WSU professor explores education in lecture inspired by John Dewey

Madison Weaver, Staff Writer

A.G. Rud, Professor of Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education at Washington State University, discussed an overview of educational concepts inspired by John Dewey on March 7. A proponent of progressive education, Dewey based his theories on the individuality of students, the benefits of interactive learning, and the idea of creating a community of learners. Rud orchestrated a presentation and discussion around the question, “What is the role of love in education?”

The event was part of a series hosted by the Department of Education celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding. The event began with a brief introduction to the department’s history and evolution.

“Traditional education would be much more teacher-centered … knowledge is dispensed by a teacher, who is the sage, to the student, who is compliant and open … progressive education would be interactive … interaction and transformation are really important,” Rud said, discussing the difference between Dewey’s ideas and traditional systems. “We’ve all been told about the importance of  STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] disciplines and the importance of collaborative teams and so forth … so we try to replicate that in our schools … are we replicating or are we trying to transform schools?” 

After asserting that schooling is reproducing inequalities and not attempting to change them, Rud expressed his conviction that individuals have an illusion that they’re set apart from society, when in fact they’re not.

[W]e’re connected to everything out in society. And so, the school impinges upon society, but society probably impinges much more on school too,” Rud said.

After his presentation, Rud opened the conversation to the room of students and faculty, who added to his views about education.

“The presentation was interesting and I felt very engaged with the entire room during the discussion, like we were acting out the positive sides of Dewey’s education theories,” Mary Weinstein ’19 said.

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