• Sophie Ward
    Sophie Ward

    Sophie Ward

    • United Kingdom
    • Education
    • Durham University

    Sophie Ward replied 10th Feb '16:

    It seems to me that resistance to experiential learning today is similar to the resistance encountered by Dewey: policy makers cling to the idea that education is the transmission of skills for industry and knowledge for national identity formation, and have little interest in critical analysis for democratic participation. By conducting research that demonstrates the value of critical analysis, we may add to the evidence accrued by Dewey and his contemporaries. However, we are unlikely to make progress unless we are willing to challenge the neoliberal model of democratic 'participation', which positions the majority of people as the passive recipients of social policy determined by the ‘moral reasoning’ of corporations and the elites. The decoupling of progressive education from progressive politics has cut experiential learning adrift in a sea of competing pedagogical practices, and to reanimate debate about experiential learning, we must begin by reanimating debate about the nature of democracy itself.


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