Welcome to the Club: An Archival Inquiry into the Dewey Laboratory School as Rhetorical Education

Krysten Manke, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

This project contributes to scholarship extending the traditional scope of rhetorical education. Specifically, this dissertation recovers educational practices and ideas from records documenting the early years of the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School, an experimental elementary school founded and directed by the American pragmatist John Dewey. Researchers have employed John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy to gain insights into progressive, student-centered composition and rhetoric instruction. However, the field has neglected Dewey’s actual pedagogy as a source for insights into rhetorical education. Using archival analysis methods, this dissertation recovers educational practices from the Laboratory School that were not recognized as rhetorical during their use but which exemplify contemporary definitions of rhetorical practice. Specifically, this study finds that Dewey’s Laboratory School taught literacy and rhetoric and that students’ learning in these areas benefited from the School’s emphasis on embodied learning. By attending to archival records of the Laboratory School, this dissertation demonstrates that Dewey’s own pedagogical practices can inform contemporary thinking about progressive, student-centered composition and rhetoric instruction. In addition, this study suggests that pedagogical techniques tried out in the Laboratory School can inform contemporary thinking about teaching embodied rhetoric. Finally, this work helps to illuminate the value of experimental pedagogies for educators today.

Subject Area

Pedagogy|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Krysten Manke, "Welcome to the Club: An Archival Inquiry into the Dewey Laboratory School as Rhetorical Education" (2019). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI13814077.
https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI13814077

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