The Analysis Of Progressivism By John Dewey

In this paper, I will provide an in-depth analysis of progressivism and explain why it speaks to me and how my interest in this educational philosophy has impacted my classroom practices. The educational philosophy progressivism was led by John Dewey and it puts the stress on learning by doing rather memorizing and reciting. In a classroom where progressivism is used, the emphasis is placed on activities that allow the students to build skills by using them. In such a classroom, learning through exploration and experience. “Progressivists center their curricula on the needs, experiences, interests, and abilities of students. Progressivists like romantics believe that education should focus on the whole student, rather than on the content or the teacher” (4 Major Educational Philosophies Perennialism). Progressivism believes that students learn best when they pursue their own interests and are satisfying their own needs. It also claims that students learn better from what they consider most relevant to their lives. Thus, progressivism promotes basing instruction on the needs, interests, and developmental stage of the child; it encourages teaching students the skills they need in order to learn any subject, instead of focusing on transmitting a particular subject; it believes also in promoting discovery and self-directed learning by the student through active engagement; it advocates having students work on projects that express student purposes and that integrate the disciplines around socially relevant themes; and it is about promoting values of community, cooperation, tolerance, justice, and democratic equality as well. 

Progressivism embraces ‘child-centered instruction’, ‘discovery learning’, and ‘learning how to learn’. John Dewey is remembered as the father of pedagogical Progressivism introducing a democratic environment in schools, authority is now out of the door and students’ interest prevails, social issues learn by doing. For Dewey, that will lead to engaging in authentic and meaningful projects in the community, an ideal learning environment, and collaboration takes place and encouraged, setting a boundary that is achievable to every student. The teacher is no longer the only one in charge of the leaning but everyone in the classroom. The teacher is now only the facilitator, he or she is nor longer ‘the know it all’ person who comes to teach and everyone else sits, listens, and learns. The educators teach children how to think rather than relying on note memorization. The teachers put emphasis on real-world problem solving and individual development.

The educational philosophy Progressivism speaks to me more than many other philosophies. I teach mathematics I do believe that every single one of my students is gifted and achieve everything he or she wants. I always try to find the best way each of them learns best. I would have loved to be able to redesign our curriculum with my students to get to create a curriculum the will incorporates their interests. However, I always try to let them chose the chapters and lessons they want to start with. I also explain to my students the importance of what they are learning and where it will be needed in the real world. This philosophy suits best with my teaching philosophy. I do like to have students' input on what they are learning and I do believe in learning by doing and by experience because when a student can relate to what we teach them, they are more likely to understand well and they enjoy what they are taught. Project-based learning is a great way to get students more engaged and more interested in what they are learning. Being able to know the interest of your students and use that to enrich the curriculum is a perfect way to make students feel valued and appreciated. My students are in several learning groups. I encourage them to learn at their own pace.


  1. 4 Major Educational Philosophies Perennialism. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2020, from
  2. 390, 10, & 65354. (2016, November 03). Philosophies of Education: 3 Types of Student-Centered Philosophies. Retrieved September 20, 2020, from
  3. Ruchi263 Follow. (2017, December 14). Philosophy of progressivism. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from
07 July 2022
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