17 juillet 2011

The Religious Roots of “Child‑Centered” Education, by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

The Religious Roots of “Child‑Centered” Education

Classical Teacher, Summer 2007
The Disney Corporation’s Celebration School sounded like yet another fairytale from the creators of The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. It was supposed to be the ideal school, set in Disney’s newly created Florida community, Celebration. According to The New York Times, the school was to follow the “most advanced” progressive educational methods. 

In fact, these “new” methods were rebottled versions of earlier progressive schemes going back at least 100 years, schemes such as: - multi-aged groups in which each child goes at his or her own pace; 
- individualized assessments instead of objective tests;  
- teachers as coaches rather than sages; 
- projects instead of textbooks.
Such methods, although they have been in use for decades, have rarely worked well. 
 In the 1980s, the distinguished sociologist James Coleman conducted carefully controlled, large-sample research that demonstrated the ineffectiveness of progressive methods in raising general academic achievement and in closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. 

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