Context and Interaction. How to Assess Dewey's Influence on Educational Reform in Europe?

This article addresses somemethodological questions that are at stake inassessing the influence of the ideas of John Dewey onthe renewal of European education in the twentiethcentury, using examples from the history of Dutcheducation. It is argued that in this kind of researchthe focus should not be on the process of influence assuch, but rather on the activity of reception. This,in turn, requires a contextual reconstruction of theinteraction between Deweyan ideas and practices andexisting ones. The case studies presented in thisarticle exemplify the more general methodologicalobservations. They not only provide an insight in therole of Deweyan ideas and practices in the developmentof Dutch education but also make clear for whatreasons, mostly unrelated to the significance ofDewey's work, these ideas and practices did not haveany lasting influence on the development of Dutcheducation, both on the level of early childhoodeducation and primary and secondary schools
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