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The Approach to Education; Pragmatism

Examination of PapiniĘs example, with each room in the hotel opening into a corridor is a metaphor referring to the fact that all notions, concepts, ideas and theories each have their own purpose based on the individuality of the person thinking about the idea or theory just as each room has its own resident. Also, the idea of each room being connected by a corridor which residents must pass through in order to enter or exit their room is the idea of testing theories or notions by their outcomes or practical consequences. Thus, in general, the significance of the metaphor is that in order to arrive at truth or knowledge, a person was required to take into account all values, and to look at the outcomes each produced as part of that evaluative strategy.

However, a key question that can be asked in terms of the application of pragmatic philosophy to education is: How do we come to value various notions? In other words, precisely what is it that gives various ideas, notions, concepts and theories their importance to people?

The answer to this question was perhaps best formulated by John Dewey (1997, p. 68) who stated that, "we have to understand the significance of what we see, hear, and touch"(p. 68). Dewey (1997, p. 68) claimed that several factors were contributive to understanding the significance of any information or knowledge including:

(1) observation of surrounding conditions;

(2) knowledge of what has happened in similar situations in the


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