher, logician, and educator, Dewey's views on man and
society contributed to these movements in the twentieth century.
The Child and The Curriculum, John Dewey 1902
John Dewey recognized that "children's development and learning were anything but rational and
orderly, he and his followers advocated a child-centered and community-centered curriculum to give
students experiences that make rigorous intellectual demands in the contexts of democratic social
living" (Lipton & Oaks, 2007).
John Dewey's book, The Child and The Curriculum, looks at the process of education from both
perspectives child and curriculum. Dewey leads the reader to view the curriculum, what the child
must learn, from the child's present state of mind. He also considers the teachers point of view as the
vehicle that imparts and delivers the curriculum.
Dewey understood that the structure of a child's mind is far different from that of an adult. A child does
not have a framework in which to classify and place all the information he is receiving. The child is still
developing both the context and the framework to process information about the world around him.
The child's interests lie in the world of persons and relationships as opposed to that of facts and laws.
Dewey identified three factors in the fundamental divergence between the child and the curriculum.
The child's experience is narrow and personal, but the world is vast extending both in space and time.
He sees a unity, wholeheartedness, where the curriculum is specialized, and divided. The childs life
is practical and focused on emotional bonds; the curriculum is an abstract principal of logical
classification. These factors are summarized in the following table:
Divergence Factors
Child
World View

Narrow, personal

Curriculum
Extends in space and time

Perspective Unity, wholeness

Specialized, divided, categorized

Focus

Abstract principles, logical classification

Emotional bonds, practical skills

The struggles the child faces when confronted with the curriculum he must learn become clear when
considered from both perspectives. If a middle ground is not established, Dewey identifies the key
negative impacts to learning that will result:
There is no organic connection with what he has already experienced. Today this is called prior
knowledge, or context. Without this connection there is nothing to link the knowledge to, it becomes a
rule, only to be learned and recited. The child becomes accustomed to accumulating and reciting
facts.
The child has no internal motivation, no need or desire to learn the material. The interest and
motivation are to avoid scolding or ridicule.
There is no quality of experience when information is presented in this external ready-made
fashion. Without the delight of discovery the connection is not locked in, the material becomes
commonplace, flat, just stuff to be learned.
John Dewey with the assistance and support of his wife Alice developed and tested these ideas in the
University of Chicago Laboratory School. John was the director and Alice the principal of the school.
These philosophical educational doctrines that he concisely expressed in this book shaped the
direction of American education.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Consider the cultural diversity of todays society. The ideas identified by Dewey a century ago form
the rationale and requirement for a multicultural curriculum. Look at your curriculum through the eyes
of your students. Do all your students have the experiences, the background knowledge, to relate to
the lesson you are teaching? Are you allowing students to make discoveries by making connections
themselves, or are you simply conveying information? Are all the math manipulatives neatly
organized on your shelves and never touched, or are they well worn from use every day? Do you use
the funds of knowledge students from other cultures bring to your classroom? Does the student
attending Chinese School on Saturdays teach the class to count to 10 in Chinese? Then with your
students do you explore the origins of our Arabic number system?
John Dewey knew from both the personal experience, and active research, that the curriculum and
the child must meet on the child's terms. This book explains how and why curriculum must provide
the opportunity to explore, experience, and connect information, so the child truly understands and
internalizes the abstract principles, the logical classifications, the space and time, constructing the
worldview that is specified by the curriculum.

References
Carmichael, L., & Dewey, J. (1971). The Child and the Curriculum and The School and Society.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Lipton, M., & Oaks, J. (2007). Philosopy and Politics. Teaching to Change the World (p. 86). New
York, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Peterson, P. E. (2010), John Dewey and the Progressives, Saving Schools From Horace Mann to
Virtual Learning (pp 37 50). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press.
Author
Mary Snow UNM College of Education

Sempozyum:
I. Uluslararas Eitim Programlar ve retim Kongresi

John Dewey and Curriculum Development


Nevin SAYLAN
Balkesir University

Rukiye FTOLU

Balkesir University

Abstract :
John Dewey is one of the pioneering figure living between 1859-1952, giving shape
American

Education, as an critic, philosophy, physocology. Deweys studies interest was public and
individual whosecenters were education. In the first part of his carrier, he embarked on
Hegels idealizm, later he advocated
pragmatizm because according to him idealizm was strict and not practical. He
emphasized on functionality andpracticibility of pragmatizm. From this point of view, he
suggested that education should be operative, and make
learners life easier and he asserted
that pragmatizm could do these. With this education philosophy, he aimed tocombine
theory and practice, he gave importance on how people think rather than what they
think, so heemphasized on the process of education. Accordingly, Dewey defended that
education must be life itself not preperation for it, social and individualdevelopment
would be possible thanks to education. In education, he accepted the experince as focus
point ineducation, and defined it as a mean for learning. During the learning pr
ocess, teachers role were guiding while
students were experiencing,and teaching and learning envoirment be designed to enable
this. 54 According to
Dewey, schools and curriculum, as in education, should based on individuals and
societies interests and a
bilitiesand contributed to their self developments and also prepare them for the future
life. In this study, according to
these ideas, it is tried to answered the question ?What are Deweys ideas on curriculum
development?.
It is aimed to depict Deweys
ideas on curriculum development by analyzinghis opinions on the philosophy,education,
experience, school, society, individual and curriculum. In this study, the document
analyses methodwas used for the aim. This method includes analyses on the documents
that include informations about facts and
events. Deweys ideas about curriculum development were determined by analyzing
Deweys opinions on
philosphy, education, experience, school, society individual, curriculum from both his
own books and other articleswritten by different people.Dewey indicated that individual
and social development might be possible with the education and during theeducational
process having an experince was important by which was gained with the interaction of
individual andsocial aims, values and meanings. According to him, experince should be
educatory and teachers should preparean envoirment which makes possible to students
to get richer experiences. For him, schools were socialenvoirnments which be
appropriate to the indi

viduals abilities and helped them to develop their capacities. Hedefined society as a
group of people who moved towards the mutual goals. In preparing curriculum,
individuals
abilities, needs and intrest should be regarded.
While a curriculum designed a philopsy should take into the base and all of the elements
of the curriculum were ininteraction with that philosopy. Dewey asserted that there were
three sources of curriculum development whichwere individual, society and subjectmatter and these three were within interaction with each other. Depending onthese
sources, there should be a curriculum development model taking individual and/or
society to the centre. According to him, whichever of these sources taken into centre,
students should be active, and the emphasisshould be on application, education
philosophy, social and individual needs and also experinces. Besides,curriculum must be
a continual process and had circular structure.
Keywords :

experience
,
individual
,
society
,
curriculum and curriculum development
,
EDUCATION
Investments in expanding any level and type of education in general lead to higher lifetime earnings and valuable contribution to society. The costs are more than offset by the
future value of a more educated work force. But, some education investments are far
more profitable than others.
Targets with the highest benefit-cost ratio are:

Increase the preschool enrollment ratio in Sub-Saharan Africa from the present
18% to 59% - for every dollar spent the benefit is 33 dollars.

Increase the primary education enrollment ratio in Sub-Saharan Africa from 75% to
100% - returns $7 back on the dollar.

Improve school quality by increasing student test scores by one standard deviation
- benefits are worth 4 times the cost.
A valuable target within the focus area is:

Ensure secondary school completion has a benefit of $4 for every dollar spent.
The following targets are relatively ineffective or there is large uncertainty regarding the
benefit-cost ratio:

Provide vocational education within the main school system.

Education and training programs for older workers

Scroll down to read our series of reports examining education targets for the post-2015
development agenda, written by leading economists and experts.
Theoretical Contributions Dewey Made to Early Childhood Education

Dewey is admired as the greatest educational thinker of the 20th


century. John Dewey's focus on education was a unique element of
his philosopical thinking and writing. Although he did not coin the phrase progressive
education, it has come to be associated with

Dewey.http://www.uvm.edu/~dewey/articles/proged.html Progressive education


according to Dewey, was a wild swing in the philosophical pendulum, against traditional
education methods. In progressive education, freedom was the rule, with students being
relatively unconstrained by the educator. The problem with progressive education, said
Dewey, is that freedom alone is no solution. Learning needs a structure and order, and
must be based on a clear theory of experience, not simply the whim of teachers or
students.
His theory of experience continues to be read and discussed not only within education,
but also in psychology and philosophy.
In the late 1920s and 1930s, John Dewey became famous for pointing out that the
authoritarian, strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education
was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding
students actual experiences.
Dewey became the champion, or philosophical father of experiential education or as it
was then referred to, progressive education. But he was also critical of completely free,
student-driven education because students often dont know how to structure their own
learning experiences for maximum benefits.
Why do so many students hate school? It seems an obvious, but ignored question.
Dewey said that an educator must take into account the unique differences between
each student. Each person is different genetically and in terms of past experiences. Even
when a standard curricula is presented using established pedagogical methods, each
student will have a different quality of experience. Thus, teaching and curriculum must
be designed in ways that allow for such individual differences.
For Dewey, education also serves a broader social purpose, which was to help people
become more effective members of a democratic society. Dewey argued that the oneway delivery style of authoritarian schooling does not provide a good model for life in
democratic society. Instead, students need educational experiences which enable them
to become valued, equal, and responsible members of society.
Thus, Dewey proposed that education be designed on the basis of a theory of
experience. We must understand the nature of how humans have the experiences they
do, in order to design effective education. In this respect, Dewey's theory of experience
rested on two central tenets -- continuity and interaction.
I found a very interesting website from
scholastics.comhttp://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3424
This article, written by the Early Childhood Today Editorial Staff, is about how John Dewey
knew that, out of necessity, even the youngest children participated in household chores
and activities, and he quickly recognized the wonderful learning opportunities these
everyday experiences provided. He came to believe that the child's own instincts,
activities, and interests should be the starting point of education.
Continuity refers to the notion that humans are sensitive to (or are affected by)
experience. Humans survive more by learning from experience after they are born than
do many other animals who rely primarily on pre-wired instinct. In humans, education is

critical for providing people with the skills to live in society. Dewey argued that we learn
something from every experience, whether positive or negative and ones accumulated
learned experience influences the nature of one's future experiences. Thus, every
experience in some way influences all potential future experiences for an individual.
Continuity refers to this idea that each experience is stored and carried on into the
future, whether one likes it or not.
Interaction builds upon the notion of continuity and explains how past experience
interacts with the present situation, to create one's present experience and perspective.
Dewey's hypothesis was that a current experience can be understood as a function of
ones past (stored) experiences which interacting with the present situation to create an
individual's experience. This explains the "one man's meat is another man's poison"
maxim. Any situation can be experienced in profoundly different ways because of unique
individual differences e.g., one student loves school, another hates the same school. This
is important for educators to understand. While they can't control students' past
experiences, they can try to understand those past experiences so that better
educational situations can be presented to the students. Ultimately, all a teacher has
control over is the design of the present situation. The teacher with good insight into the
effects of past experiences which students bring with them better enables the teacher to
provide quality education which is relevant and meaningful for the students.
http://books.google.com/books?
id=98kVAAAAIAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Dewey&pgis=1
posted by angelica brown at 10:25 pm
Theoretical Contributions Dewey Made to Early Childhood Education

Dewey is admired as the greatest educational thinker of the 20th


century. John Dewey's focus on education was a unique element of

his philosopical thinking and writing. Although he did not coin the phrase progressive
education, it has come to be associated with
Dewey.http://www.uvm.edu/~dewey/articles/proged.html Progressive education
according to Dewey, was a wild swing in the philosophical pendulum, against traditional
education methods. In progressive education, freedom was the rule, with students being
relatively unconstrained by the educator. The problem with progressive education, said
Dewey, is that freedom alone is no solution. Learning needs a structure and order, and
must be based on a clear theory of experience, not simply the whim of teachers or
students.
His theory of experience continues to be read and discussed not only within education,
but also in psychology and philosophy.
In the late 1920s and 1930s, John Dewey became famous for pointing out that the
authoritarian, strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education
was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding
students actual experiences.
Dewey became the champion, or philosophical father of experiential education or as it
was then referred to, progressive education. But he was also critical of completely free,
student-driven education because students often dont know how to structure their own
learning experiences for maximum benefits.
Why do so many students hate school? It seems an obvious, but ignored question.
Dewey said that an educator must take into account the unique differences between
each student. Each person is different genetically and in terms of past experiences. Even
when a standard curricula is presented using established pedagogical methods, each
student will have a different quality of experience. Thus, teaching and curriculum must
be designed in ways that allow for such individual differences.
For Dewey, education also serves a broader social purpose, which was to help people
become more effective members of a democratic society. Dewey argued that the oneway delivery style of authoritarian schooling does not provide a good model for life in
democratic society. Instead, students need educational experiences which enable them
to become valued, equal, and responsible members of society.
Thus, Dewey proposed that education be designed on the basis of a theory of
experience. We must understand the nature of how humans have the experiences they
do, in order to design effective education. In this respect, Dewey's theory of experience
rested on two central tenets -- continuity and interaction.
I found a very interesting website from
scholastics.comhttp://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3424
This article, written by the Early Childhood Today Editorial Staff, is about how John Dewey
knew that, out of necessity, even the youngest children participated in household chores
and activities, and he quickly recognized the wonderful learning opportunities these
everyday experiences provided. He came to believe that the child's own instincts,
activities, and interests should be the starting point of education.

Continuity refers to the notion that humans are sensitive to (or are affected by)
experience. Humans survive more by learning from experience after they are born than
do many other animals who rely primarily on pre-wired instinct. In humans, education is
critical for providing people with the skills to live in society. Dewey argued that we learn
something from every experience, whether positive or negative and ones accumulated
learned experience influences the nature of one's future experiences. Thus, every
experience in some way influences all potential future experiences for an individual.
Continuity refers to this idea that each experience is stored and carried on into the
future, whether one likes it or not.
Interaction builds upon the notion of continuity and explains how past experience
interacts with the present situation, to create one's present experience and perspective.
Dewey's hypothesis was that a current experience can be understood as a function of
ones past (stored) experiences which interacting with the present situation to create an
individual's experience. This explains the "one man's meat is another man's poison"
maxim. Any situation can be experienced in profoundly different ways because of unique
individual differences e.g., one student loves school, another hates the same school. This
is important for educators to understand. While they can't control students' past
experiences, they can try to understand those past experiences so that better
educational situations can be presented to the students. Ultimately, all a teacher has
control over is the design of the present situation. The teacher with good insight into the
effects of past experiences which students bring with them better enables the teacher to
provide quality education which is relevant and meaningful for the students.
http://books.google.com/books?
id=98kVAAAAIAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Dewey&pgis=1
posted by angelica brown at 10:25 pm