Progressive teaching versus Traditional Teaching
Pedagogy comes in a myriad of differing appearances. Pedagogy is the art and science of how something is taught and how students learn it. Pedagogy includes how the teaching occurs, the approach to teaching and learning, the way the content is delivered and what the students learn as a result of the process. In some cases pedagogy is applied to children and andragogy to adults; but pedagogy is commonly used in reference to any aspect of teaching and learning in any classroom. Pedagogy depends on where you are and who you are. It cannot be discussed without looking at one’s personal philosophy towards teaching and one’s government authority documents. The way it looks is dependent on all this and also on many other factors including but not limited to the cohort being taught, the community in which the teaching occurs and the country that the teaching is occurring in. Most pedagogy and teaching can be categorised into two distinct but broad groups – Progressive and Traditional. This paper will look further into each of these two topics, define them and categorize the pedagogy that is involved. It will discuss the idea that both can be effective and also limiting in their own rights. A personal opinion will be discoursed at the conclusion of the discussion.
John Dewey has played a consistent and powerful role in the debate between Progressive and Traditional teaching or pedagogy. He defines Traditional teaching as being education that is based upon the "process of overcoming natural inclination and substituting in its place habits acquired under external pressure", He says that this happens as information and skills that have been decided upon in the past are fed to students. This type of education presents a pattern of organization and control by the teacher. This pattern Dewey says dictates learning to the student and as a result the students gain a sense of "docility, receptivity, and obedience" This method is one where on the teacher has full authority of the students and their learning. To simplify this meaning, students are passive absorbers of information and authority. It is found in a number of publications on the issue that Traditional teaching is mostly a procedure that focuses on skills and areas of knowledge in isolation that is ‘not integrated’. The independent Schools magazine adds to this where it defines Traditional teaching and pedagogy as being one which prepares for later life. Traditional Education is focused on end results and the curriculum is often based on a set of skills and knowledge and disciplines are taught independently of one another. Learning is undertaken usually by worksheets, textbooks and lectures. This directed instruction model has its foundations embedded in the behavioural learning perspective (Skinner, 1938) and it is a popular technique, which has been used for decades as an educational strategy in all institutions of learning. Whilst this may work for some for others it is limiting and confining. An alternate is pedagogy rooted in progressive techniques.
A Traditional approach requires efficient content planning and good oral communication skills of the teacher, instructional steps must be shadowed in a order and it only allows for a one way flow of information (Damodharan & Rengarajan, 2007; Schwerdt & Wuppermanny, 2010). The Traditional teaching method “emphasizes learning by listening, which is a difficulty for students who prefer other learning styles” (Schwerdt & Wuppermanny, 2010, p. 1) and it also lacks interaction with students in the classroom (Damodharan & Rengarajan, 2007, p, 4). The learning is from ‘memorization but not understanding’ and ‘more emphasis has been given on theory without any practical and real life situations’ (Damodharan & Rengarajan, 2007, p, 4). Which according to Jaques (1992), encourages students to focus on superficial indicators rather than on fundamental underlying principles,...
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UCLA school of management. (Producer). (Uploaded: 31st July, 2007). Progressive education in the 1940’s. [youtube clip]. USA.
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