He refuses to see beyond the present except into the immediate future for which he is planning. His method is known as “trial and error” or “the experimental method”. The purpose of this method is to solve problems of biological and social nature.
The pragmatist teacher, instead of following the lecture method of the realist, substitutes “the subject” with a few outstanding problems and proceeds to solve the same by experimental method with the active co-operation of students. The purpose of this experimental method is to turn the pupils into “trained investigators”.
On the basis of “trial and error”, the pragmatist has evolved “the learning by doing” method. Dewey says: “A child learns not by reading books or listening to explanations but by burning himself and feeding himself that is by doing things.
The hands, the eyes, the ears, in fact the whole body, become sources of information, while teacher and text-books become respectively the starter and the tester.”
The pragmatist teacher does not fix up his methods for all the time. His methods of handling his students will vary from class to class, and year to year. Thus the precise class-room method that the teacher uses will depend upon the total situation as present at a time. Within the total situation are included the teacher, the students, the equipment and the particular experiment.
Pragmatism has made a unique contribution in the shape of Project Method enunciated by Kilpatrick, a follower of Dewey. The Project Method stands for “a whole-hearted, purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment.” This method incorporates all the principles hinted as above.