Progressivists believe that individuality, progress, and change are fundamental to one's education. Believing that people learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives, progressivists center their curricula on the needs, experiences, interests, and abilities of students. Progressivist teachers try making school interesting and useful by planning lessons that provoke curiosity. In a progressivist school, students are actively learning. The students interact with one another and develop social qualities such as cooperation and tolerance for different points of view. In addition, students solve problems in the classroom similar to those they will encounter in their everyday lives. Progressivists believe that education should be a process of ongoing growth, not just a preparation for becoming an adult. An obvious example of progressivism would be our class. We are in groups a lot and we actively learn through discussion. We talk about how what we read can be incorporated into our future teaching careers. Dr. Theodore takes into account the suggestions from the previous semester's students and modifies his class accordingly.
After reading John Dewey’s book and discussing his thoughts and ideas in class, one can see John Dewey's relationship to progressivism. He wanted students to learn through action and being involved in the processes that will get to the end product. He wanted the students to work on hands-on projects so learning would take place, rather than memorization. In a regular classroom students just memorize what they need to know and it goes away after the test. In Dewey’s mind, the students would have to exercise their brain by problem solving and thinking critically, resulting in learning (even though the students may not even know it!). This allows the individual's brain to develop, so as the individual grows learning becomes easier! After attending a school Dewey would have set up, a child would be ready for the real world and a lot of the everyday setbacks that an individual would experience, such as losing a button, changing a tire, making lunch, or balancing a checkbook. School would be a lot of hands-on learning, and the progression of education would not end!
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