Passages and Pivot Points: Experience and Education as Rites of Passage


  • Nathan Hensley Bowling Green State University


Educational rites of passage, John Dewey, Theory of Inquiry, Experiential Education


This paper examines the intersection of a rite of passage and an educational experience. John Dewey’s theory of experiential learning is unpacked and compared to each element of the rite of passage: separation, transition, and incorporation. This paper utilizes a theoretical perspective as it compares and contrasts Dewey’s theories of experience with that of Arnold van Gennep’s rite of passage framework. Also, Dewey’s notion of the indeterminate situation is juxtaposed with the liminality component associated with the transition phase of a rite of passage. Finally, this paper offers a discussion of how the rite of passage framework connects to the broader field of Curriculum Studies.

Author Biography

Nathan Hensley, Bowling Green State University

School of the Earth, Environment, and Society

Assistant Professor