Aspects of John Dewey's Educational Philosophy in the Primary Cycle of the 8:4:4 System of Education in Kenya
This study was conducted to investigate the question of whether there are aspects of John Dewey's educational philosophy in the primary cycle of the 8:4:4 System of Education in Kenya. The works of the famous American educator were scrupulously analysed to reveal the salient features of his philosophy. Similarly, the documents were scrutinized to determine the rationale, the objectives, the curriculum and the implementation procedures of the system. To find out how the 8:4:4 system is functioning, data was obtained from a sample of eight primary schools in Lugari Division of Kakamega District. Two instruments were used to collect data, namely a questionnaire and an observation schedule. The exercise took five days during which the researcher administered questionnaires to 48 teachers in the eight schools. He also observed 40 lessons in progress. The observation schedule involved the use of a modified Mehan's (1979) observation techniques. The data so collected were analysed using statistical tables and frequency graphs. The results indicate that although a few of John Dewey's principal theses, viz: learning through co-operation rather than competition, learning through manipulation of resources I and the teacher acting as a guide rather than a leader, were envisaged by the architects of the 8:4:4 System of Education, in practice' these ideals do not seem to operate. - . Even the practical activities advocated by John Dewey are poorly organized in schools as the schools lack pre-requisite facilities and resources. These findings are discussed and recommendations are made for critical changes in the curriculum, with a view to changing the current policy so that instead of a vocationalised curriculum, basic literacy and numeracy skills can be emphasised in primary schools.