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John Dewey, subject purposes and schools of tomorrow: A centennial reappraisal of the educational contribution of Physical Education

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages9
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Early online date22 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


This historically-themed critical paper reappraises selective progressive education writings by John Dewey in relation to two questions: firstly, how was physical education organised and taught in the Gary Schools, a programme Dewey widely praised in Schools of Tomorrow and secondly, how might the educational aspirations of Dewey benefit current subject purposes in physical education. This exercise highlights points of disconnection between the ideas of Dewey and areas of practice in the Gary Schools and the modest engagement Dewey’s theorizing has had in informing the educational contribution of physical education over the last century. Both points are problematic in pursuing progressive education agendas and the latter point highlights the continuing need for a more convincing educational account of physical education to be advanced. The paper concludes by arguing for a Deweyan and Merleau-Pontian informed account of physical education which is primed by embodied learning and social and moral development.

    Research areas

  • John Dewey, subject purposes, Gary Schools, progressive education, physical education

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