Personal Perspectives Regarding Progressive Education: The Need for Change in the World of Academia

Student: Nicole Higgins*
Mentor: Susan Gannon
Major: Psychology

In recent years, there has been much discussion over updating the realm of education. In particular, one of the most controversial debates has been over standardized testing and the alignment of classroom lessons with the material on the tests. Through this capstone, I will propose an alternative idea to modernize education by consulting the works of developmental psychologists and pioneers in the progressive education movement. These psychologists and educational reformers include, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, John Dewy, as well as the Reggio Emilia approach. Using research from the work of the above individuals, I will discuss an original philosophy of education. I will argue that the proper approach to a new education philosophy is one that follows the natural development of students. In basing education and teaching practices off of the natural development of children, the student is able to gain more knowledge and understanding of classroom lessons so that the student is able to gain more knowledge and understanding from classroom lessons. The student is then better able to apply what was learned in the classroom in reality. Instead of following the path of standardization where teachers are forced to “teach to the test,” teachers should be cultivating the minds of young learners based on development to inspire a lifetime love of learning throughout all stages of life.

*Honors Senior