Education Is Life

Explain the John Dewey quote, "Education is life."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dewey's statement brings to light the need for real world applications to education.  As a Progressive educator, Dewey understood that education fails students if it does not link what is happening in the classroom to the world outside of it.  Better than most, Dewey understood the need to bridge theory and practice.  When Dewey argues the link between the two in "Education is life," he stresses the idea that learning in the classroom setting has to connect to the experience outside of it.  In this respect, Dewey stands alone because he understood that there is a fluid dynamic to both learning and consciousness and educational philosophy has to embrace both realities:

Life, for Dewey, began and ended in humans’ experiences; that is, humans using appropriate methods could successfully cope with life’s confusing, obscure, and indeterminate situations. The key to coping with such difficulties, Dewey insisted, was using insights to define problems, establishing a set of possible solutions, determining the likely consequences of each possibility, and then evaluating the best possibility through observation and experiment.

The challenges that "life" poses compels Dewey to believe that life and education have to be linked in order to bring out these complexities and unique nuances that will allow learners to navigate these domains with some semblance of success.

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