Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Beyond '‘either-or'’ thinking: John Dewey and Confucius on the subject matter and the learner
Issue Date: 
Tan, C. (2016). Beyond '‘either-or'’ thinking: John Dewey and Confucius on the subject matter and the learner. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 24(1), 55-74.
This article compares the educational thought of John Dewey and Confucius on the nature of and relationship between, the subject-matter and the learner. There is a common perception in the existing literature and discourse that Dewey advocates child- or learner-centred education whereas Confucius privileges the subject-matter via textual transmission. Challenging such a view, this article argues that both Dewey and Confucius reject an 'either subject-matter or learner' thinking that recognises no intermediate possibilities in between. Instead, both thinkers emphasise the importance of both the subject-matter and the learner, and maintain that educators need to direct the learning by integrating appropriate content into the learner's total experience. The article concludes by highlighting the contemporary relevance and educational implications of the views of Dewey and Confucius for the current trend to promote 'student-centred education'.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Pedagogy, Culture and Society. The published version is available online at
1468-1366 (print)
1747-5104 (online)
Other Identifiers: 
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
PCS-24-1-55.pdf315.41 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Show full item record

Page view(s) 50

checked on Feb 21, 2019

Download(s) 5

checked on Feb 21, 2019