What is Progressivism?

What is Progressivism?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

Progressivism is a form of pragmatism adapted to education. In pragmatism, the idea of ​​change or change is seen as the essence of its truth. For this reason, it is claimed that education is in a continuous development in the progressivism movement in education philosophy.

In this context, educators should be able to change their policies and methods and adapt them to education in the light of new information and changes in the environment. Because the essence of education lies in the constant rebuilding and reshaping of experience.

Progressivism is based on pragmatist philosophy and is considered as the application of pragmatist philosophy to education. Since the fundamental view advocated by the pragmatist philosophy is change, the progressivism movement opposed the strict discipline-based, curriculum and teacher-centered, passive human education approach of traditional education.

In this sense, this movement, which is based on the British empiricism tradition on one side and modern realism on the other, was developed by the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, expanded and enriched by William James, who is accepted as the founder of the pragmatist tradition, and the famous American philosopher John Dewey, the founder of the philosophy movement known as instrumentalism.

The progressive education approach is student-centered. (Image: Pexels)

Progressivism absolutely rejects a completely teacher-centered and student-passive understanding; because at the center of this understanding is the individual, that is, the student.

In the understanding of progressivism, where there is no traditional and rigid understanding, the student freely acquires knowledge according to his own learning situation by researching and takes responsibility for the knowledge he has learned by determining his own learning situations. The student acts like a scientist so that permanent learning takes place.

According to this philosophy, there is no single method or technique in the learning environment. Since the learning situation of each individual will be different, the variety of methods and techniques also increases.

According to the progressive movement, school is not close to life, it is life itself. Education is based on active participation, cooperative learning and problem solving; It should be done in a way that real life is presented, research and analysis activities are carried out intensively, the teacher not only gives the information to the student, but also guides the student’s own learning, and teaches skills such as responsibility and democratic life.

In this environment, the student will undoubtedly feel comfortable and permanent learning will take place by motivating himself to learn. At the same time, since it will be an educational environment based on research and questioning, the ability of students who will not have memorized knowledge to express themselves will also develop.

Progressivism (Image: Pexels)
Active learning should be emphasized in education and learning should be shaped according to the interests of the child. Progressives recognize that the learning person should be viewed as a whole. Based on this, they adopt an education system in which people are in the center. learner; should be trained in an education program that is suitable for their interests, capacities and characteristics.
The “problem solving method” should be based on learning. In the progressive education view, the idea of ​​obtaining information abstractly and filling the students’ minds by the teacher does not take place. If the information is important and meaningful, people should be able to do something with that information. Knowledge must be actively gained in interaction and must be learned depending on the learner’s interests. Problem solving is essential in acquiring knowledge. Knowledge is a tool for acquiring experiences, improving and reorganizing experiences. In this respect, it includes problem solving, critical thinking and redevelopment of what has been learned before.
School should be life itself rather than preparation for life. School should be a place where children live using their critical powers. While preparing appropriate teaching environments for the child at school, the situations he will encounter in his life should be included.
The task of the teacher is to guide, not to lead. Students should plan their own development, and the teacher should guide them in this situation. The teacher is the preparer, guide and coordinator of the teaching environment. It should not be seen as the sole source of authority.
The school should encourage and direct students to cooperation rather than competition. Education for a civilized life should be a group life.
Democratic educational environment; For this, students should be allowed to direct themselves, to freely discuss ideas, to plan school activities with students and to participate in the educational life process of everyone. Progressives place emphasis on the dynamic aspect of the individual, participate in the group process, and give importance to self-realization by using scientific methods.

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology, Grade 4 “Sociology of Education” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); prof.