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Reader’s Gift: Dewey’s take on Progressive Education

I was reading the thesis of a friend and a regular reader of this blog, Teacher Tanya, and she reminded me of the essence of progressive education by stating John Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed. Dewey is the Father of Progressive Education. He states the following points:

1. “True education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself.”

The socio-emotional domain of a child is equally important with his or her cognitive domain. True education therefore is not just intellectual but also how the child reacts to everything and everyone around him or her.

2. “The child’s own instinct and powers furnish the material and give the starting point for all education.”

A progressive curriculum is a child-centered curriculum.

3. “[I] believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not preparation for future living.”

Amen to this! A lot of schools use a marketing ploy of “Advanced Classes” or “Preparation Classes” to “prepare” their students for success in Big Schools. I just passed by a giant billboard saying “100% Admission Rate to ‘School XYZ’ (obviously invented)!” The purpose of school is the process of the NOW. I admit that there is a social pressure to prepare our students for higher education. However, as Dewey said, the pressure of societal norms (or ab-norms!) is not education. It is the process in which a student learns.

4. “[T]he school life should grow gradually out of the home life…it is the business of the school to deepen and extend the child’s sense of values bound up in his home life.”

The reason why Progressive Pioneers in the Philippines usually come from the Department of Family Life and Child Development in UP is because the Progressive Philosophy is based on understaning the child in his or her home and community setting. Repeatedly, I have declared that 100 % of our behavioral problems from students stem from an issue brewing at home.

5. I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of a proper social life.

True! The prime responsibility of a progressive teacher is to develop the WHOLE CHILD – social, emotional, creative, cognitive, physical and expressive.

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