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January 9, 2020

Vietnamese Edition of Garrison-Hickman-Ikeda Dialogue Published

Vietnamese edition of Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century

Vietnamese edition of Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century

HANOI, VIETNAM: National Political Publishing House recently released a Vietnamese edition of Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century (Vietnamese title: Cách dạy, cách học, cách sống trong thế kỷ XXI), a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda and Drs. Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman, both renowned scholars of the twentieth-century American philosopher and educator John Dewey. As previous presidents of the John Dewey Society, in 2008, they came to Japan to present the society’s first honorary life membership to Mr. Ikeda.

The tripartite exchange explores similarities between the educational philosophies of John Dewey and Soka Gakkai founder and educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, while examining topics such as the role of the university, the home learning environment, education and scientific progress, the nature of the mentor-disciple relationship, and lifelong learning.

When the discussion turns to competition in education, for example, Dr. Larry Hickman, director of the Center for Dewey Studies and professor emeritus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA, states that while “competition in education is an increasingly important topic, the real question is whether the competition is appropriate.” He emphasizes that “as educators we have an obligation to teach [students] how to deal with competition, how to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and how to win and lose gracefully.” In addition, that “it is important that our students understand that there are many types of intelligence. If someone is insufficiently talented to compete in one field, there will almost certainly be other fields in which he or she can succeed.”

Daisaku Ikeda conversing with Drs. Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman

Mr. Ikeda (foreground, left) conversing with Dr. Garrison (foreground, right) and Dr. Hickman (2nd from right)

Dr. Jim Garrison, professor of philosophy of education at Virginia Tech University, USA, shares his enthusiasm for Makiguchi’s concept of humanitarian competition, in which “everyone may win” or where “we may all grow.” He continues, “If we engage in humanitarian competition, each of us may help the other find what we are good at doing. My growth depends on your growth, but we each must grow in a different way.”

Concurring, Mr. Ikeda introduces the Buddhist principle of “cherry, plum, peach and damson,” which upholds the value of each person bringing their own unique characteristic to bloom. He remarks, “If we respect one another’s individuality and do our best to rise to our unique challenges, we are all victorious in our own way. This is competition for the sake of tapping our individual strengths to the fullest.”

[Adapted from an article in the January 9, 2020, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]