My name is Anastasia Balasi and I am a Master of Philosophy student. My main objective is to approach art as an educational mean. This is the reason why I chose to concentrate on Dewey’s experiential education system. First of all, I will focus on the relationship between education and experience, offering Dewey’s education theory as stimulus for discussion. Then I will turn to the art as the interactive mean in order to achieve the educational target. Finally, I will conclude underlining the advantages of experiential’s education in personal fulfillment.

John Dewey

Education as experience:

American philosopher John Dewey was specialized in the philosophy of education. Instead of the traditional educational system, he introduced the “progressive education”. More precisely, what he suggests is that education should be constructed on the philosophy of experience, given that experience is of utmost importance as it emphasizes in the learning procedure. Obviously, this new movement is opposed to the traditional education -which is based on the transmission of the knowledge and achievements of older generations to the new ones and on students who are obliged to accept and obey to what the “genius” teacher says- which offers a static way of learning. Within this “experiential” educational system, the learning target must be focused on the interests, the capabilities and the inclinations of the children. Hence, the daily life of the students is the source that will give us, both the educational goals, as well as the means to achieve them. Action and experimentation are two of the basic methods. For example, Dewey believed that students should be involved in real-life tasks and challenges:

  • math could be learnt via learning proportions in cooking or figuring out how long it would take to get from one place to another by mule or train
  • history could be learnt by experiencing how people lived, by detecting the influence of the geography on the lifestyle of humans, what the climate was like, and how plants and animals have changed overtime

Art as Experience:

“…works of art are the most intimate and energetic means of aiding individuals to share in the arts of living. Civilization is uncivil because human beings are divided into non-communicating sects, races, nations, classes and cliques.” (John Dewey in Art as Experience, 1934)

Art is considered to play a prominent role in Dewey’s philosophical system, given that it is the mean which will allow the acquisition of the educational good. Dewey declares that there is continuity between the experience of works of art, activities and events of daily life. Not only, intensifies art the sense of immediate living, but it also accentuates what is valuable in enjoyment. Art begins with happy absorption and attention in activity. The aesthetic experience involves the passing from disturbance to harmony and is one of man’s most intense and satisfying experiences.

Personal Development:

Education as experience tends to have more effective results in personal development in comparison with the traditional educational ways. Learning is not limited to what you know, but is dependent upon how to find information and how to use that information quickly, creatively, and cooperatively and on how to assimilate the inner knowing and the new knowledge. The experiential role of art in education raises student’s attendance and enhances their creativity; moreover it promotes self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness and appreciation to cultural diversity.

What’s the relationship between art and education?

Is experience important as personal development is concerned?

What do you believe?

I would love to read your comments!

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