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The philosophical foundation of experiential education
Experiential education has been introduced to Taiwan for more than twenty years. In these years, we got bountiful fruit in both practice and research fields. But when take a closer review, there are few discussions about the philosophical foundation. Practitioners and researchers of experiential education often trace the root of to John Dewey and Kurt Hahn. But none of them had built up their theory into a system from the viewpoint of experiential education. The research integrated documents of Dewey and Hahn, and try to make a systematic philosophical foundation for experiential education. In Dewey’ s theory, education is for continuity of man and society, so education itself must be continual. The ideal education should be built from experience. His experience means include not only passive but active. The passive experience means that body and mind both involve in the learning procedure. The learning material must be simplified from real society in order to make students get used to solve the real problem. His ideal education is highly related to his ideal society, which is democracy. In Hahn’s theory, education begin from changing habits to keep fitness. His famous outdoor expedition course and project learnings courses focus on building good virtue. The basis of virtue or motivation of action comes from realization of need of society. If everyone saw the need of society, and found themselves able to satisfy those need, people could make a great society. In conclusion, the research found there are four highly common between Dewey and Hahn. (1) The learning material should come from real society. (2) Body and mind both play important role in education. (3) The role of ‘teacher’ (4) The relation between learners. These can answer why, what, how, and what kind of environment we study.
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