Debate over schooling

Posted: August 12th, 2013





Debate over Schooling

            Edward Thorndike and John Dewey came up with two different theories on how teaching should be carried out in the schooling system. They forwarded two extremely different theories that they hoped would be adopted by practitioners in charge of the curriculum. Thorndike favored a system of administrative progressiveness while Dewey favored a system of scientific methods that went on to create problem solvers. There have been constant debate over whose ideas, Dewey’s or Thorndike’s, have the most influence on the American education system today. Indeed Thorndike won, and Dewey lost.

Thorndike’s scientific method was embraced and incorporated in modern teaching. His style of education is the one used in modern American schools. His scientific style is more similar to the more American style of using textbooks, the grading system, examinations and learning schedules. His formulation appealed more to the American society. On the other hand, Dewey’s postulations did not find themselves into the modern classroom. His pedagogic framework was not adopted as teaching methods. He however influenced some parents and teachers; most classroom instruction is based on Dewey’s ideas.

Thorndike is the one who had a major influence on the educational curriculum. His ideas not only dominated the teaching methods but also appealed to the majority. Thorndike’s principles are still preferred; people favor a system where learners are graded according to their performance than Dewey’s hands-on approach to education. Dewey, on the other hand, did not have much influence and his ideas were adopted on a superficial level. Dewey’s methods were seen to have the ability to enrich learners with enough knowledge but were also seen as overburdening to the modern learner. His ideas were not given much of a chance in the curriculum while Thorndike’s were fully incorporated into the system.


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