Essay on Progressive Education in the 1970s

Essay on Progressive Education in the 1970s

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Did Progressive Education Permeate in an Immigrant High School in 1970s?
At the end of the nineteenth century, progressive movements emerged and affected many aspects of the United States such as education, culture and politics. Since the rapidly increase of enrollment in high school in this period, educators and reformers desired a apt method to teach these students and debated what should be involved in curriculum. The ideals of progressive education led by John Dewey, who is an American philosopher and progressivism reformer. He insisted the curriculum should be more flexible and base on students’ interest. Dewey encouraged children to go outside of classroom to learn the real life experience (Ravitch, 2000). Furthermore, in the twentieth century, the schools in this country were affected by a great number of immigrants, especially in the large cities. Ravitch (2000) wrote that in urban area, such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston, the second generation of immigrant was more than 50 percent in the public schools in 1910s. Were these newcomer students influenced by the progressive education?
I interviewed my advisor who is a Greek American attended high school in Tampa, Florida between 1971 and 1975. During this period, progressive education emerged again in the U.S. high school because of social and political reasons, including ongoing protests against the Vietnam War and nationwide desegregation for African American (Ravitch, 2000). I chose him as my interviewee because I was interested in exploring the effects of progressive theories for these immigrant students. He attended the single-sex magnet high school, which contains more than 50 percent Greek immigrants. He recalled that he did take the intelligence ...


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...did not exist in his school. However, although the emphasis of education returns to traditional way such as using less flexible curriculum, teaching basic subjects, various tasting and narrow choosing, we still notice the ideas of progressive education remain part of our educational scene such as teaching progressively. Compared to his experience, I find the education had a progress in the past forty years. Nowadays, high school students have more flexible curriculum, lots of social activities and more choices based on their interest. The ideas of progressive education are perfect in theory, but we cannot abandon traditional education. Without scientists such as Einstein, Tesla in 20th century, we would not have good life today. We should not only educate students based on traditional method, but also use some progressive ideals to train students more creative.



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