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The idea that the body is inextricably involved in learning has a long history. “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand” has been attributed to Confucius. In his famous Democracy and Education, John Dewey (1958) held that “the material of thinking is not thoughts, but actions” (p. 184) (a view that reflected the influence of his fellow pragmatist William James), and Maria Montessori made much the same point when she emphasized that the hand allows the mind to “reveal” itself; Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology made much of the fact that the self is embodied (discussed elsewhere in this encyclopedia). Ideas from this pedigreed tradition have influenced both contemporary learning theory and educational practice.

In current education circles, the expression ...

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