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The New Progressivism is Here!
 

The New Progressivism is Here!

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Presentation on one view of the evolution of progressive education in the 21st century, originally made for the Progressive Education Network national conference in October 2009.

Presentation on one view of the evolution of progressive education in the 21st century, originally made for the Progressive Education Network national conference in October 2009.

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    The New Progressivism is Here! The New Progressivism is Here! Presentation Transcript

    • The New Progressivism …is here! Peter Gow Beaver Country Day School PEN 2009
    • “ What is Progressive Education ?”
      • A question that baffles the general public
      • A question that challenges educators to explain themselves and what they do
      • A “whipping boy” of an idea that has complicated our lives with distractions and red herrings for a century
      • Target of choice for Hirsch, Ravitch, Finn, and more (especially when we let them define us)
      • A question some of us are tired of answering
    • Assault on Progressive Education
      • “ Permissive” education
      • “ Content-free” education
      • “ Alternative” education
      • Founding Father John Dewey, condemned as
          • Atheist
          • Socialist
          • Elitist conspirator
          • “ One-worlder”
      • (And our work is often damned in the same terms) ‏
    • Why a “New Progressivism”?
      • To acknowledge the evolution of the paradigm
      • To focus on the positive aspects of current best practice
      • To acknowledge the adoption of new ideas and practices in many schools--independent, charter, pilot, some public
      • To position progressive education positively for a new century
      • To acknowledge continuities and clarify distinguishing characteristics
    • The New Progressivism
      • Not fundamentally ideological or political but politically progressive in its essence
      • Grows out of the “child-centered,” “experiential,” and “democratic” traditions of old Progressive thinking
      • Incorporates new understandings of child development, cognition, and Constructivist learning theory
      • Universalizes “Old Progressive” belief in the potential of each child through new models of intelligence, cultural identity, and pedagogical practice
    • What’s been happening?
      • New understandings of human and child development
      • New understandings of brain function and cognition
      • New ideas about the nature of intelligence
      • New ideas about “learning style”
      • Social/political evolution: civil rights, environmental awareness, global awareness
    • New Ideas about Development
      • Cognitive, social, moral, and racial identity development: Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Bronfenbrenner, Cross, Parham, Helms
      • New answers to questions like
        • When are children ready to learn?
        • How does language development relate to other kinds of development?
        • When can children internalize particular kinds of intellectual and moral concepts?
        • How do social, cultural, and racial contexts and factors affect child development?
        • How can curriculum best engage and serve many kinds of learners at different developmental levels?
    • New Ideas about Intelligence
      • Intelligence and learning theory: Bruner, Gardner, Sternberg, Ritchhart
      • Intelligence: multiple, triarchic, dispositional (and does it matter, except insofar as models help us design effective learning experiences?)
      • New answers to questions like
        • What does it mean to be “smart”?
        • What role do interest and experience play in intelligence?
        • Are learning differences and “learning disabilities” expressions of neuropathy or neurodiversity?
    • Principles of Progressive Education (Smith et al. for PEA, 1924) ‏
      • Freedom to develop naturally
      • Interest, the motive of all work
      • The teacher a guide, not a taskmaster
      • Scientific study of pupil development
      • Greater attention to all that affects the child's physical development
      • Cooperation between school and home to meet the needs of child life
      • The progressive school a leader in educational movements
    • Hallmarks of the New Progressivism
      • Thematic, cross-disciplinary, understanding-based curriculum
      • Assessment-driven instruction
      • Real-world problem-solving to engage students
      • Emphasis on the creative self
      • Exploration of character and values in authentic social contexts
      • Technology as a powerful tool, but not an end
      • A culture of professional reflection and growth
    • Some Key Differences
      • New Progressives skeptical of psychometrics: DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION, not differential diagnosis
      • New Progressives believe that ALL children can meet high standards
      • New Progressives acknowledge and celebrate cultural difference
      • New Progressives emphasize outcome-based curriculum design
    • Some Key Continuities
      • Interesting and engaging students remains the key to success
      • Experience and thematic, interdisciplinary curriculum are central to learning
      • The “teacher as guide” role
      • The teacher-observer role focuses on detailed understanding of individual differences
      • Focus on the development of the whole child as an individual free from unnecessary constraints
    • Understanding-Based Curriculum
      • Incorporates work like that of Bruner, Gardner, Wiggins & McTighe, and others in curriculum (“backwards design”) ‏
      • Constructivist to its core
      • Acknowledges new findings in cognitive science
      • Builds understanding around powerful questions and experiences, active inquiry
      • Teaching for Understanding; Understanding by Design
    • Assessment-Driven Instruction
      • Makes standards explicit, offers tools for improving performance
      • Uses explicit instruction-assessment-feedback loop to build student understanding and capacity
      • Multiple modes of assessment to build multi-dimensional picture of individual student performance and understanding
    • Real-world problem solving
      • Challenges students with multiple perspectives
      • “ Authentic assessment” using real problems
      • Project- and problem-based learning methodologies to engage student interest
      • Assessment for audiences beyond the teacher or classroom
      • Embraces ambiguity and open-endedness
      • Permits and elevates themes of globalization, environmental awareness
    • Emphasis on the Creative Self
      • The arts as a catalyst to analytical and critical thinking
      • Values design and story as modes of communication and analysis
      • Problem-solving that rewards innovation and flexibility of mind
      • Builds on the public and collaborative nature of creative activity
    • Character and Values in Authentic Social Contexts
      • Student participation in school decision-making, governance
      • Schools as diverse, collaborative learning environments
      • Importance of living, working, and creating across boundaries: race, gender identity and expression, culture, religion, age, ability
      • Service, service learning, social justice, and cross-cultural experiences built into learning
      • Equity pedagogy acknowledges difference and works to give all students equal chance at success
    • Technology as a Powerful Tool
      • “ 21st-century learning” integrates emerging and established technologies with proven methods
      • Promotes collaboration, communication, creativity, and in-depth research
      • Expands the boundaries of the classroom to support authentic learning and expand social contexts
      • Acknowledges limits of technology in creating human-scale learning environments and solutions to issues of social justice
    • A Culture of Professional Reflection and Growth
      • Teaching as a profession with established standards and expectations
      • Acknowledges ongoing research and improvements in practice; idea-driven
      • Promotes and rewards professional collaboration and creativity
      • Technology promotes establishment of professional learning networks, sharing of best practices
      • (Contributions of Coalition, Ted Sizer)
    • A Little Survey
      • NP themes in PEN workshops:
        • Curriculum & Assessment 28
        • Diversity, equity, civic engagement 20
        • Social and cognitive development, in context 18
        • Reflection on professional culture and practice 16
        • Arts, creativity 8
        • Technology 4
    • NAIS “Alive & Well” Schools
      • Anecdotal research from summer 2009
      • “ Thriving” schools in challenging contexts
      • Common themes
        • Curriculum development on New Progressive themes
        • Values-driven initiatives around civic engagement
        • Intentional development of reflective and growth-oriented professional culture
    • Here and there…
      • Charter and pilot schools prime exemplars of New Progressive ideals and practice; walking the walk of democracy and inclusivity
      • A few brave public schools bucking the trend of retreating to the safety of progress as measured only by standardized tests
      • But still, small voices examples can be found almost everywhere, in every school
      • Probably erroneous to declare victory, but the New Progressivism is here
    • Your thoughts? Peter Gow [email_address] www.newprogressivism.org