Embodied experiences: Critical insights from Dewey for contemporary education

Malcolm Thorburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reflecting increased cross-disciplinary interest in the significance of the body in education, this paper considers that a greater appreciation of John Dewey’s conceptualisations of experience and habit would benefit contemporary theory- and practice-related concerns.

Sources of evidence and main argument: The paper draws upon pragmatist-informed epistemological insights into the nature of experience and the habitual body from John Dewey. In doing so, the paper highlights how embodied experiences could become more central to realising a diverse range of educational goals. These include contexts where students appreciate that embodied learning practices can play a reconstructive part in shaping their identity, as well as the culture and school environments they share
with others.

Conclusion: The paper concludes by exemplifying and critiquing some conceptual possibilities which recognise the benefits of intensifying bodily experiences and cultivating related habits in everyday contemporary schooling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Research
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2020


  • Dewey
  • habit
  • the body
  • education
  • experiential learning
  • wellbeing


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