Education, experience, existence: seeking a way out of educational confusion via a coherent theory of experience and curriculum in the existential philosophies of Dewey, Peirce and Heidegger

Education is inseparable from experience. Consequently, lack of a coherent philosophy of experience amounts to confusion in education. This confusion is evident in the curriculum history of outdoor education, although not only there. Dewey argues that confusion is the major characteristic of the educational situation generally, a situation that spans more than a century and continues today in the contemporary experiences of young people in middle school. Through a combination of participant observation, auto-photography and photo-elicitation in interview, I investigate and analyze these experiences with the support of Dewey’s notion of occupation (as interest) aligned with Heidegger’s being-a-possibility. Both of these contribute to an understanding of the importance of recognizing the who in education, revealing educational confusion from this perspective. These two portrayals of educational confusion (one a curriculum history, the other a contemporary investigation of lived experience), form the first and second strands of this study
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