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So obvious, indeed, is the necessity of teaching and learning for the continued existence of a society that we may seem to be dwelling unduly on a truism. But justification is found in the fact that such emphasis is a means of getting us away from an unduly scholastic and formal notion of education. Schools are, indeed, one important method of the transmission which forms the dispositions of the immature; but it is only one means, and, compared with other agencies, a relatively superficial means. Only as we have grasped the necessity of more fundamental and persistent modes of tuition can we make sure of placing the scholastic methods in their true context.
(source: Democracy and Education By John Dewey)

My question is as follows: What does the word "their" in the last line refer to? I mean, what does "their" mean here? Does it refer to people's true context? Could you help me clarify it? Thanks.

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"their" in this sentence refers to "scholastic methods". In other words, only due to the fact that we have grasped the necessity of more fundamental and persistent modes of tuition can we ensure that scholastic methods are being used as they should.

  • Thank you so much for your kind answer. Please see if I understood it right. It means placing the scholastic methods according to the real accurate conditions of the scolastic methods. Did I understand it correctly? Thanks. – DeborahJeong Jan 11 '18 at 14:08
  • @DeborahJeong It means applying the scholastic methods as they should be applied, in their most efficient way. Only once we've grasped the necessity of more fundamental and persistent modes of tuition can we ensure that scholastic methods are used properly, in other words. – Neil Jan 11 '18 at 14:36

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