Comparing the theories and practices of Tyler and Dewey with expert and effective teaching of today
Smith, Karen Harrell
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The extent to which the fields of effective and expert teaching and the past scholarship on teaching overlap sufficiently justify further exploration of these similarities. John Dewey and Ralph Tyler established a theoretical foundation for expertise in teaching that can contribute to the contemporary literature about effective and expert teaching. The literature of effective and expert teaching and John Dewey and Ralph Tyler writings about teaching were studied to determine if effective and expert teaching research was validated, and even improved by the theories and practices advocated by Dewey and Tyler. The resources for the literature review included the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, a chapter by Axtelle and Burnett (1970) in Guide to the Works of John Dewey, John Dewey’s collected works index, the Educational Index, Teacher’s College Record, and bibliographies and reviews of Dewey’s and Tyler’s work. The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature served as a resource in order to span the years prior to those listed in the Educational Index. After a bibliography was created from these sources, an analysis of Dewey and Tyler’s concepts of teaching was conducted. This study found such a historical perspective can inform contemporary studies of effective and expert teaching. Similarities among Dewey, Tyler, and effective and expert teaching showed the importance of classroom management and discipline, meaningful lessons, a professional spirit, teaching adaptability and flexibility, and student evaluation. However, important areas of research were overlooked by current effective and expert teaching and should be considered in the future. These specific areas from the analysis of Dewey and Tyler’s writings included implementing problem-solving techniques, integrating ethical and moral teaching methods, focusing on students’ interests and needs, utilizing multiple forms of student evaluations, and remaining cognizant of students’ entire school experiences.