Progressivism Philosophy in Education
I believe that education is best achieved through experience rather than tests and memorization in both children and adults. Anyone would be able to cram and pass a test but the ability to retain the important information in this case would be low. One might not be able to retain content unless if it is useful in life. This therefore shows that students should learn through experiments which get them more engaged in projects at school and increase the rate of understanding and memorization. A subject centered curriculum without considering the interests of a child would be unfruitful. The effort might be present but the when the child lacks interest; they could easily score average scores. Interest improves the effort of a child since they would be allowed to study something they can relate to. This is why I prefer the progressive philosophy of education.
Based on pragmatism, progressivism represents part of a new education that constitutes a revolution in the American education. It could be considered an educational current whose reactions have led to the emergence of social meliorism, humanism, and social efficiency in America. This movement occurred at the beginning of the twenty first century (Dewey, 2007). As a reaction to the American traditional school, it sought to come up with a system that would be adjusted to move with the pace of development in the United States. Having made major contributions in various areas such as pedagogy (progressivism), psychology (functionalism), and philosophy (pragmatism), john Dewey also came up with this education theory (Dewey, 2007). He was also inspired in this work by some of his predecessors like C.S piece where he got the rigor of national realism and w. James where he uprooted radical imperialism. Pragmatism which is a philosophy that is related to C.S Pierce and W. James also contributed to Dewey’s idea of progressivism. It proposes that practical ideas are to be accepted and unpractical ideas should be rejected. Progressivism is therefore a theory that values learning through experience rather than memorizing. The pedagogical movement states that learning of facts without engaging the student comes at the expense of lack of understanding whatever that is being taught (Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov, 2011).
As a progressive educator, I believe that children should be taught how to think rather than being taught how to pass tests. The education needs to be helpful to these students in the future. Instead, learning how to pass tests ends with the test itself. This student would not have gained anything from that lesson. The concept of learning by doing proves to hold a lot of gravity in terms of understanding, remembering, and application (Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov, 2011). Engaging in an activity actively allows the student to utilize skills learnt hence stronger or better understanding of the task at hand. Students get to experience real world situations which would be applicable even in their social settings. It instills love of education by making school and schoolwork a part of their lives. This draws their interest which in turn helps in putting more effort for better performance.
Class consciousness states that the key factor between two classes could be considered as their different interests. This acts as a guide to a teacher in terms of student relationship. Through activities, they engage each other in discussions in an effort to solve the problem at hand. To me, class consciousness is an avenue for communication and learning. People from a different background or class come with different skills and interests that help in motivating each other. Through progressive learning, ideas would be exchanged and students stand a chance of understanding one thing or the other. This teaches students democracy which describes what society is hence preparing them for a democratic society (Dewey, 2007). Traditionalists look at education as a means of preparing students to fill societal roles. However, as a progressive, I see the need to transform it.
Progressive learning also helps in eliminating racial segregation and discrimination. With this, a teacher creates an enjoyable learning environment that involves all the students. This way, no student would be left behind. As a teacher, one experiences various instances of racial segregation and discrimination from both the teachers and students. Since this philosophy helps in improving and exploring the interests of children, it would be instrumental in helping students who do not fit in class because of their racial difference (Mead et.al, 2015). The students learn to think for themselves with the help of a teacher hence ensuring no one is left behind.
Historically American education has been described as a less interactive system. This means that students only go to school to learn how to be better than others or rather how to pass exams. As a teacher, I feel that this is a wrong approach since it might not help the student as much as intended. Progressive learning allows the teacher and student to explore problematic situations through methods that help them evaluate and understand the problem despite difficulties (Mead et.al, 2015). This will help in the arrival of an answer that will solve the problem and be of use in the future. Empirical situations are created to replicate a situation that would lead a child into familiarizing with it. Soon after, an obstacle that needs to be eliminated appears thus stimulating thinking. In such a situation, information acquired from a previous experience is used helping the student in formulating a hypothesis for solving the problem. The most adequate hypothesis is therefore considered and chosen for later verification.
Education philosophy is important for teachers because they use it as a guide through their career. They drive a teacher positively through their career hence proves useful in performance. With an education philosophy, one is able to map their actions and review the implication of the philosophy applied. Performance of random acts without a philosophy in class would bear unfruitful results (Dewey, 2007). The presence of a teacher in the classroom without a philosophy would be a waste of time for both the teacher and the student. It establishes the sort of things that the teacher is going to employ in order to achieve maximum results from children.
In conclusion, a philosophy that allows interaction is the best for a teacher to employ. The teacher ends up being a guide as students work towards solving their own problems and coming up with answers. The effort put in realizing their interests in turn helps them memorize the important facts that had been deduced earlier. This makes learning a lot more interesting and it could boost the performance of a student as much as that of the school. Traditional approaches towards education contribute to the maintenance of injustice and inequity that looms in the society. Progressives therefore look at society as a sector that needs improvement and schools are considered the answer to its transformation into the creation of a more just society. This would be achieved by helping students become thinkers who work towards finding answers through understanding.
Dewey, J. (2007). Experience and education. Simon and Schuster.
Mead, G. H., Biesta, G. J., & Trohler, D. (2015). Philosophy of Education. Routledge.
Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. 2011. John Dewey and Progressivism in American Education. Retrieved from http://webbut.unitbv.ro/BU2011/Series%20VII/BULETIN%20VII/03_4%20Radu.pdf