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Progressivism in Education


When well defined, progressivism is a shared name used in historiography to describe prehistoric levels in which specific means to contemplate development are noticeable. The main characteristics and theory of progressivism are written in this paper. This paper deliberates numerous aspects of progressivism in the following context: role of school, goals of learning and education, the choice of educational contents, type of knowledge and, perceptions on learning and instruction, in addition to the position of students and teachers in the educational process. This research paper’s starting point on progressive education is the analysis of its ideological, psychological, and philosophical foundations. Progressivism typically turned out to be common due to the work of John Dewey (1897). His conviction was in the knowledge that learners had and the reality that children will learn well by going through the idea first hand. 

In this paper, the aim is to analyze the theory of progressivism and highlight its functional features by describing the work of schools that have mainly accepted the progressive concepts from the first half of the twentieth century with the aim of their additional development. John Dewey believed that learners must try and fail in order to learn and develop understandings about the universe around them (Stone, 2020). This paper, on the other hand, shows the application of progressive ideas in practice in modern education. Cooperative learning open schools, experiential learning, multi-generation grouping, numerous programs of alternative schools, and schools without grades are the instances of infiltration of progressive concepts in present-day educational practice. Progressivism is about failing to succeed while hating and loving the emotions that follow.

Concepts of Progressivism

Progressive learning is a reaction to traditional ways of education. It can be well explained as a learning program that offers more value to knowledge than official learning. This method of learning is centered further on empirical education that focuses on the growth of a child’s talents (Flanagan, 2016). Progressive education is important since teachers do more than memorizing facts. Normally, experimental learning is well thought-out to be the greatest way for students to deal with real-life situations. In Progressivism, Progressivists believe that education should. Progressive education also develops students’ social skills, cooperation, imagination, critical thinking, and independence center on the whole youngster, slightly than on the teacher or the content.

Progressivists also believe that individuals study well from the things they deliberate most relevant to our life. The education idea philosophy focuses that learners’ ought to test ideas through active investigation. Learning is grounded in the queries of student’s that arise through experiencing the world. Educators ought to plan classes that arouse curiosity and push the learners to a higher level of understanding. In addition to reading textbooks, learners must learn by action. Learners should every so often leave the classroom for field trips during which they work together with society and nature. The curriculum should be centered on experiences, abilities, and interests.

Progressivisms Educational Beliefs

Another name for Progressivisms is constructivism. It has three main basic areas of focus: social justice, child-centered teaching, and egalitarianism. The students are persuaded to come up with their personal views of the world and choose what their principles will be. Each learner should create an individual identity rather than a teacher creating one for the class and transmitting it to the group as a whole. The learners need to understand themselves and their personal identity so that they develop a system of values for themselves and learn to respect others’.

The egalitarianism feature of progressivism centers on hatred of any competition between the students. There is no yearning to have grouping, ranking, or division within the group. This division comprises four standardized testing, the embodiment of the modern learning system in the United States. Child-focused studying inspires the students to put into practice their personal, creative styles, thinking, and higher-level capabilities to solve issues in innovative tactics, even though it is in a manner that the educator had not intended. On the other hand, social justice is making sure that all learners learn to respect all students’ values and rights, including those who are somehow different from their own.    

Progressivism should be functioning, to some point, in the education of America’s youth. In an analytical report, a researcher asked a certain University to be allowed to participate in every area of the admission process to see if it is at least as demanding and selective as it has been at other times in history. After some research, this involved attending meetings and reading applications. The researcher learned that competition s stiffer now than ever before in history. The Progressive movement’s main goals were tackling problems triggered by industrialization, development, immigration, and political corruption. The progressives’ major objectives were to support the principles of morality, economic reform, competence, and social wellbeing. The Progressives had many different methods and ideas on how to solve social problems (Flanagan, 2016). Students and children do more than memorize particulars in a progressivism institute. Other times, empirical studying is well thought-out to be an excellent method for youngsters to deal with real-life circumstances. Progressivism education additionally develops students’ creativity, social skills, independence, critical thinking, and team. For a kindergartener, egalitarianism is a method for a child to enter the educational system with no biased views about his or her ability to absorb learning. There are no judgments centered on socio-economic status, race, or prior knowledge. Liveliness can be grounded on the learning course and the excitement of what learning can give to the child. Imagination, exploration, and learning new skills are what are vital. Characteristics of the progressive period consist of a focus on family and education, prohibition, purification of the government, women’s suffrage, and modernization. The main objectives of the progressivisms were to come up with the ideas of economic reform, morality, social welfare, and efficiency. The progressivisms had various diverse ways and concepts on how to sort out social problems.


Progressivism is essential in education. Individuality, change, and progress are essential to someone’s learning. Progressivists believe that individuals learn well away from something they contemplate most important to their lives (Tröhler, 2017). They focus their curriculum on the abilities, needs, involvements, welfares of students. Centered on the knowledge of advancement in which developments in and social organization, technology, and economic growth are essential to the development of the human condition, progressivism became very important during the period of enlightenment in Europe, out of the conviction that Europe was showing that societies.


Flanagan, M. A. (2016). Progressives and Progressivism in an Era of Reform. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.

Stone, A. (2020). Martineau, Cobbe, and teleological progressivism. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 1-25.

Tröhler, D. (2017). Progressivism. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.