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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Progressive education emerged from a variety of reform movements, especially romanticism, in the early nineteenth century. Reflecting the idealism of contemporary political revolutions, it emphasized freedom for the child and curricular innovation. The Swiss educator Johann Pestalozzi established popular model schools in the early 1800s that emphasized teaching young children through familiar objects, such as pebbles and shells, and not from textbooks. A German romantic, Friedrich Froebel, studied with Pestalozzi and invented the kindergarten, which spread worldwide. Progressive education mostly influenced pedagogy in the early elementary school grades. Over the course of the twentieth century, however, progressive ideals survived at other levels of schooling. Innovative teaching and curricular programs appeared in different times and places in model school systems, laboratory schools on college campuses, open classrooms, and alternative high schools. The greatest barriers to student-centered instruction included the widespread use of standardized testing and the prevalence of didactic teaching methods.

Keywords: constructivism, John Dewey, Friedrich Froebel, kindergarten, object teaching, Johann Pestalozzi, progressive education, project method, romanticism

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