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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Bagley, Dewey, and the Founding of Essentialism: A Momentous March in American Educational History

J. Wesley Null.

This paper will address the founding of Essentialism, which occurred on March 1, 1938, in Atlantic City, Jersey (USA). The author will describe what Essentialism meant to the various individuals who were involved in the movement. He also will relate the Essentialist manifesto to contemporary issues in American education. Moreover, the presenter will explore the relationship between the founding of Essentialism and the publication of John Dewey's well-known work 'Experience and Education'. Essentialism and Dewey's 'Experience and Education' share many points of agreement, a point that is often misunderstood in contemporary educational history and theory.


J. Wesley Null  (United States)
Assistant Professor
School of Education
Baylor University

J. Wesley Null is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Baylor University. He completed his Ph.D. degree at The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Curriculum Studies. He is an experienced classroom teacher whose interests include the history of American education, teacher education, and philosophy of education. At Baylor, he teaches courses in Social Foundations of Education and Curriculum.

  • Essentialism
  • History of Education
  • Educational Theory
  • Progressivism
  • Teacher Education
Person as Subject
  • William Chandler Bagley John Dewey William Heard Kilpatrick

(30 min Conference Paper, English)