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The History Behind Progressivism Essay

1674 words - 7 pages

Defined by Princeton University’s WordNet research source, progressivism is (the political orientation of those who favor progress toward better conditions in government and society. From an educational standpoint, the term converts to define a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century and has persisted in various forms to the present. ( The idea of progressivism was introduced around the late 1890s (early 1900s) during the Progressive Era, in an effort to respond to the economic (industrial) and social issues that industrialization acquainted. The movement created the downfall of an exclusive government and converted it into a pro-reform network, made laws that set salaries and working standards, gave more rights to women, controlled child labor, and many more things that have impacted today’s government and legal decisions. Progressivism has greatly influenced the way that educators effectively educate their students, and how the students affected by it operate.
One of the main concepts behind progressivism was to improve the overall American lifestyle. Many state citizens were subject to products of low quality education, as well as low income households. According to a term paper provided by, progressivism allowed students to learn and develop as a person through lessons that cause the student to become involved in the lesson, along with the provision of a scientific method that allowed reflective thinking. (Mercado) Mercado’s document also observes that a challenge that the subject causes in modernized education is many educational environments follow a procedure where students are provided with a task or assignment, and are expected to practice it until they become seemingly proficient with it. Like other ideas, progressivism has negative and positive outcomes; positive results can be defined as educational integration into real world operations, such as political understanding, group and community building and development, and different levels of responsibility. Progressivism attempts to offer students a better understanding of different levels of learning and operating in a society where diversity is being identified and supplemented.
One of the most influential pieces to progressivism was John Dewy, a writer and philosopher who was deemed as “misunderstood” due to his “lumbering, bumbling, and inarticulate” thoughts. (Olson) Dewey’s thoughts consisted of the following: people learn by thinking about what they’re doing while performing the task, they progress by exploring and discovering new things, and they remembered their actions through habitual performance. Dewey was known for his non-traditional approach of teaching, where he’d actually interact with the students versus providing them with work, leaving them to complete the assignment, and return to his study to evaluate based on written ideas. He was also known to think in a present sense, as opposed to thinking about previous...

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