Progressive education vs. traditional education

Percy L. Abram explains the tenets of progressive education and how it differs from traditional education
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Progressive education vs. traditional education

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When I think about a progressive education, I think about one that's based on an inquiry model. So you take a student's natural curiosity about the world, and you base your programs and your curricula around that inquiry. So if a child is curious about science, and has specific questions about how the metamorphic stages of a caterpillar take place, there are so many ways you can build a curriculum around that very particular question. As students get older, I think more and more rather than feeding them answers, what a progressive education does is it teaches them to ask deeper, more thoughtful and more critical questions about the world around them. When I think of a traditional education, and I came from a background of traditional education, I think it presents to you a canon, a body of knowledge, and expects for you to take on that body of knowledge. And rather than process and synthesize it, just to absorb it and send it back. A progressive education I think is more experiential. It touches you and sees how it touches the world around you. And again, it's one where students are the unit of analysis rather than a body of knowledge.

Percy L. Abram explains the tenets of progressive education and how it differs from traditional education

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Percy L. Abram, PhD

Head of School

Percy Abram is the Head of Gateway School.  Gateway School is a Kindergarten – 8th grade independent school in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to joining Gateway School, Dr. Abram was the Upper Division Director at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.  An LA native, Dr. Abram received his B.A. (Economics) and M.A. (Education) degrees from UCLA, and his M.A. (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Education) from Stanford University.  Dr. Abram and his wife are the parents of a 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son, and despite running a school and being responsible for 260 students each day, he still finds parenting his most challenging job.

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