John Dewey (1859-1952)
A formidable intellect supplemented by service to social and democratic causes provided the impetus to John Deweys profound impact on education in the twentieth century. Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont, and attended local schools and the University of Vermont, eventually earning a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.
While Deweys accomplishments as a philosopher gained him posts at the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago and Columbia University, his educational theories broke new ground and continue to wield influence at the dawn of the twenty-first century. As an alternative to the drill-and-recitation methods of the nineteenth century, Deweys School and Society (1899) espoused the notion that ideas should be grounded in experience. In Experience and Education (1938), he argued that education should be based on the childs psychological and physical development, as well as the world outside the schoolroom.
The relevance of Deweys ideas to industrial and urban growth made his theories prominent in his lifetime, and the recurring notions of child-centered learning formed the basis of progressive education, enjoying continued popularity today.