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I finished this one the other day. When the subject of Progressive Education comes up, I would think that most people think of some type of touchy-feely crap or associate the word progressive with current political views. However, Progressive Education goes way back. The authors go into some history of the Progressive Education movement and names like Froebel, Montessori, Pestalozzi come up, along with one of the big headliners in this country, John "Learn by Doing" Dewey. Having a couple of education degrees, I was pretty familiar with the history of the movement as well as most of the people named. I was a little fuzzy on Col. Francis Parker, though - probably because the last time I had heard of him was circa 1978.
The book is short and sweet. Tom Little is the main author and he was the headmaster of a progressive school out in California prior to his passing away due to cancer. In addition to some history of the Progressive movement, he describes how his school operates and tosses out ideas as to how by following the Progressive blueprint for education, America's schools could be improved. He draws these ideas not just from his school but also from other schools following a progressive plan. One of the other schools he visited for the book was the Putney School. I mentioned the Putney School shortly after starting the blog. If I was going to start my own school, it would be one of the first places I would look to for a model of how education should be done.
If you are a student of the art of education or you just want to know what can be done to improve education in mainstream schools, I'd give Loving Learning a look.
On a related note, I was watching the Chicago news a week or so back and a young man with MS set as his goal, not only to graduate from high school but to leave his wheel chair and walk across the stage to get his diploma. While they were relating the story of how his teachers and coaches worked with him to achieve the goal, I was thinking there had to be a shop teacher in there somewhere. Sure enough, they interviewed a vocational educator who was involved in making up some equipment for his therapy work. Coaches and shop teachers - they rock, and so does that young man!