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Progressive education

The kind of progressive education described briefly in the last post necessitates a teacher who can listen and do the work necessary to make sense of what a student is saying, even when what a student is saying seems to make no sense. Learning is a path to understanding and not necessarily an immediate correct answer to a question. Much of what stands for teaching has nothing to do with working out of solutions to problems amongst thoughtful human beings but, rather is about getting as quickly as possible to correct answers that are of little intrinsic meaning to students. As one sensible scholar once said, teachers are forced to focus on “coverage” and to cover means, in one sense of the word, to hide. The real meaning of things and the meaning of real learning are intentionally hidden in schools where surface meanings (if they can be called that) are what is important, depth of understanding hardly at all a consideration.

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