This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for October 20, 2016: Goods

Oct. 20, 2016: birthday: John Dewey

It’s the birthday of John Dewey (books by this author), born in Burlington, Vermont (1859). Regarded as the father of progressive education, his best-known innovation was what he called “learning by directed living,” which combined learning with concrete activity. He wrote Democracy and Education (1916), and he founded the New School for Social Research. He was a shy, scholarly youth; a friend said that ideas were like living objects to him, and the only things he was really interested in. When he was hired to teach at the University of Michigan at the age of 25, he constituted the entire philosophy department. He spent most of his career thinking and writing about education. He said that schools were useless unless they taught students how to live as members of a community; that they wouldn’t succeed in teaching children anything unless they were receptive to what children were ready to learn; and that they wouldn’t get anywhere unless they treated children as individuals. He once gave a speech at Michigan in which he said there was so much knowledge at universities because the freshmen brought everything they knew to college with them, and the seniors never took anything away.