28 mars 2012

"Project method" (Critical Guide, E.D. Hirsch Jr)

A phrase used to describe the naturalistic form of teaching devised by W. H. Kilpatrick at the beginning of the progressive education movement. His article called "The Project Method" (1918) was the most widely distributed article on American education that had appeared up to that time. 

   Under the project method, subject-matter classrooms were to be abandoned in favor of "holistic," lifelike projects that would enable students to gain the life skills they needed by working in cooperation with their fellow students. 

   The method presented itself in opposition to traditional subject matter education. It abolished the lecture-and-recitation format, tests, grades, and drills. The method was based on a Romantic faith in the superiority of a natural to an artificial approach in learning. 

   It claimed, incorrectly, to be based also on the latest findings in psychology. Subsequently, observers found the project method to be the least effective mode of pedagogy in use in American schools. 

   The method came under increasing criticism, and the term "project method" fell out of favor. But terminology shifted, and the practice itself remained in different forms and under different names, such as "discovery learning," "hands-on learning," "holistic learning," "learning by doing," and "thematic learning."

Antipathy to subject-matter content  

"banking theory of schooling" 
"culturally-biased curriculum" 
"outcomes-based education" 
"research has shown"


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This was an excerpt from Hirsch's great book on education :
The Schools We Need 
 and Why We Don't Have Them.
Recension by Richard Askey :  

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