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Philip W. Jackson – 1994

David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Education and Psychology and in the College at the University of Chicago

PhD, Columbia University; MEd, Temple University; B.S., New Jersey State College

Author of: What is Education? (2011); John Dewey and the Philosopher’s Task (2002); The Moral Life of Schools (1993); Untaught Lessons (1992); The Practice of Teaching (1986); The Teacher and the Machine (1968); Life in Classrooms (1968)

At the start of Philip Jackson’s (1928–2015) career in education, he taught in a middle school and was interested in quantitative research of best practices and data-driven achievement. But then he quickly became interested in psychology, wanting to take a holistic approach to understanding how children learned. This quest began in the late 1940s, after Jackson read a 1938 lecture of John Dewey, in which Dewey addressed a room of professional educators and urged them to take up the task of “finding out just what education is.” Jackson took Dewey’s charge to heart and spent the next 60 years contemplating those words. In fact, his final book, What is Education? (2011), was the result of a lifetime of research.

Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree from what is now Rowan University in New Jersey and then a master’s from Temple University in Philadelphia before finishing his doctorate in developmental psychology at Columbia University in New York in 1955. Jackson then joined the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he remained until his retirement in 1998, holding the posts of chairman of the Department of Education, dean of the Graduate School of Education, and director of the university's laboratory schools. He only briefly left U. of C. for periods of study and to teach at schools including Teachers College of Columbia, Harvard University, Queens College, and New York University.

During his tenure, he received myriad academic honors, including fellowships and honorary doctorates, as well as awards for distinguished service from Teachers College and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), among others. He served as President of both the John Dewey Society and AERA, Director-at-Large of the Social Science Research Council, and advisory board member or officer for several educational entities.
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