John Dewey was born on October 20th, 1859 in Vermont. His father was a regional trader who appreciated literature. His mother had a strict moral sense founded on her belief in Calvinism. Calvinism was a religion where one’s belief is portrayed through moral behaviors and good deeds. He discovered other cultures from neighboring Irish and French-Canadians communities. He was also working as newspaper vendor and a lumber-yard. When visiting his father, he witnessed the horrors of the civil war during 1861 to 1865, directly.
He received average grades and joined the University of Vermont. He performed best in science subjects, which he would afterwards consider as the greatest expression of human intelligence. Dewey realized the world of notions during his senior years. He gained more interest in psychology, ethics, religion and logic. His lecturer H.Torrey introduced him to the achievements of different philosophers. He improved his work immensely, and at age 19, graduated second in his class. Dewey got a teaching job n Pennsylvania, which he held for two yeas. He continued to study philosophy in his free time.
During that period, most American philosophy teachers were religious, who put more importance on religious notions than creative thought. John Dewey published his first essay in St Louis. He later joined the newly established John Hopkins University to pursue a career in philosophy which involved and employed lay philosophers.
In 1884, Dewey finished his doctorate and, joined University of Michigan as a lecturer following an invitation from philosophy division chairman, George S. Morris. Dewey met Alice Chipman and married her, with whom they bore seven children.
He gained interest in education issues as he travelled around the state to examine the superiority of college preparation courses. In 1888, he took up a position at the Minnesota University, only to come back after one year to replace Morris, who had passed on. Dewey became interested in William James’s principles of Psychology. He became a believer of “instrumentalism”. This is a conviction that thinking is an activity whereby it is aimed at resolving problems.
In 1894, John accepted an appointment as a head of a new division of philosophy and psychology at Chicago University. He founded a trial school with his wife as the head teacher in order to test his philosophies of education. Dewey resigned from the University of Chicago in 1904 when the University president, William Harper attempted to fire his wife. He got a job at university of Columbia in New York while he spent his remaining teaching years.
Height of his influence
While living in New York, John Dewey was put at the core of America’s social and political life. In 1929, he assisted in organizing the association for Independent Political Action in anticipations of forming a new political group. He also acted as an editor of the new Republic Magazine and assisted in founding the American Civil Liberties Party. After World War 1 which took place in 1914-18, he toured the globe, teaching in Japan for two years and later toured Mexico University for two years. He got a lot of criticism due to his praise for the Russian educational system after visiting Soviet Union in 1928.
John Dewey was a reserved and calm man, and as a lecturer he at times put his student to slumber. Those who were able to stay awake, conversely, could observe a man interested in notions actually creating new notions in his classroom.
He retired from teaching in 1930, but he persisted to publish works clarifying his thoughts. He published more than 300 books and articles. In Public affairs he was among the first people to warn of the threat from Adolf Hitler during 1889-1945, rise to power in Germany and the Japanese peril in the Far East. His first wife died in 1927, and he married a window, Roberta Grant, at age 87 years. He died on 1st, June 1952.
Dewey philosophy sought to rise above what he regarded as inaccurate statement s created by other philosophers. He saw man’s behavior as determined by habit. He deemed that the procedure of change frequently generated conditions that cannot be clarified. Dewey considered that worldwide education could educate people to break through behaviors into resourceful thought.
John Dewey perceived American democracy, which he regarded as the best type of government, faced with the impacts of the modern revolution, which had resulted a few men being extremely wealthy. This menace, he deemed, could be solved by the appropriate form of education. Dewey’s impact on American education system was so sturdy that many opponents attacked his concepts as the source of all flaws in American education.