Traditional vs Progressive Education

Differences Between Traditional and Progressive Education
  • Traditional
  • School is a preparation for life.
    School is a part of life.
  • Learners are passive absorbers of information and authority.
    Learners are active participants, problem solvers, and planners.
  • Teachers are sources of information and authority.
    Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
  • Parents are outsiders and uninvolved.
    Parents are the primary teachers, goal setters, and planners, and serve as resources.
  • Community is separate from school, except for funding.
    Community is an extension of the classroom.
  • Decision-making is centrally based and administratively delivered.
    Decision-making is shared by all constituent groups.
  • Program is determined by external criteria, particularly test results.
    Program is determined by mission, philosophy, and goals for graduates.
  • Learning is linear, with factual accumulation and skill mastery.
    Learning is spiral, with depth and breadth as goals.
  • Knowledge is absorbed through lectures, worksheets, and texts.
    Knowledge is constructed through play, direct experience, and social interaction.
  • Instruction is linear and largely based on correct answers.
    Instruction is related to central questions and inquiry, often generated by the children.
  • Disciplines, particularly language and math, are separated.
    Disciplines are integrated as children make connections.
  • Skills are taught discretely and are viewed as goals.
    Skills are related to content and are viewed as tools.
  • Assessment is norm-referenced, external, and graded.
    Assessment is benchmarked, has many forms, and is progress- oriented.
  • Success is competitively based, derived from recall and memory, and specific to a time/place.
    Success is determined through application over time, through collaboration.
  • Products are the end point.
    Products are subsumed by process considerations.
  • Intelligence is a measure of linguistic and logical/mathematical abilities.
    Intelligence is recognized as varied, includes the arts, and is measured in real-life problem-solving.
  • School is a task to be endured.
    School is a challenging and fun part of life.

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