John Dewey, Introduction



John Dewey (1859-1952) was the most famous and most influential American philosopher of education. Dewey spent the bulk of his long teaching career at Columbia University’s Teachers College, influencing generations of educators. He is associated with the pragmatism movement, elevating the importance of experience as a path to valid knowledge. The excerpt “Thinking in Education” is from his book Democracy and Education (1916). Dewey stresses the function of formal education to foster critical thinking based on personal exploration. He stresses the paramount importance of discovery and problem solving that lead to real insight and “cross connections between the subject matter of the lesson and the wider and more direct experiences of everyday life.”