Francis W. Parker • Oct. 9th 1937 – March 2nd, 1902 • Mother was a teacher before she married • Began teaching himself at 16 • Served as principle and superintendent at various institutions in Massachusetts and Illinois • Beginnings of progressive education philosophy
“Qunicy System” • Quincy, MA School Committee looking to reorganize schools and teaching methods • Parker believed current teaching practices to be mechanical – students had no understanding of material • Believed his job was to become a teacher of teachers • New schedule, course of study, and course of discipline implemented in younger grades • Lessons focused on bringing meaning to study • Controversial changes – talked about as far as London
Talks on Pedagogics and the Move to Private Education • 1894 publishes book Talks on Pedagogics outlining Theory of Concentration • Efforts should be centered on the child – not the subject matter • By 1898 battles with public boards of education had taken their toll • Parker sets sights on private school – Chicago Institute • Experimental school – see if children could learn in school without force • By July 1901 Chicago Institute is merged with University of Chicago School of Education • Parker’s sphere of influence to consist of school on North Shore – Francis W. Parker School in Lincoln Park, IL
Maria Montessori • At age thirteen, against the wishes of her father but with the support of her mother, she began to attend a boys' technical school. • After seven years of engineering she began medical school and, in 1896 became a physician. • In her work at the University of Rome psychiatric clinic Dr. Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of special needs children and, for several years, she worked, wrote, and spoke on their behalf. • Her first school opened in 1907.
Ideas of Montessori Method • A view of children as competent beings capable of self-directed learning. • Children are intrinsically motivated to pursue knowledge. • The classroom is usually set up with work that will teach the child independence. • A belief in the "absorbent mind", that children from birth to around age 6 possess limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. • The teacher is an observer with passive role in the classroom. • Children’s stations are considered “work.”
Three Studies Comparing Students From Montessori Schools and Traditional Schools • 1. Lopata, Wallace and Finn (2005) 543 students, in 4th or 8th grade. The majority were minority students from a low income household. ***Result: No statistic significance that one group performed better than the other. • 2. Lillard and Else-Quest (2006) Compared similar groups as Lopata, Wallace and Finn with smaller sample sizes. ***At least when strictly implemented, Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.” (Lillard and Else-Quest 2007: 1894) • 3. Rathunde and Csikszentmihalyi (2005) Compared Montessori students with traditional students. 550 students from various schools. Students wore watches which signaled them throughout the day to fill out a questionnaire. *** Montessori students: more time engaged with school-related tasks Traditional students: more time in social, leisure activities and didactic educational settings (e.g., listening to a lecture, note taking, watching instructional videos).
Arthur Bestor • Born 1908, died in 1994 of lung cancer at the age of 86 • Received bachelor’s and doctorate degree from Yale • Founding member and past president for the Council for Basic Education
Bestor’s Three Phases • Historical Scholarship • Backwood Utopias (1950) • Communitarian societies a model for social reform • Progress Education critic • Attacked lack of academic standards • Secondary education should serve the academically talented • Constitutional Scholarship • Influence of constitutionalism • Testified before Congress on Senate’s authority to make treaties
Educational Wastelands • Manifesto about declining educational standards • “Sterility” of pre-collegiate American education • Supported traditional liberal arts curriculum • Progressive educators, "by misrepresenting and undervaluing liberal education, have contributed … to the growth of anti-intellectualist hysteria that threatens not merely the schools but freedom itself."