John Dewey

John Dewey was a philosopher, a psychologist, an educator, and a great defender of American democracy and social welfare.

He became a leading proponent of the new philosophy of American pragmatism developed by Charles Sanders Peirce and William James in the 1860's

Dewey studied psychology with the first American Ph.D in psychology, G.Stanley Hall (James was his Harvard adviser). Hall founded the American Journal of Psychology in 1887 and was elected the first president of the new American Psychological Association in 1892.

After some studies with Hall and Peirce, Dewey earned his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins and taught at the University of Michigan from 1884 until 1894, when he joined the faculty of the new University of Chicago.

At Chicago he founded the new Laboratory Schools, which became a testing ground for the pedagogical theories in his 1899 book The School and Society. The Chicago Lab Schools became a major center for educational research in the United States. Francis Parker joined Dewey and built the Francis W. Parker school in Chicago. Dewey called Parker the "father of progressive education" in America.

But Dewey left Chicago in 1904 to become professor of philosophy at Columbia University's new Teachers College. His 1904 essay The Relation between Theory and Practice criticized the boring "drills and skills" used teaching children to read in the early grades and he became a supporter of the "word method" championed in the nineteenth century since Horace Mann's severe criticism of phonics in the 1840s.