When Progressive Teaching Meets The Reality Of Human Children – Not A Pretty Sight


That progressive ideas have a certain problem when they meet – and thus conflict – with reality is obvious. If we really all were the entirely cooperative beings that certain economic theories suppose then socialism would work. As it doesn’t then we have to question that core belief about the inherent cooperativeness. Another way of saying much the same thing is that if incentives didn’t matter then that same socialism would work. It don’t so therefore serious consideration must be given to the idea that incentives – direct and personal incentives – matter. As this is one of the core proposals and lessons of economics we can indeed say that socialism is in violation of the basic tenets of economics.

And so to progressive teaching methods:

Progressive teaching methods have fuelled rise in poor discipline, bad behaviour tsar says

Well, yes, obviously. For there are those who obviously require a clip around the ear and equally obviously those – today – who don’t get it. But that’s to be reactionary and fascist and, despite sometime appearances, this isn’t the Reactionary Times and Feudal Herald.

There’s still a certain problem with those progressive assumptions:

Progressive teaching methods have fuelled the rise in poor discipline, the Government’s bad behaviour tsar has said. Tom Bennett, who has been appointed by ministers to head up a taskforce into bad behaviour at schools, said that for several decades the issue has been “swept under the carpet”. In his first interview since his appointment, he said progressivism – the dominant ideology in education which became popular in the 1960s and 70s – has led to low level disruption going unchallenged. “There was a massive assumption that children would behave if you simply planned lessons correctly, if you allowed them to do lots of independent work, project work, group work and so on, and that these teaching methods would create great behaviour” he told The Telegraph.

Well, quite. We’ve that usual observation to make about progressive plans. Those making the plans seem to have met remarkably few humans, those who they desire to apply those plans to. The average five year old human just isn’t as the theory supposes the anklebiters are:

But these methods have been phased out in favour of the progressive “child-centred” learning methods, where the emphasis is on keeping students interested by allowing them to learn from each other rather than exclusively taking instruction from the teacher. This approach may involve asking students to work together in small groups, discuss issues among themselves and express their opinion. Child-centred methods have also been characterised as allowing pupils to proceed at their own pace and make discoveries independent of the teacher.

As PJ O’Rourke has been known to note, only people who have never dated an El Ed major fail to understand what is wrong with education. We’re not exactly recruiting the brains of our generation into that workforce. Which is of course why that workforce falls for the sort of tripe the progressives tell them about teaching snots.

“Progressivism rests on the idea that children want to behave and they want to learn, the teacher needs to step back and allow the child to explore their natural curiosity, which will motivate them and keep them engaged,” Mr Bennett said.

Isn’t that fun as an assumption? Because if it were true then we wouldn’t need trained teachers in schools, would we? The brats want to learn, they will learn therefore. Actually, we don’t even need schools. Just release them into the wild somewhere near a library and they’ll get on with it themselves.

Ah, you say, that wouldn’t work? Then and therefore our assumption about all just wanting to learn is wrong, isn’t it?

To approach the same point alternatively. If kiddies just thirst for that knowledge to be imparted then why do we monitor truancy? If the first assertion is true then there won’t be any of the second. If we have incidence of the second – and we do indeed have a system to both monitor and try to prevent it – then the first assertion cannot be true. Not of all, all the time that is. And that’s all we need to be able to insist that a teaching method based upon its universal existence is wrong.

Not for the first time Progressivism fails when applied to actual human beings.