DEFINITIONS, AND ORIGINS
The two essays in this section provide a conceptual framework for thinking about experiential education and community development. As Ian M. Harris, Paul S. Denise and the late Richard M. Thomas make clear in the first essay of this introductory section, experiential education is not new. Learning by doing is certainly as old as humankind and in other species predates humankind.
The first essay provides an overview of the origins of experiential education and offers operational definitions of "community," "development," "community development," and "experiential education." The authors point out a number of the reciprocal advantages of experiential education-- to learners, to educational institutions and programs, and to communities-- and discuss some of the problems of learning by doing in community settings.
In the second essay, "Learning about Japan: Some Theoretical Bases," Glen A. Eyford stresses the importance to learning of both spontaneous experience and structured reflection about experience. He proposes a symmetry or balance between spontaneity and reflection and suggests that the type of balance to be sought depends upon learning goals and resources, and that there are always likely to be practical and educational trade-offs.
The authors of this section acknowledge, as do others throughout the book, a deep intellectual debt to the seminal thinking about experiential learning of the philosopher, educator, and social innovator, John Dewey. Eyford draws mainly upon Dewey's ideas about the relationship of knowledge to artistic experience, while Harris and his colleagues draw upon Dewey's thinking about the relationship of experience to schooling and
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Publication information: Book title: Experiential Education for Community Development. Contributors: Paul S. Denise - Editor, Ian M. Harris - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1989. Page number: 1.
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