Classical vs progressive education

Education is an important aspect of life. Everybody concur that education is necessary for survival. Since the start of the 20th century, education has been under debate from two sides. The one side is classical education, and the other is progressive education. Classical education is the type of traditional learning which deals with the study of language. Its main focus is on language, literature, and history. On the other hand, progressive education refers to modern education as the name suggested; progressive means the reform done to the education to make it more effective and student-centered.

Education specialists regularly question what teaching method should be chosen for the schools. Classical education is a teacher-centric education in which teachers decide how and what to teach. In the late nineteenth century, reformists decided to try a different method for learning and termed it progressive learning. In progressive education, the main focus is on students. A teacher is not the main center of progressive education.  It is an educational model whose main concern is what students are interested in and passionate about and what critical thinking can be used to develop it. The progressive education method teaches the student critical thinking, problem-solving, and lifelong learning skills. That is why many school administrators implement progressive education. Progressive education effectively trains students, and they do not need to use online assignment writing service for educational purposes.

Classical education

Classical education revolves around two things, the first thing that it is language-focused learning, and second that it follows the trivium pattern. Trivium pattern is an educational method that consists of three parts. The first part is to teach facts and build the basics of education, and it happens in the early stage of school. The second part is to teach students argument-based learning, which happens in middle school. The third and last part lets students express their thoughts and opinions; they learn it in high school.

Progressive education

Theorist John Dewey, in the 1880s, suggested different techniques for learning which was termed progressive education. Progressive education is the reformed education method, started in the early 20th century. Progressive education deals with the ideas and methods to make students stay competitive in this world. Progressive education focuses on developing students’ social, political, and economic skills to get reputable jobs in modern society.

Benefits of classical education

The most common benefit of classical education is that it is the legacy method and instructors understand it clearly. Teachers think it is a simpler approach to teaching students. They find it easy to carry out educational plans and coursework because they are familiar with it. Another advantage is that all the schools using this method for a long time. And it provides easy transfer from kindergarten to middle and from middle to high school.

Through this method, the schools can track the detail of the learning process. It benefits students by developing organization and discipline skills; classical learning makes students love classic books. It makes students interested in arts and literature. Classical education emphasizes an integrated view of the world and life. It also works on the moral development of children and increases moral values and wisdom. It provides an expansive view of life and helps students see different cultures, arts, and histories of different societies.

Disadvantages of classical education

Classical education decreases the creativity and imagination of students. Students only learn what their teachers teach. It makes them a machine that gets only information and does not think about it. Because of classical education, students do not question what they learn. Classical education only focuses on the memorization of information rather than actual learning. Its focus is on old languages like Greek and Latin, which do not have much scope nowadays. In classical education, students have to learn the history of different societies. Many students do not like history, making them disconnected from their studies.

Benefits of progressive education

Progressive education honors the creativity and interest of students. Teachers focus on the individual student’s passion and area of interest, and they encourage and teach them to develop it more. In this type of education, teachers do not need to feed knowledge to the students to get good marks. They make students work on different experiments, projects, and workshops. And ask them to work in a team to increase the collaboration skills of students. Progressive education develops the learning skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving and focuses on social skills such as communication and collaboration skills.

Progressive education increases the interest level of students in their education. Progressive education also makes students lifelong learners. It teaches students the skills which they can use in the real world. Researchers believe that progressive education benefits students lifelong and motivate them about their education.

Disadvantages of progressive education

The idea of progressive education is attractive, but it also has some disadvantages as it is a student-centered method rather than a teacher-centered technique. For it to be effective, students must understand their course properly. They have to learn from their own experiences, and it does not work for many students. Some students need teachers’ instructions and support to learn in a better way. In progressive education, teachers are basically sideline, which is not good.

Teachers are the ones with teaching experience, and they know better than students. Rather than depending on students’ personal experience for learning, teachers teaching experience is important to make them learn properly. Another disadvantage of progressive education is that it is a new approach, and schools have been teaching students with a classical approach for a long time. And making students change from a familiar approach to an unknown new approach will be difficult for them to adjust to it. It also affects their learning process rather than making it effective.

Both approaches have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and this debate will stay for more time. But it is up to the school which method they are choosing to teach their students. Because the main focus is education, it does not matter which approach is used.

Jennifer Alex

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