Traditional vs Progressive Education

Differences Between Traditional and Progressive Education

  • Traditional
    Progressive
  • School is a preparation for life that is endured.
    School is a part of life that is welcomed and enjoyed.
  • Children are passive absorbers of information and authority.
    Children are active participants, problem solvers, and planners. They have ownership of their learning.
  • Teachers are sources of information and authority.
    Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
  • Parents are outsiders and uninvolved.
    Parents are an extension of the classroom and serve as resources.
  • Instruction is linear and largely values knowing the facts.
    Instruction is spiraled and largely values knowing how to think.
  • Disciplines are taught separately.
    Disciplines are integrated as children make connections to real world applications.
  • Skills are taught discreetly and are viewed as goals.
    Skills are related to content and are viewed as tools.
  • Children Learning is valued by external criteria particularly test results.
    Children Learning is valued by a number of criteria including the character of learners.
  • Learning is driven by an external motivation of rewards or recognition.
    Learning is driven by an intrinsic motivation of a joy for learning.
  • Failure is penalized.
    Failure is seen as an important part of the learning process. Intellectual risk taking is encouraged.
  • Products are the end point.
    Process is valued in the creation of product.
  • Planning is carefully followed to meet pre-determined teacher objectives.
    Planning is intentional but emergent to support children’s unplanned explorations and extensions of learning.
  • Learning happens within the classroom.
    Lifelong Learning happens within the child.