Progressive education can be traced back to the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, both of whom are known as forerunners of ideas that would be developed by theorists such psychological and pedagogical examination of children of early age Dewey. He further discussed the need for children to have concrete experiences in order to learn.
Rousseau deepened this line of thinking in Emile, or On Education, where he argued that subordination of students to teachers and memorization of facts would not lead to an education. He developed new teaching methods based on conversation and play with the child, and a program of physical development. Such was his success that he wrote a treatise on his methods, “On the best and hitherto unknown method of teaching children of noblemen”. Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer who exemplified Romanticism in his approach.
Pestalozzi who laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. He believed in “self-activity” and play as essential factors in child education. The five key ideas which composed his concept of individual maturation were Inner Freedom, Perfection, Benevolence, Justice, and Equity or Recompense. Exploited as cheap labor or imprisoned for unruly behavior, Bosco saw the need of creating a space where they would feel at home. 1883, Cecil Reddie was greatly impressed by the progressive educational theories being applied there. Reddie founded Abbotsholme School in Derbyshire, England in 1889. In the United States the “Progressive Education Movement”, starting in the 1880s and lasting for sixty years, helped boost American public schools from a budding idea to the regular norm.
John Dewey, a principal figure in this movement from the 1880s to 1904, set the tone for educational philosophy as well as concrete school reforms. His thinking had been influenced by the ideas of Fröbel and Herbart. As such, education should take into account that the student is a social being. The process begins at birth with the child unconsciously gaining knowledge and gradually developing their knowledge to share and partake in society.
The educational process has two sides, the psychological and the sociological, with the psychological forming the basis. A child’s own instincts will help develop the material that is presented to them. These instincts also form the basis of their knowledge with everything building upon it. This forms the basis of Dewey’s assumption that one cannot learn without motivation. Instruction must focus on the child as a whole for you can never be sure as to where society may end or where that student will be needed or will take them. Education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. Dewey felt that as education is a social construct, it is, therefore, a part of society and should reflect the community.
The teacher is a part of this, not as an authoritative figure, but as a member of the community who is there to assist the student. According to Dewey, the curriculum in the schools should reflect that of society. The center of the school curriculum should reflect the development of humans in society. The method is focused on the child’s powers and interests. If the child is thrown into a passive role as a student, absorbing information, the result is a waste of the child’s education.
Information presented to the student will be transformed into new forms, images, and symbols by the student so that they fit with their development and interests. The development of this is natural. In this respect, Dewey foreshadows Social Reconstructionism, whereby schools are a means to reconstruct society. Dalton Plan at the beginning of the twentieth century with the goal of reforming the then current pedagogy and classroom management.