A Brief History of Progressive Education

with Dr. Jason Edwards

This course presents a concise history of progressive education that explains how modern education emerged around 1900 to challenge and eventually replace traditional, classical education as the reigning paradigm for American education. To truly understand the current American educational dilemma and challenge, we must know the story of the last 125 years of American educational history. In this course, Dr. Jason Edwards (historian of education at Grove City College) not only presents this story, with its various villains and detractors, but also contrasts the progressive model with the classical model it rose to challenge. Each lecture is followed by a discussion between Dr. Edwards and Dr. Christopher Perrin that explores the practical implications of various progressive educational ideas and practices, often contrasting them with the classical tradition of education. This course is particularly valuable for educational leaders who must distinguish classical education from the progressive model and often defend it from critics who favor the latter or elements of it. Anyone curious to know how the classical model was challenged and almost defeated will enjoy and benefit from this course.

Instructional Hours: 9.77, CEU Credits: 1

Below is the outline of the course. Please note that a discussion with Dr. Christopher Perrin follows each lecture except one.

  • Introduction: Why Study Progressive Education?
  • Lecture 1: Progressive Education and the Progressive Movement
  • Lecture 2: Education in America before Progressive Education
  • Lecture 3: Just What Is Progressive Education?
  • Lecture 4: Who Was John Dewey?
  • Lecture 5: The Progressive Revolution in America
  • Lecture 6: The Administrative Progressives
  • Lecture 7: The Pedagogical Progressives
  • Lecture 8: The Social Progressives
  • Lecture 9: The “End” of Progressive Education
  • Lecture 10: The Continuation of Progressive Education
  • Lecture 11: Deepening our Understanding of Education (E.D. Hirsh Jr. and Film Study)
  • Lecture 12: Taking the Long View of Progressive and Classical Education
Jason Edwards is an associate professor of education and history at Grove City College. He received his BA in history (1992) from Asbury College and his MA (1994) and PhD (2003) from the University of Kentucky. Jason has served on the board of the Society for Classical Learning and was also instrumental in developing the classical studies minor offered at Grove City College. Jason and his wife have two boys to whom they are giving a classical Christian education.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete each presentation lesson or discussion in the course (by marking it complete or by taking the quiz) and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload one or more essays demonstrating your understanding of the course. (Please note that essays are simply evaluated by word count.) When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will become available within “My Courses” (accessible under “Courses” in the main menu when you are signed in as an active subscriber).

We recommend previewing the essay question within the end of course test before starting the course. This will help in guiding your note taking as you progress through the course. Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 2 certification.


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