Essays in Education


The progressive education movement, which promoted the philosophy of school reform that prevailed among waves of educational innovators throughout the 20th century, has been associated historically with John Dewey and has prided itself on implementing his ‘childcentered’ principles. However, there were major differences between many of the progressives’ attitudes and Dewey’s ideas about learning. To better understand why issues that originally separated Dewey from other progressives continue to be a source of conflict and confusion even today, as exemplified by an article that appeared in an edition of Education Week (Spencer, 2001; Weiner, 2001), this paper examines the philosophy and practices of some significant early progressive thinkers in light of Dewey’s theory of experience.

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