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Progressivism: Moving The Whole World Forward

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Progressivism: Moving the Whole World Forward

Marc Moreau

October 31, 2006

Developing my philosophy of education is not nearly as difficult as naming one particular philosophy that encompasses me as an educator. While tallying up the score of my quiz we had taken earlier in class, I was not surprised that I had scored high on one educational philosophy, progressivism. The rest of the philosophies; essentialism, perennialism, social reconstructionalism and existentialism scored lower, but not by much. According to the analysis of the quiz, I am a true progressivist. I am the progressive educator and I will show what progressivism is, how it is implemented in my classroom, how it suits my classroom management skills, and teaching skills.

Through my research I have found that progressivism is based upon organizing schools around concerns, curiosities, and real-world experiences of students by teachers who help in formulating meaningful questions and devising strategies to answer them through real world experience (Sadker, 335). In other words, teaching through activities and projects that make them think critically by learning through real interactions and testing which will develop their deep and complex thinking processes. One of the innovators of this way of thinking applied to teaching and education was John Dewey, a reformer with a background in philosophy and psychology. He believed the scientific method was a great way to go about thinking critically about the world around us (Sadker 335). He designed a classroom that encompassed facilities of a science laboratory, an art room, a woodworking shop, a kitchen, and many more places to learn hands on. Dewey also placed many of these students in groups to have maximum social interaction. This allowed for learning to incorporate cooperative model-making, role playing, dramatization, and field trips. These social interactions and hands on education were in place because Dewey believed that group dynamics and technique will make them better citizens by the willingness to share responsibility, ability to work in groups, and capability to figure out complex problems on their own. Working out complex problems and working in groups is a big part of biology and the classroom as well.

In my Progressivist classroom as a biology educator will be looking deeply into biological processes, but I will allow for fun activities, technology related activities, field trip, and/or experiment for every topic I will teach. The chairs will never be in a row but more in groups. The students will work as a group or team to get items accomplished to improve social skills. The students will learn through doing. By accomplishing activities students are better able to remember how to do it again. As an educator, I am a guide for those students to integrate learning activities so that students will find meaning in those activities. After I give my instructions, which are designed for maximum creativity, I will divide the class into groups. Then I will make sure that the students are on task by making stops at all of the groups and asking questions. My goal as an educator is for the students to become intelligent problem solvers, critical thinkers, and socially aware citizens who are prepared to live in this world.

My classroom management theory implicates questioning to show group alerting. The first day rules will be made and enforced all year round, but how those rules and punishments are made is up to the class. Students will not be allowed to get rid of all the rules, but may amend them, as well as the punishments. By having the students make their own punishments they will be more likely to accept responsibility because they broke a rule that they made. When asked why you were not prepared to display your project today, the student will despond. Then the teacher asks what the penalty for handing in homework or projects late, the student will know and not be stunned because of his grade drop because the class made the rules. By questioning the students they will greatly develop a sense of voice. Questioning will be used to show how well a student or the class grasps a concept. John Dewey said "to question


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