“Neo – progressives” vs “1970s progressives”

Reading Robert Peal’s book “Progressively Worse”, I fell that perhaps he could update it with a sequel which recognizes the subtle differences between today’s progressive educationalists and those of the past. I have termed these groups “neo – progressives” and “1970s progressives” and have tried to summarize what I judge to be the similarities and differences between the two groups.

1. Like 1970s progressives, neo-progressives believe that education should be child centred and that teaching specific subjects is old fashioned and detrimental to progress.

2. Like 1970s progressives, neo-progressives believe that children’s opinions are paramount.

3. Like 1970s progressives, neo-progressives shun the word “pupil”, preferring the words “student” or “learner”.

4. Like 1970s progressives, neo-progressives prefer to celebrate “progress” rather than “attainment”.

5. Like 1970s progressives, neo-progressives believe in lavish praise for the most minor accomplishments.

However there are some key differences.

1. Unlike 1970s progressives, neo-progressives believe in smart uniforms. They create a good image.

2. Unlike 1970s progressives, neo-progressives are believers in data and believe children should be assessed frequently, provided that the bulk of the assessment involves skills rather than knowledge. They were fond of the old national curriculum levels and are dismayed at their abolition.

3. Unlike 1970s progressives, neo-progressives do not object to teacher instruction, provided that lessons are primarily “skills based”.

4. Unlike 1970s progressives, neo-progressives believe that preparing children for the world of work is of vital importance, provided that  the claims of the “Shift Happens” video are accepted without question.

5. Unlike 1970s progressives, neo-progressives do not have a problem with hierarchy. The word “leader” proliferates – progress leader, subject leader, learning leader, specialist leader.

Am I too simplistic?!

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3 Responses to “Neo – progressives” vs “1970s progressives”

  1. Requires Improvement says:

    You’re right about the uniforms thing! I was at secondary school in the 1980s- it didn’t feel too progressive at the time (it probably was a bit, though). Uniforms were a fairly good indicator of what a school was like. No uniform = trendy; Jumper/tie/trousers = not that trendy; Blazer = ex-grammar school that hasn’t come to terms with becoming a comprehensive.
    Now, even if what happens in the classroom is the full progressive banquet, the chances are that everyone will be kitted out in customised uniform with impractical details. It’s very strange.

    Liked by 1 person

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