Dewey And Me

Not Thomas E. Dewey, who ran against Harry Truman at the close presidential elections 1948 and best remembered for its picture of Truman gleefully holding a paper with all the early headline?  ?

Therefore, John Dewey was a frequent subject of conversation in my house.  Dewey was a powerful instructor who had a massive influence on public college curriculums throughout the initial part of the 20th Century.

My parents were quite worried about the condition of American education - in part due to what they found of this basic school I was attending Washington, D.C.? Deweyism?  Was a shorthand term they used to pay most of the perceived evils of? Innovative education?  Of this kind they blamed on Dewey.

The Soviet Union was that the dreaded enemy and they were quite worried that American kids weren't being taught in a means that could allow us to acquire the tech war with Russia.   Deweyism?  Included an overall lowering of academic standards, lax field and an excessive amount of time dedicated to non-academic topics like crafts, cleanliness,? life skills?  And so on.

They believed that European nations were doing a far better job of teaching their kids and they especially admired the large academic standards utilized in nations such as Switzerland, France and Germany.

As soon as I arrived at college, I signed up for an introductory philosophy class and was amazed to experience John Dewey again.  This time less a misguided instructor who helped mess the public school program, but as America?s most famed philosopher and the most notable voice of this faculty of philosophy called Pragmatism. 

 I were attracted to the Technique marginally by chance and had been impressed by the way it helped me improve my posture, balance and coordination which I chose to leave my career as a research economist and proceed to England to train to be a teacher of the Technique.

It was that the exact same Dewey I?d been? living with?  For the majority of my life had penned the introductions to 3 of Alexander?s novels.   S, had a succession of courses with Alexander.  Those classes so transformed him physically and emotionally - he continued taking courses from Alexander, and afterwards Alexander?s brother A.R. Alexander, for the remainder of his life.

In his book Freedom to modify, Professor Frank Pierce Jones writes of a meeting that he had with Dewey near the end of his life? The best advantage he got from classes,Dewey explained, has been the capability to stop and think before acting.  He noticed that an improvement early in his eyesight and then in breathing.  Before he'd courses, his ribs was very stiff.  They had a noticeable elasticity that physicians still commented , though he had been near 80-8.

Intellectually, Dewey stated, he found it much easier, after had studied the method, to maintain a philosophical stance peacefully once he'd taken it to alter it in case new evidence came warranting a change.  He contrasted his own mindset together with the rigidity of additional academic leaders who embrace a place early in their careers and use their intellects to shield it forever. ? 

Dislike of what they thought Dewey stood , I can?t state I've any true understanding of what he did or didn't do in the business of instruction.  And the importance of Pragmatism - that apparently is now undergoing a revival of types - has always eluded me.

However, I do understand something about F. Matthias Alexander and the Alexander Technique and while Dewey?s writings aren't always easy-going for the contemporary reader, over the years I?ve have come to understand he had a deep comprehension of the importance of Alexander?s function and he could be quite articulate in expressing that understanding. 

I?d prefer to close with among Dewey?s many quotations about Alexander:
  • It's 1 thing to educate the requirement of a return to the individual person as the supreme service in whatever humankind and society collectively could achieve.  It's another thing to find the concrete process by which this greatest of all activities could be implemented.  And this crucial issue is precisely what Mr. Alexander has realized. ? 

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