Teaching as Attitude: The Staying Power of John Dewey

Dan Richards introduces the pioneering educational theorist John Dewey, making a case for the lasting value of his educational writings and theories, including Democracy and Education (1916), “My Pedagogic Creed” (1897), and the idea that, in whatever conditions we find ourselves teaching, we should seek to to make as much meaning as we can.

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Why We Don’t Read

In a culture with few serious readers, professors belong to a privileged reading class. We are literate to nth degree. When we read the scholarship on teaching and learning, we put our high levels of literacy to use for immediate and practical good. Unfortunately, too often we do not do this as much as we might want or as much as we should, for a variety of legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons. Why not? Obstacles abound.

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Why Professors Are the Perfect Readers

That many of us read the scholarship on teaching and learning may largely be explained by its utilitarian value, i.e., we read because doing so may prove useful in improving our teaching. However, beyond its “use-value,” many of us read because doing so fits the ethos of professorship. To wit, we value reading, curiosity, lifelong learning, critical thinking, evidentiary reasoning, capacity for sustained effort, and quality.

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