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What is a Significant Educational Experience?

Authors


Correspondence: Geoffrey Hinchliffe, Centre for Staff and Educational Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
Email: g.hinchliffe@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

This article analyses the nature of an educational experience by taking as its starting point Dewey's Art as Experience in order to identify what it is that counts as a significant or worthwhile experience. Dewey suggests that an experience needs to have an integral character in which the different phases of the experience are related and which tends towards a conclusion. Furthermore, an experience also needs to have the character of what Dewey calls an ‘undergoing’, an engagement with content which may be difficult or painful. It is suggested that this kind of experience may be seen in terms of a ‘light’ pedagogy in which content is allowed to unfold. This is contrasted with educational experiences that are ‘teacher-driven’ or ‘learner-driven’.

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