Progressivism My personal philosophy of education is most closely related to progressivism, which is a school of thought advocating that truth is determined by function. Progressivism is an educational philosophy focused on providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary not only to survive but also to succeed in a contemporary and competitive society. William James and John Dewey are accredited for developing the characteristically American philosophy of education that is progressivism. As the name suggests, progressivism is a philosophy that is adaptable for society's current state. It is a philosophy that promotes education aimed at helping students to develop the kind of problem solving skills that will enable them to function successfully in a competitive society. Progressivism focuses on educating students in a manner that leads them to become productive adults that adeptly function in an ever-changing world.
Progressivism curriculum has a strong emphasis on problem solving and analysis, for these skills are invaluable in today's society. Without problem solving abilities, an individual is lost and alone in the puzzling maze of society that characterizes the world today. Progressivism curriculum is centered on activities and instruction that challenge the students' problem solving and analysis abilities in an effort to strengthen these skills. Since progressivism is influenced by contemporary society, it is only appropriate that the progressivism curriculum is founded on providing for students instruction that ranges from basic real-world skills to higher levels of investigation and analysis. In line with the progressivism philosophy, the role of the teacher is to facilitate learning by posing questions for students that exercise their minds in a practical manner. Teachers are responsible for the preparation of students for the real world and it is within the classroom setting that teachers must recreate problems that exist in society and guide students in the direction of solving these problems.
Teachers of the progressivism philosophy encourage creative thinking as well as analytic thinking. The questions they pose for their students are often open-ended questions that may or may not have prescribed answers. Progressivism is centered on an ever-changing society, and so today's problems constantly become more intricate and complex, demanding that students use creativity and ingenuity to find the most viable solution. Teachers act as liaisons between the shelter of childhood and the harshness of the real world, and it is their responsibility to introduce the reality of being a productive member of society to their students and the expectations as well as obstacles that lay before them on their path to success in the real world. The teaching methods used in a progressivism classroom support the idea of problem-based learning wherein the student is required to develop original solutions to existing or potential societal problems.
Together with the teacher and classmates, students are given the opportunity to speculate and question the world around them and the world awaiting them. Within small peer groups, for instance, students are encouraged to discuss, share and compromise. The teacher is there to encourage this process, rather than to provide prescribed solutions. Similarly, the learning environment is collaborative and democratic, giving opportunity for all to speak their minds and receive feedback from peers as well as the teacher. This continuous loop of feedback, potentially positive or negative, serves as the means of assessment for problem-solving based instruction.