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progressive education

any of various reformist educational philosophies and methodologies since the late 1800s, applied especially to elementary schools, that reject the rote recitation and strict discipline of traditional, single-classroom teaching, favoring instead more stimulation of the individual pupil as well as group discussion, more informality in the classroom, a broader curriculum, and use of laboratories, gymnasiums, kitchens, etc., in the school.
Also called progressivism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for progressive education
Historical Examples
  • The progressive education of a child should be, as far as possible, unconscious.

    Concerning Children Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • "It was progressive education that destroyed reading," McCarthy said heatedly.

    What Rough Beast? Jefferson Highe
  • "It takes time to undo the damage of progressive education," McCarthy said.

    What Rough Beast? Jefferson Highe
  • The further development of religion in a community so mixed must depend on the progressive education and elevation of the people.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies
  • The individual soul is an epitome of the whole Universe which exists only for its progressive education.

  • It is the aim of progressive education to take part in correcting unfair privilege and unfair deprivation, not to perpetuate them.

progressive education in Culture

progressive education definition

A broad movement for educational reform in the twentieth century. Progressive education is principally associated with John Dewey, but it contains many different and often conflicting ideas. In general, progressive educators view existing schools as too rigid, formal, and detached from real life. They prefer informal classroom arrangements and informal relations between pupils and teachers. They also prefer that schools teach useful subjects (including occupations) and emphasize “learning by doing” rather than instruction purely from textbooks. Some place the developing personality of the child at the center of educational thinking and insist, “teach the child, not the subject.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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