作者:[美] 彼得·格雷


Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education
(Section 4)

Why I Think Self-Directed Education, Not Progressive Education, Will Become the Standard Mode of Future Education

(14)I admire progressive educators. Without exception, those I have met are good people, who care deeply about children and want to make children’s lives better. They see the harm of our standard system of education and want to do something about it. Progressive educators are at the forefront, right now, of attempts to reduce homework (so children will have a life outside of school), bring back recess, reduce or eliminate standardized testing, and allow teachers to be more flexible and responsive to children’s needs in the classroom. They are fighting an uphill battle, and I admire them for it. But this is a battle that has been going on for as long as we have had compulsory schooling. It is a battle that helps to modulate the excesses of standard education; but it is incapable of defeating it, because it accepts too much of the standard set of beliefs about what education must be.

(15)As long as teachers believe that it is their task to make sure that children learn certain things, at certain times in their development, then no matter how progressive their thinking, they will have to use coercive methods to get children to do that. Children do not, by nature, all develop similar interests at the same time, so it is impossible to operate in anything like a typical classroom, with more than a handful of students, on the assumption that all students will learn the expected curriculum by doing what interests them.

(16)I dare say that most new teachers, emerging from schools of education, enter their job thinking they are going to be progressive educators. They went into teaching, after all, because they love children; and in their education classes much if not most of the educational philosophy they read and heard about was progressive philosophy—about guiding, nurturing, and enabling, not about coercing. But then they entered the real world of the classroom. There they had thirty children, and had to keep order, and had to do something to make it seem like learning was going on; and their progressive ideas soon flew out the window. It’s no surprise that those schools that do operate in most accord with progressive principles are private and very expensive. They require small classes, a high ratio of teachers to students, and extraordinarily competent, dedicated teachers.

(17)Even ardent advocates of progressive education admit that one of the reasons progressive education has not taken off is that it is so demanding of teachers. Here, for example, is what Alfie Kohn has to say about that: “It [progressive education] is much more demanding [than traditional education] of teachers, who have to know their subject matter inside and out if they want their students to ‘make sense of biology or literature’ as opposed to ‘simply memorizing the frog’s anatomy or the sentence’s structure.’ But progressive teachers also have to know a lot about pedagogy because no amount of content knowledge (say, expertise in science or English) can tell you how to facilitate learning.” Add to that the idea that teachers are supposed to get to know all of their students as individuals and help them develop their full potential and their own interests, and you can perhaps begin to understand why progressive education has not replaced direct, drill-and-test education as the standard method.

One thought on “Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education (4)”

  1. Tuesday, 03 November 2020 11:30
















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