Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Science Education

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Dewey and the Learning of Science

  • David WongAffiliated withCollege of Education, Michigan State University Email author 
  • , Kevin PughAffiliated withSchool of Psychological Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, University of Northern Colorado

The connection between John Dewey and science education is enduring, vast, and varied. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Dewey had an influence on nearly all aspects of science education. Nevertheless, three influences stand out. First, Dewey proposed that the mind evolved in response to problem-solving situations and, consequently, the mind functions best in practical, problem-solving situations (e.g., Dewey 1916). According to this theory, learning is most effective when undertaking in the context of problem-solving and real-world situations. Second, similar to William James (1890), Dewey (e.g., 1938) firmly believed in the continuity of experience, where past, current, and future experiences were inextricably linked. This view foreshadowed modern constructivism including such principles are the importance of real-world experience and the role of prior knowledge in learning. Third, Dewey (1913) proposed that interest is a necessary component of learning. Interest ac ...

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