John Dewey's Report of 1924 and his recommendations on the Turkish educational system revisited

Turan S.

History of Education, vol.29, no.6, pp.543-555, 2000 (Scopus)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00467600050163174
  • Journal Name: History of Education
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.543-555
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


John Dewey’s distinctive contribution to modern educational thought is remarkable and still influential. Over the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in education have reemphasized and debated the importance of Dewey’s ideas in educational reform efforts and administration.2 In the USA, Dewey’s work and influence have been revived in order to develop sound theories to address the educational problems schools face today. Unlike other philosophers of his time, John Dewey’s international influence and reputation are exceptional. In his lifetime, Dewey visited many nations around the world including Turkey, Soviet Russia, China and Mexico.3 In addition to lecturing on educational reform, he also advised foreign governments on educational questions and prepared detailed reports. In 1924, the Turkish Ministry of Education invited Dewey to observe and analyse the Turkish educational system and make recommendations for restructuring and reorganizing that system. Dewey accepted this invitation with enthusiasm and went to Turkey on 15 July 1924, completing his visit on 18 September.4 His visit came at a time of social, cultural and political transformation in Turkey. After spending two months analyzing the educational system, Dewey prepared two reports. In the first report, which was written in Turkey, he made recommendations for improving teacher training and the funding of education. In the second report, which he wrote in the United States, he made specific recommendations for the formulation and execution of an educational plan, the development of schools as community centres, the reorganization of the Ministry of Public Instruction, the training and treatment of teachers, the redefinition of the school system, the improvement of health and hygiene in schools, the improvement of discipline, and other school reforms. These forgotten recommendations from Dewey’s 1924 report still hold relevance for education today. It seems that Dewey’s revival is occurring not only in the United States but around the world as a way of providing sound philosophical support for increasingly complex efforts to reform and restructure education. In order to re- evaluate his ideas and their applicability to these educational reform efforts, his previous works and reports must be revisited and analysed. The purpose of this paper is to re-evaluate the significance of John Dewey’s visit to Turkey and his report and recommendations on the Turkish educational system. This study will analyse his 30-page report of 1924 5 from historical and contemporary perspectives. The report was published in Turkish in 1939, 1952 and 1960 by the Turkish Ministry of Education.