Constructing School Systems

Three things I learned are:

1) “In the early twentieth century, many educators advocated a philosophy of educational progressivism. Educational progressives, combining faith in the twin virtues of science and humanism, viewed schools as institutions that contributed to the realization of social progress by allowing students to develop their full human potentials. They wanted to replace earlier models of child development, which emphasized routine tradition and factory-like regulation, with approaches that provided opportunities to foster interest, creativity, and positive personal growth.” (Wotherspoon, p. 66-67). Progressivism is a holistic approach that focuses on the whole child.  This approach has student learn through their own experiences and revolves around the students’ needs including teaching them to be good people and citizens, in addition to good learners.

2) “Progressivism advocated the incorporation within schooling of subjects that allowed for artistic and interpersonal development rather than strict academic courses. Teachers, in turn, required specialized training, in part to learn the scientific principles on which pedagogy and human development were grounded” (Wotherspoon, p. 67). The progressivism philosophy stresses that children should actively test ideas through active experimentation.  The focus is on the child rather than the teacher solely delivering content.

3) “In Canada, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in education increased 5.8 times between 1960 and 1970” (Wotherspoon, p. 69).

Two Connections I made are:

  1. In the early twentieth century there was a movement in education entitled progressivism. During the progressive movement many teachers were advocating for this new way of thinking and teaching. These views were completely opposite to the forced assimilation in Residential School teaching.
  2. The Progressivism philosophy of the twentieth century promoted children learning by testing ideas through active experimentation.  This has evolved and the concept is still current today and is the center of the Early Year’s Play and Exploration Model for preschool children and into kindergarten and the early grades.

One Question I still have is:

Throughout the Wotherspoon reading, it is stated several times that education continues to get bigger and bigger. While the education system grows, the government funds for education are shrinking so it often feels like we are moving backwards. How can we continue towards the progressivism educational philosophy with fewer and fewer resources?


One thought on “Constructing School Systems

  1. That is a very good question Laura, as I am sure many of us have been wondering about it for awhile. Seeing as education just received another big cut last year from the government, but why right? As education is the main and prime factor in everyone’s lives, as it helps people succeed throughout life. Although I do not have an exact answer towards this, I know working together with other teachers with helpful resources or ideas. It’s not different, if we borrow or help one another out, we will work together to improve the education of the students in our classroom. There is no way around changing the governments budget cuts, therefore, working with your colleges and also making your own resources will help continue towards the progressivism educational philosophy to the best of our ability.


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