A critique of John Dewey's theory of work and leisure with special reference to education in Kenya
Njoroge, George Kanari
MetadataShow full item record
Education being basically a human endeavour must be viewed in the context of what its various aspects deemed to be important mean to persons in the world. Such aspects are, for examples, work and leisure. These are viewed to be important values achievable in education in Kenya. They therefore exist as components of our educational policy as articulated in sessional papers and school syllabus. However, they are flawed in that they are antithetically adumbrated. The goal of the study is therefore to give a philosophical; orientation and thus a fundamental basis to work and leisure, both from an ethical as well as metaphysical perspective. Man is used to viewing various aspects related to education in an antithetical perspective, for example, theory and practice, body and mind, reason and sense, play and work. So is the purview of work and leisure. This is the case in education in Kenya. This study takes this view to be an artificial antithesis, which is misdirected and therefore eliminates or de-limits a holistic realization of man's endeavour in the world as he goes about his self-discovery. Thus, in the context of the centrality of work and leisure in man's life and especially in the manifestation of his creative capacity, it is important to correct the misconception associated with the relationship between these two values. One of the philosophers who have contributed greatly to the unitive perspective of work and leisure is John Dewey. His work is studied especially his theory of man which over-emphasizes behaviorism. This reduces man to almost an observer in his world where he is ideally expected to find his meaning. For Dewey, the question is, What is Man? The inadequacies in Dewey's theory are complimented by a highlight of an African perspective of work and leisure, which is based on a holistic understanding of both man and his world. The question in this perspective is, Who is Man? This views man as an actor and one who is ready to find his own meaning in the world. He is not just a natural being as Dewey's what is man? Implies, but, also cultural. In this sense, his capacity for creation is acknowledged. Finally, an education that is based on a balanced and holistic perspective of work and leisure for man is proposed. This helps man to find fulfilment in his life. He is able to answer the question, Who is Me?