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Dewey and Me — 18 Comments

  1. Robert,

    Some of Dewey’s works were assigned reading in a course in education I took many many decades ago.

    Since formal education to me was more a hindrance than a help to my self-development, I had a generally positive emotional reaction to what I perceived as his strong emphasis on individual freedom in education — being encouraged and allowed to pursue one’s inborn passion for learning, in whatever direction it lead, with no artificial boundaries.

    Now, reading the quotes you’ve posted, knowing about the influence Alexander had on him, and being much older and more experienced, my appreciation and understanding of Dewey sit in me in a deeper and more satisfying way.

    Thank you.

  2. Hi Rick,
    Is this post still open for comment? I have a philosophical view of AT that differs in some marked ways from Dewey’s and would be interested in striking up a conversation if you have the time.

    If you scroll down on my site, you’ll see a series of posts about AT.

    All the best,
    Dave Lindsay

  3. Wow, I was thinking about the John Dewey and F. M. Alexander connection the other day. John Dewey made a tremendous positive impact on the Logic and purpose of Education and was also labled as a Constructivist. Feldenkrais also spun off of F.M. Alexander. There were many others impacted by F.M. Alexander. Thank God they all shared the same passion and conviction of the benefits of the Alexander Technique. I share the passion and conviction and continue to share it with others all the time. Thank you F.M. Alexander and thank you
    Robert!

    • Thanks for that Barbara. I think the core ideas developed by Alexander have influenced people in a lot of fields and will continue to do so because they are so logical and practical.

      Robert

  4. Robert, I so enjoyed reading this post! Love Dewey’s quote at the end. The photos that you include, along with your captions, are just wonderful! All best, Rena

  5. I drew on Dewey quite a lot for scholarly support for the Alexander Technique and also for my research methodology in my 2007 doctoral dissertation ‘The Future of Alexander Technique Teacher Education’. I’m now a member of the John Dewey Society. Reading the JDS journal is a great way of getting to know Dewey better. A few years ago I wrote a rejoinder to an article it ran about Alexander’s contribution to Dewey that was rather contentious.

    About 15 years ago a past president of JDS, Prof Jim Garrison from Virginia Tech, wrote a lovely book called ‘Dewey and Eros: Wisdom and Desire in the Art of Teaching’. He doesn’t mention FMA, but I can almost hear FM’s gentle voice in some of the text. If it’s still in print, I recommend it. Prof Garrison was also one of the examiners for my dissertation.

    A Deweyan philosopher who has written about Alexander is Prof Richard Shusterman. He is a Feldenkrais practitioner as well and has a perspective that some AT people might disagree with. Like him or not, I think we should be glad that academics like Shusterman are finding the time to acknowledge Alexander’s contribution to Dewey’s thinking (as did McCormack in his PhD dissertation of 1958).

    • Thanks for that information Terry. I just remembered that we had done an interview for my podcast about the relationship between Dewey and Alexander and just now posted it at the bottom of the blog.

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