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ERIC Number: ED407198
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct-13
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Progressive Education and the "Indian New Deal".
Reyhner, Jon
This paper examines the progressive education movement and its effect on American Indian education. Progressive education became popular during the late 19th century during the period when American Indian children were being enrolled in Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools. John Dewey, who is considered the father of progressive education, stressed the importance of learning from experience as an alternative to traditional education that was academic in orientation and irrelevant to students. In 1928, the Meriam Report determined that American Indian education was failing according to the principles of progressive education. In 1929, Charles Rhodes, the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs, echoed the Meriam Report, and recommended that local materials and daily experiences be used to teach American Indian students. He also asked that elementary teachers encourage their students to write about their customs, legends, and economic and social activities. This focus on active learning marked the beginning of a new philosophy that would influence American Indian education during the next several decades. Others areas that were strongly influenced by the progressive education movement included the implementation of methods for teaching English and reading that were relevant to Indian students' life experiences, development of bilingual and English as a Second Language programs, use of thematic units, and replacement of boarding schools with community schools. By the 1950s, progressive education was in decline in BIA schools due to criticisms of its methods, decentralization of governance, and budget cuts. This paper suggests that the educational practices implemented during the progressive education movement have merit, and that contemporary educators should examine past educational trends to learn what works in American Indian education and avoid repeating past mistakes. Contains 32 references. (LP)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A