ERIC Number: EJ1226046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
The Pragmatic Progressives
Wraga, William G.
American Educational History Journal, v46 n2 p111-129 2019
Educational historians have established that progressive education was a multifaceted, diversified approach to education reform, and have recognized that such a variegated phenomenon is difficult, if not impossible, to define. Instead, historians attempt to capture the complexity of progressive education either by articulating its principal qualities or by identifying different wings, or varieties, of progressivism in education. This paper attempts to contribute to the historical understanding of progressive education by arguing in favor of recognizing a previously overlooked variety of progressive education that reflects not only definitive elements of John Dewey's educational theory, but also major tenets of American philosophical pragmatism, which may be called "pragmatic progressivism". The identification of pragmatic progressivism as a variety of progressive education could indicate that Dewey had more influence on educational practice than previously thought. This paper reviews representative historical attempts to characterize progressive education in the US and explains four elements of Dewey's educational theory that manifest tenets of American philosophical pragmatism. It then identifies fifteen historical progressive education activities and theoretical proposals that occurred during the period spanning the 1920s to the 1960s that reflect the four elements of pragmatic progressivism.
Descriptors: Educational History, Progressive Education, Educational Philosophy, Educational Theories, Educational Practices, Problem Solving, Educational Improvement, Democracy, Curriculum Development, General Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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Identifiers - Location: Colorado (Denver); Michigan