History of Progressivism
Progressivism was a social-political movement in the early 20th century. The progressive politics were very popular in America and have produced three presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Taft is a special case unlike the other two he opposed the expansion of presidential powers and was very strict in observance of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
Progressivism left a legacy of real social progress: the minimum wage, the right of women to vote, prohibition of labor exploitation of children, development of public education and sanitation, consumer protection system, improving working conditions, discouragement of monopolistic trusts.
The definition of progressivism defines the concept as a philosophical current of American origin based on pragmatism. Progressivism was a
revolution in the American story of education with a marking specificity. It appeared as a reaction to traditional school to meet the goal of connecting education to the new realities
required by the development of American society. Progressivism was based on John Dewey's pedagogical theory based on pragmatism.
The central concept of his philosophy was experience, which was the interaction between organism and environment in which there were distinguished two basic elements: action and knowledge. The first acted on the environment and
lead to environmental changes and the other one represented the perception of those connections of an object to determine its applicability in a given situation. Knowledge process occurs when
humanity is in a problematic situation and it has a clear experimental nature.
Progressivism's theory of education meant a teaching method based on children. The concept of experience appears as a striking and unifying element in Dewey's learning theory. Education was based on experience both theoretical and practical. Dewey's educational system was not only taking in account the philosophical concept, but also the economic and cultural realities of American society: American democracy, industrial revolution, the development of modern science. Educational process has two aspects: one psychological and one sociological and Dewey considered as fundamental the psychological aspect. In the experimental school founded by Dewey in Chicago, the education was focused on the needs of the child.
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