Title of the book: Curriculum Renewal in School
foreign Language Learning.
Title of chapter : Progressivism
The writer : John L. Cark.
The year of publication: 1987
Publisher: Oxford University Press
WHAT IS PROGRESSIVISM?
Progressivism is the educational philosophy
which is grounded in the “pure” philosophy of
Pragmatic ontology holds that reality is in the
area of everyday life, personal experience. Its
view is that ideas should be tested for their
Progressivism focuses on real-world problem
solving and individual development.
The leading spokesmen for progressivism were
the academic philosopher John Dewey and
THE FOCUS OF PROGRESSIVISM
Individual growth from within through interaction with
a favourable environment.
Learning through experience (learning by doing rather
than by being taught)
A speculative view of knowledge (knowledge is never
Natural learning processes and stages of development.
Sensitivity to the interests, rhythms, and styles of
learning of individual learners.
The learner as a whole person
The social nature of the learner and the development of
healthy relationship with others in the classroom
The promotion of learner responsibility and of learning
PROGRESSIVISM IN CURRICULUM DESIGN
It is a process approach design.
It emphasizes methodology and the need for
principles to govern the teaching/learning
The principles of process approach are designed
to promote inquiry, activity, discussion,
reflection, and open-ended personal
interpretations feature in the classroom.
SOME CONCRETE PROPOSALS AND
PRACTICES UNDERLYING THE
1. A pre-production phase
As pointed out by Krashen and Terrel that this phase
involves little real communication. The sort of
activities suggested for this phase are indicated
below. All involve a great deal of teacher-talk.
Commands and instruction
Routine classroom management talk
Descriptions of objects, people, or diagrams for pupils
Story-telling, with pictures to assist understanding.
2. The Procedural syllabus
The tasks were to be selected on two principles: that
they should represent an appropriate level of challenge
(neither too easy nor too difficult) for the pupil, and
that they should engage the pupil’s mind, so that there
would be a genuine preoccupation with understanding,
thinking out, doing, or saying something.
Brumfit has called the deep-end approach in which the
learners first communicate as far as possible with
what they can.
3. The deep-end approach
Breen and Candlin (1980) proposed such a version of
‘process’ approach which permits concious observation
of language experienced, discovery of rules, and
PROGRESSIVISM IN CURRICULUM RENEWAL
Progressivist curriculum renewal is both teacher-
based and school based.
It tends to place its emphasis on the need for
teachers to work out their own solutions to their
own curricular problems in the context of their
A CRITIQUE OF PROGRESSIVISM
This approach has seldom been applied in any
serious way in education because it is difficult to
criticize it from an experiential viewpoint.
PROGRESSIVISM (RICHARD’S ARTICLE)
Richards discussed the progressivism on his
article as Central Design. Curriculum
development starts with the selection of teaching
activities, techniques and methods rather than
with the elaboration of a detailed language
syllabus or specification of learning outcomes.
(Curriculum Approaches in Language
Teaching: Forward, Central, and Backward
Jack C. Richards
IMPLEMENTING CENTRAL DESIGN
THE CENTRAL DESIGN PROCESS
PROGRESSIVISM (WINCH AND GINGELL)
In this book, progressivism is viewed as a cluster
of doctrines concerning pedagogy, aims, and the
curriculum. It emphasizes on the individual child
as the centre of pedagogic concern.
Clark’s book discusses progressivism broadly. It
presents many discussions from other
progressivists. Therefore, this book gives us more
understanding about how progressivism applied
in education system. On the other hand, there
are so many subheadings that may lead the
reader to the confusion.
In Richard’s article on “Curriculum Approaches
in Language Teaching: Forward, Central, and
Backward Design”, progressivism is discussed
briefly in the relation of how it is applied to the
curriculum design process. This article discusses
progressivism in an easy way to understand.
In Winch and Gingell’s book on Philosophy of
Education: The Key Concepts, they further discuss the
progressivism in relation to how the two key figures,
Rousseau and Dewey, view this doctrine. Also, they
present how progressivism is implemented in America.
By understanding this philosophy of education,
as a teacher, we have to know which approach
can suit well to our learners’ needs. Despite of
the good points of process approach underlying
this philosophy, there are some weak points that
a teacher should be aware of.