John Dewey versus H.H. Horne on Education

By Ediger, Marlow | Education, Fall 1996 | Go to article overview

John Dewey versus H.H. Horne on Education


Ediger, Marlow, Education


Diverse or specific philosophies of education can provide guidance for teachers and supervisors in selecting objectives, learning experiences, and evaluation procedures. John Dewey (1859-1952) and H.H. Horne (1874 1946) differed much from each other in educational thinking. Dr. Dewey, of course, is better known to educators compared to Dr. Home. However, both philosophers had much to recommend in terms of teaching and learning practices in the curriculum.

John Dewey and the Curriculum

Dewey emphasized change as being a key concept to emphasize in the curriculum. Whatever exists in the natural and social environment changes and is definitely not static. Since changes abound, new problems arise in society. Problems must be identified and data (knowledge and information) needs acquisition to aid in the solving of each problem. Hypotheses (answers to problems) are developed and tested in concrete situations. Each hypothesis may be modified, if evidence warrants.

Whichever problems are life-like and real in society might well provided subject matter in the school curriculum. School and society should become integrated, and not separated entities. Thus, the school curriculum must emphasize problem solving experiences for pupils.

Dr. Dewey also believed in avoiding dualisms in the curriculum. If pupils perceive interest in learning, effort will be forthcoming. Thus, interest and effort become integrated and not separated from each other. With pupil identification and attempted solutions of problems, interest should be inherent. The teacher is a guide and stimulator of pupil learning and not a lecturer or dictator of directions.

John Dewey would oppose the following in the school curriculum:

1. subject matter learned by pupils outside the framework of problem solving activities.

2. discipline procedures utilized to pressure and force pupil achievement.

3. a subject centered curriculum in which pupils are passive recipients in learning.

4. a separate subjects curriculum in which each academic area is taught as an individual entity. Dr. Dewey believed that whatever subject mattered is needed to solve identified problems should be utilized. Thus, a fused or integrated curriculum results since knowledge is generally related to solve problems.

H.H. Horne and.the Curriculum

Dr. Horne believed in an idea centered curriculum. Each person can know ideas pertaining to the natural and social world. Human beings cannot know the real world as it truly is. Mental development of each learner is of utmost importance. General education needs to be emphasized in the curriculum. Subject matter common learnings for all pupils is then desirable in the curriculum. Which curriculum areas should pupils study?

Dr. Horne, emphasized that pupils achieve competency in reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, science, and spelling. The above named curriculum areas provide stable content which is not subject to continuous change and revision. Pupils need to be educated and trained to prepare for future roles as adult citizens. Many subject matter learnings are needed by pupils to develop into becoming responsible individuals in society. Obedience to teachers and principals must also be learned by pupils in the school/class setting. Thus, the mind or spirit of the involved human being may become more like the Infinite Being (God).

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