John Dewey begins Democracy and Education most obviously with a defense for education. As with the pearl, the butterfly, the diamond, and every other metaphor on metamorphosis under pressure, we as educators must not be resistant to change. We must also be the force of change.
“The most notable distinction between living and inanimate things is that the former maintain themselves by renewal. A stone when struck resists. If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to react in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow, much less so as to render the blow a contributing factor to its own continued action. While the living thing may easily be crushed by superior force, it nonetheless tries to turn the energies which act upon it into means of its own further existence.
As living things encountering a superior force in the face of this course, we have not been crushed!
As long as it endures, it struggles to use surrounding energies in its own behalf. … As long as it is growing, the energy it expends in thus turning the environment to account is more than compensated for by the return it gets: IT GROWS.”
We have turned the energies of this program into a means of furthering our own existence as learners and educators. The ADL program has contributed to our identity as educators. This course, as our significant learning environment (CSLE), has created opportunities for us to have choice in how we learn, how we analyse and synthesize what we learn, has provided us with authentic opportunities to own that learning, and to realize that we have a voice worth being heard (COVA).
The energy we are expending in turning this digital learning environment to account will be more than compensated by the return we get: we will grow! And take what we’ve learned and become a superior force for our learners.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy & education. New York, NY: Kappa Delta Pi.