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Progressive Teaching

Updated on May 1, 2009
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The term "Progressive Teaching" was used chiefly by and about the reformers associated with Jane Addams, John Dewey, and other such people, who worked before and after 1900. It advocated a student-centered courses and pedagogies and about democratic efforts of many kinds in schools and universities. In a progressive school, you may find the following things:

Classroom layout suitable for Group works: In a traditional class room, all pupils seated in rows, facing their teacher at the front and the teacher could see all of pupils' faces. This might produce a quiet class conducive to concentration and hard work. Pupils were only allowed to sit with friends just so long as they were co-operative and muted conversation was relevant to the work they were doing.

But in a modern classroom, children are seated in a little groups facing each other. Such an arrangement may encourage idle chatter and constant distraction. This desks arrangement also requires a teacher to change teaching style to a more modern approach.

Teach in mixed ability:Most of the schools are taught in mixed ability. In a GCSE class a teacher may face an ability spread which ranged from near 'A' level to a few pupils who could barely read and write. This seems impossible for a teacher to aim a lesson at such a disparate group. The top were neglected and unstretched. The bottom were confused and lost - if they cared enough. Both extremes can and do become disruptive.

Comment in positive terms: Teacher may be forced to comment in positive terms since the system give teacher a limited number of statements from which to choose. A teacher may want to say:

"John is very lazy and has spent the term distracting and disturbing other pupils who were trying to work."

But all he can select is:

"John is experiencing some difficulties at this time, but we are confident he will soon make progress."

No marks:Marks have been banned on exercise books, or annual exams. Only comments couched in positive terms are permitted. Mark books ceased to be issued. It is not possible to give any numerical indication or letter grades as to how well or badly a pupil has performed. Even a pupil asks for a result - no marks. In fact no quantitative analysis or reference to the performance of other class members.

Difficult to punish:In a modern school, teachers have been forced to threw away the dreadful cane, corporal punishment has become illegal. Teachers even find very difficult to put a miscreant on an half hour detention, the progressive trend is to avoid any kind of punishments. Colleges have taught teachers to ignore bad behaviour and rely on the good will of pupils to co-operate in the classroom. But, sometimes they find a minority of destroyers, verbal abusers, taunters and disrupters get away their misconduct very easily, they totally lost control of their children.

Values clarification instead of Values transference: Values clarification is based on humanistic, psychological techniques, whereby children as young as five are offered a whole range of moral positions and told they must make their own choices according to what feels right in that particular situation. Teachers are no longer supposed to teach, or be figures of authority possessing knowledge to be passed on. Instead they must become 'facilitators'.

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